Movie: John Wick: Chapter 2
Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reaves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scmarcio and Ruby Rose
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) rarely makes a bad decision in John Wick: Chapter 2, and even when he does, it seems like he still did the right thing.
Continuing where we left off in the first film, John Wick (2014), we find the titular character tying up few loose ends in the typically-gruesome but initially satisfying to watch manner.
Officially considering himself retired for the second time after technically finishing off the Russian mafia, it is the Italian mafioso’s who turn their attention on the Boogeyman aka John Wick.
Of course our goody-two shoes hitman doesn't want the job but has his arm-twisted to go ahead and gets it over and done with. New York to Rome to New York again, the action is relentless to the point that the viewer feels the splatter is spraying onto themselves and isn't just confined to the screen.
Carnage-Incarnate himself is Keanu Reeves, comfortable severing limbs and hacking arteries as he is with a glass of bourbon in the aftermath. Seemingly never breaking a sweat, the assassin who just wants to be left alone (Where have we seen that before?) but can take on an army if need be, induces some jaw-dropping moments as he hacks and shoots his way to targets. The actor who isn't a stranger to action-films (The Matrix Trilogy in case you are wondering) is superb and his deadpan humour literally kills (pun unintended).
The problem is, there is too much of senseless action and while we knew that having seen the first film, John Wick: Chapter 2 seems to have too little motive as compared to the first. We get it, he is still unhinged and doesn't have much of a choice, but with C-grade villains getting way more screen time than required, this net-noir film flatters to deceive big time.
Laurence Fishburne is wasted as the eccentric Bowery King and an actor of such talents probably should have been given a meatier role, perhaps even confronting Keanu head-on in what could have been an interesting fight.
And that’s the problem, as we know John Wick is going to mow down wave after wave of uzi-toting, knife wielding enemies and there is not a single scene in which you would say “Oh no, he’s in trouble now, please don’t die!”
If the first-half feels a bit moronic, with silly fight sequences that evoke yawns more than gasps, things do pick up after the interval but the damage has been done and it’s too little too late.
Neo-noir films generally go down as masterpieces or as complete disasters, such is the consequence of playing with fire. John Wick: Chapter 2, unfortunately falls into the latter category and one prays a third instalment will not be green-lit.