At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I’ll say that John Wick: Chapter 2 is a non-stop thrill ride, and I’m glad this is in print, because it sounds utterly ridiculous when I say it out-loud. Ridiculous or not, it’s true. Before the opening credits are displayed, viewers are greeted with action as the start of the film contains two high speed chases, one of which results in a fair bit of damage and the title character kicking the ever-loving shit out of quite a few nameless goons. Yes, all of this happens before we even see the film’s title on the screen, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Chapter 2 starts with John Wick, Keanu Reeves (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), tying up loose ends (that I was completely unaware of), that the first movie left unfinished. After getting his car back and avenging his dog, John reburies all of his assassin gear in the basement. Just as he finishes this, he gets a visit from Santino D’Antonio, a former associate, who’s come to collect on a blood debt John owes him. When he refuses, Santino blows up John’s house. Knowing he has no choice John agrees to kill Santino’s sister, Gianna, so that he can take her place at the high table. A task that ends up being extremely easy, but that’s when things get ugly for our favorite assassin. Cassian, Common (Smokin’ Aces), Gianna’s right hand, vows revenge and Santino puts out a seven-million-dollar contract on John. This, of course, inspires the majority of the assassin world to try and kill him. Once the ball is rolling, we get to watch over an hour of John Wick straight up murdering anyone that gets in his way, which is really all we want from this film anyway.
I know that John Wick: Chapter 2 won’t be making any buzz come next award season, but who cares. Not every film that makes it to theaters has to be a Citizen Kane or a Gone with the Wind. This sequel not only delivers everything that it promises, but it also provides everything that fans wanted more of from the first film. Jonathan Eusebio’s fight choreography is intense and beautifully smooth, the story isn’t overly complicated or confusing, and the ending is a perfect set up for a Chapter 3. If you like mindless violence, revenge stories, and tons of action, then this movie is just what you’re looking for.
Bonus: Keanu Reeves and Common have a fight scene that rivals the unbelievably long and absurd fight between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David in They Live (1988). There’s no background music, it’s evenly matched, and it feels like it is never going to end. It’s pretty awesome.