Sunday, February 12, 2017

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 2

The pistol-wielding rampage continues as John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a new mission and a new reason to take vengeance. The film begins with Wick on a quest to recover his car that was stolen from him in the previous film, he uses the vehicle, pistols, and his handheld combat skills to take out a whole crowd of gangsters in a chop shop then sues for peace with the leader. Wick desires only to return home and properly grieve for his lost wife. He has adopted a new dog and reburied his weapons and suit. Just as he thinks he's about to get out, circumstances drag back into the violent life of an assassin. 

Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) knocks on Wick's door and demands repayment for a debt that Wick acquired when he needed help making his exit from the assassin life. The debt is symbolized by a marker, a round disc that has Wick's bloody thumbprint, a rule that means he must help D'Antonio or risk death by the Continental assassin guild. Enforcing these laws is Winston (Ian McShane) who also restricts violence in his hotel across the world. Wick refuses D'Antonio's demand and has his house burned down as punishment. Forced to concede, Wick goes along with D'Antonio's mission to kill his sister, Gianna D'Antonio (Claudia Gerini).

Wick meets his match when he takes on the mission, travels to Rome, and has to face Gianna's bodyguard Cassian (Common). The two got at it in fun one-on-one hand-to-hand combat as Wick can't simply overpower the opposing assassin and they contend with each other. Wick completes his mission only to be double-crossed by D'Antonio and nearly assassinated by D'Antonion mute henchwoman Ares (Ruby Rose). The killers shoot it out through an EDM dance party, catacombs and a museum in the violent headshot brain splatter that has become a signature part of John Wick action sequences. 

This movie takes a little more time to develop the plot and explore the world of the assassins. The political dealing have major repercussions and a bounty is put on Wick's head that nearly every assassin in New York takes up. Wick is forced to seek help with the Bowery King  (Laurence Fishburne) of a homeless army of assassins. With his help, Wick is able to take on D'Antonion in an awesome fight scene through a crazy mirrored exhibit. Wick finally has to finish his revenge scheme by breaking the rules of the Continental setting up what would be an even bigger third part to the series.

R-rated action movies are my favorite genre of film and John Wick: Chapter 2 hits the sweet spot of a cool plot and eye-catching action sequences. Director Chad Stahelski does a great job showing what is happening amid all the chaos and is set to direct a Highlander film, exciting news. The world of the assassins grows and the Wick's challenges only grow larger as his focus and force lead him through armies of men. The nonstop fighting and interesting environment make this movie a constant entertainment and at the top of my favorite films for 2017 so far. Looking forward to seeing a sequel in the future. 

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