Sunday, 12 February 2017

#16 & 23 JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2


Starring Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Lequizamo and Ian McShane. Written by Derek Kolstad and directed by Chad Stahelski. Budget $40 million. Runnng time 122 minutes. Certificate 12A.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is the retired super assassin once known as the Boogey Man, still grieving for the death of the woman who saved his soul. Last time out the son of Wick's ex Russian Mafia boss stole his muscle car and killed his dog, a gift from his wife. This time round, Italian crime lord Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) to whom John Wick gave his Marker to some years earlier comes a calling. And in this insane world of the ultra assassin the Marker is a debt that when called for must be honoured without exception. However,  when D'Antonio asks Wick to kill sister so that he can take her place at the High Table, a council of high-level crime lords Wick refuses, he wants to retire, but his old life just won't let him. Instead his beloved house is destroyed as an intensive. Wick travels back to New York and the Continental hotel, where he seeks advice from Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of the hotel. He convinces Wick to take the job or else face having a bounty placed on his head and so, once again, Wick comes out of retirement, travels to Rome to kill his friend's sister only to have a bounty placed on his head of $7 millions by D'Antonio once the job is done. Poor Wick then spends the rest of the movie in one continuous, gun battle and fist fight, stopping only for a brief chat with the New York underground crime Lord Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and to trade endless battles with mute hitwoman Ares (Ruby Rose) and Cassian (Common).

As with the first film the plot isn't really as important as the action which as with the first film is just as relentless, although this time round it gets a little wearisome and, sorry to say, repetitive, particularly one gun battle that takes in a huge tunnel complex beneath Rome. There's also an attempt to expand upon the world hinted at in the first film, with the discovery of another Continental hotel in Rome with its own manger, Franco Nero and there a glimpse behind the scenes as we watch various contracts issued.

The action sequences are well staged, the choreography is good and the editing fast and furious but not horrifically shaky, but sadly the one thing lacking from this is uniqueness and originality.

But that aside, Keanu is just as awesome as before, his athleticism and gun skills are extraordinary as too are the hand-to-hand fights, one in particular that includes a very long stone staircase that looks genuinely bone crunching. The also a great scene between him and Fishburne that seem packed with subtle nods and winks to that franchise they both appeared in. Although in the case of this sequel it knocks spots off that other one's second part.

This is by no means a disaster, but alas it's not as inspired as the original. If you liked the first film, you should enjoy this outing and the ending which sees Wick and his dog, Dog on the run, sets the scene nicely for one final chapter.

This is a solid, fun Saturday night special!

8/10

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