February 15, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 – Keanu Reeves Returns as John Wick, an Avenging Assassin

When we first met John Wick (Keanu Reeves), he had gone on a bloody killing spree after losing the love of his life (Bridget Moynahan). And at the end of that film we saw the wounded assassin walk into the sunset with a puppy that he had rescued from the dog pound.

John Wick Chapter 2 opens with Wick vowing to retire after he retrieves his stolen Mustang from a Russian gang. However, before he can retire, he is recruited by mafioso Santonio D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) to perform one last hit.

The mobster wants his sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini) assassinated so that he can take the reins of the powerful Mafia family that were left to her by their late father. Wick grudgingly agrees to kill her only because Santonio is holding his marker, that ironically turns out to be a blood oath in which he promises to leave his grisly line of work.

Next, Wick goes to Rome to track down Gianna, who commits suicide when she realizes the reason for his visit. Unfortunately, her death doesn’t sit well with her gang of guards, especially her personal bodyguard, Cassian (Common).

So, Wick kills wave after wave of Gianna’s bodyguards while running through the catacombs. After a miraculous escape, things are no better back in America where the senseless slaughter continues.

That is the sum and substance of John Wick: Chapter 2. Keanu Reeves seems to excel when he is called upon to dispatch dozens, if not hundreds, of adversaries in a variety of creative ways.

The picture reunites Reeves with Laurence Fishburne, who was his co-star in The Matrix trilogy. Laurence has a minor role, however, but Common is a standout who proves to be Wick’s worthy adversary in a protracted hand-to-hand showdown.

Very Good (***). Rated R for profanity, brief nudity, and pervasive violence. In English, italian, Hebrew, and Russian with subtitles. Running time: 122 minutes. Distributor: Summit Entertainment.