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John Wick: Chapter 2

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In October of 2014 John Wick was unleashed on unsuspecting moviegoers and many were caught off guard. With Keanu Reeves as the film’s star, it’s only natural to approach such a movie with caution. As it turned out, first time director Chad Stahelski hit it out of the park with this stylized ultra violent-action flick. It left fans screaming for more. It took a little time but all of the important parts have returned for the next chapter of a retired hitman gone rogue for revenge in John Wick: Chapter 2. Can Keanu Reeves knock ‘em dead for a second time?
I sincerely hope you’ve watched the first movie before purchasing tickets to see John Wick: Chapter 2. The backstory is needed to gain full satisfaction of what’s to come here. After surviving the insane events of the 2014 surprise hit, John (Keanu Reeves) still has some unfinished business with some Russians. This man loves his car and he will do anything to get it back. After doing so, maybe he can go back to his quiet simple life of a retired hitman. Ummm not a chance. Fate comes knocking on John’s door in the form of Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) who is looking to collect on a marker. When John refuses to assist Santino, heavy-handed convincing is used leading to John agreeing to assassinate Santino’s sister. If things were only that simple. Betrayal is inevitable in this world and bullets will fly. As the body count rises, so will your blood pressure as you go along on this wild ride.
Say what you will about Keanu Reeves (47 Ronin (2013)) and his lack of emotion displayed in most of his roles. If properly cast, however, he thrives. Much like his work in The Matrix Trilogy, Reeves seems tailor made for his role here. John Wick: Chapter 2 takes all that was good about the first one and enhances it here. With all of actors returning, well at least the ones that were spared a violet death, there is an instant sense of comfort and familiarity. And with that, the second offering hits the ground running. Then it keeps running for just over two hours. Director Chad Stahelski must be huge proponent of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” adage because he stays with the same formula that made the first movie a hit.
I went into John Wick: Chapter 2 with guarded optimism since I’ve been disappointed time and time again by franchises that try too hard and end up just out thinking themselves. Thankfully this action flick is very comfortable in its own skin and it flaunts it. Prepare for a high body count filled with very up close and personal kills. The headshots are astounding in the frequency in which they occur. This is another sequel where I can say that if you liked the first one you should love this one. Reeves’ dedication to his craft is evident throughout. He trains like a boxer months before a championship fight and the hard work makes us, the paying audience members, the winners. There is no “mailing it in” from the 52 year old actor. His commitment to perfection is commendable.
John Wick: Chapter 2 strips away all of the unnecessary fluff associated with so many action movies and stays true to itself. Experience an unflinching in-your-face “hard R” action flick that will have the blood pumping through your veins with so much intensity that you might have to sit for five minutes after the credits roll just to collect yourselves. Deep breaths and relax…ahhhh. The key to its success is a strong continuing story, a quality supporting cast (with lots of interesting characters) and a director with the full support of the studio behind him to help make the best product possible. I’ve already read that Keanu Reeves is open to coming back for a third movie, assuming it’s successful of course. Do your part and head out to see it and be prepared to go on a wild ride.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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