Keanu Reeves is back as the reluctant anti-hero in John Wick Chapter 2. In the original 2014 action film, audiences were introduced to Wick, a hitman forced out of retirement to exact revenge for, among other things, a notorious criminal killing his dog. In this much-anticipated sequel Wick is backed into a corner and forced yet again to return to his old ways dispensing lethal force to all those who get in his way. Throughout the film, Wick proves that when traditional weapons such as guns and knives aren’t available, he’s more than capable of getting the job done using only his bare hands or even improvised props such as a pencil.
In this chapter of the John Wick saga star Reeves teams up with his Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne along with Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, former rapper Common, and newcomer Ruby Rose. The flick,directed by former stuntman Chad Stahelski, proceeds at a breakneck pace, moving quickly from one action sequence to the next without much of a respite. The film’s body count is huge as Wick, a former member of an international guild of assassins, has to pay off a blood oath and then fend off a bounty on his head.
Wick is a character plagued by the loss of his wife and yearning to get out of “the business” in order to live a quiet life with his much loved (but unnamed) dog. All the action and bloodshed in the movie are set amidst a tale of a man desperate to escape his former life but who finds like so many before him that although he might be done with the past, his past isn’t done with him and despite good intentions he can’t escape from the life he wants to leave behind.
The film features some eye popping cinematography shot in locations such as Italy, New York, and Montreal. Local viewers will no doubt recognize a number of familiar locales such as a couple of the city’s metro stations. The strength of John Wick Chapter 2 lies not only in its non-stop action and thrilling fight scenes, but also in its array of dazzling sets and backdrops.
As in his previous films such as Point Break, Speed, and The Matrix trilogy, in John Wick Chapter 2, Keanu Reeves once again proves that he’s more than capable of being an action star. The actor trained extensively for the film and is more than up to the challenges of complex hand to hand combat stunts.
Perhaps one of the most refreshing aspects of John Wick 2 is the casting of up-and-coming actress Ruby Rose. The heavily tattooed Rose makes for an interesting choice to portray one of the villain’s principal henchmen. Although this particular role could’ve easily been portrayed by a male actor, Rose delivers an understated but noteworthy performance as a woman of few (if any) words who’s just as dangerous and skilled a killer as any of her male counterparts.
For all those viewers who enjoyed the original John Wick Chapter 2 more than lives up to expectations with plenty of car chases, gun battles, knife fights, and explosions to satisfy even the most diehard action fan.
John Wick Chapter 2 is now playing in theatres.