John Wick was a surprise hit of 2015, a slick stylish jam-packed action movie that relied on hand-to-hand combat and actual stunts rather than resorting to over-edited fight sequences and CGI effects of many contemporary action films. The sequel was bound to happen and I would say the results are mixed.
John Wick chapter 2 is bigger, louder and bloodier than the original and, for an action film, that’s usually great. However, in this case I was surprisingly bored with the action that repeated the sequences of the first film, making them longer and – dare I say it? – boring. My main problem was with the seeming invincibility of John Wick – yes, we’re told that he’s the best assassin there is, but with all the underworld trying to kill him, with assailants coming at him from every side, his constant recovery seems utterly unrealistic, even by action-movie standards. John Wick 2 felt like a Marvel movie where the stakes are kind of high but also meaningless because you know none of the main characters can die so the action loses its thrill.
Keanu Reeves is still impressive in the title role, performing almost all his own stunts while also flexing his acting muscles. There are some welcome cameos and knowing winks to the audience who are able to spot them. And we are given more access to the underworld assassin network, in case you were wondering about those coins and markers from the original film.
At the end of this over-long chapter in John Wick’s life the stage is set for the third and hopefully final movie, which I am still planning to see if only to complete the trilogy.