John Wick: Chapter 2

Following the surprise success of the original John Wick released in 2014, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a terrifically fun and slick action thriller that puts most sequels to shame because it is equally good if not better than the original. In a continuation of his rebirth as an action star since his breakout role of Neo in The Matrix films, Keanu Reeves plays John Wick, a particularly skilled assassin rightfully nicknamed The Boogeyman, who is forced out of retirement still dealing with his wife’s death several years prior. He is part of an international underground society of assassins known as The Continental and is bound to one more assignment by a blood oath to a high-ranking Italian gangster. The assassination that he is tasked with takes him to Rome where his impressive fighting skills are used to dispatch an army of bodyguards, including a particularly brutal assassin played by Common. Eventually, the tables are turned on Wick, and he spends the rest of the movie evading a trove of Continental members across Rome and back in New York City. Almost perfectly typecasting the famously subdued Reeves, Wick has very little dialogue and fights and kills with Zen-like precision even as he suffers bloody injuries. Already reminiscent of The Matrix with its highly choreographed martial arts fighting sequences, the film reunites Keanu Reeves with Laurence Fishburne who, like Morpheus in The Matrix series, plays a philosophizing leader of the criminal underground. I particularly enjoyed the absurdly out-of-place old-fashioned formalities of The Continental headquartered at classically luxurious hotels in which the prim and proper concierge arranges services for well-dressed assassins. Furthermore, the leader of the New York branch who acts more as a hotel manager, named Winston and portrayed by Ian McShane, runs a tight ship and ensures that no business is conducted on the premises at the risk of a member’s execution or excommunication. Overall, I found the movie to be a stylish and inventive take on the increasingly stale action genre and takes the audience on a thoroughly entertaining joyride.

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