JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2
3½ (out of 4 Stars)
Rated LOVE (Lots of Violence everywhere)
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a deliciously fun foolish movie. More fun and action then the original, this movie delivers.
If you're not familiar with the original 2015 hit film John Wick, while it's not required as a prerequisite to this film, it's a great film that you should see for the sheer enjoyment. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) "the boogie man" is an ex hitman suffering from the loss of his wife. When a Russian mobster’s (ex-employer) sons steals his car, and shoots his dog, John comes out of retirement seeking revenge. He soon finds himself up against his former’s employers son and the entire Russian mob.
In Chapter 2, John is once again forced out of retirement to satisfy a marker for an Italian crime family. The head of the family died and there’s a struggle for control. The daughter was granted the throne but the jealous brother desires the position. To satisfy the marker, John must eliminate the sister so the brother can seize control and have a seat at the table of the 12 crime syndicates.
John Wick is an action, crime, thriller film with over the top fight scenes, car chases, weapons and bullets. In the original, there was a lot of killing but in chapter 2 it is so over-the-top, I lost body count after 100 dead. In fact, so many people were killed in this movie I don't think there is a war story that's ever been shown that had this many causalities. Shooting them once wasn't enough. Remember rule #2, “double tap” in the film Zombieland (2009). Director Ruben Fleischer took a page out of that script. He had John “Triple Tap” the opposition to ensure they're dead. And since John is an assassin, any object is a weapon, a pencil, wire, knife, gun or car.
In keeping with the original film, they brought back many of the characters with a level of comedy and sophistication that makes assassination somewhere between A Night at the Opera and James Bond. But instead of being centered in New York this film goes global to show you the reach of assassins worldwide. And they're not all dressed up in suits and Tuxedo’s, they are homeless street people, bird keepers, maintenance men and waiters. And they all carry smart phones; how else would they get their assignments?
The cast includes Ian McShane as Winston the sophisticated head of a New York City “Continental”, a sanctuary hotel for assassins, Lance Reddick as Charon, the front desk manager of Winston’s hotel, Franco Nero as Julius, Winston's counterpart in a European sanctuary hotel with Peter Seraginowicz as its weapons Sommelier. An absolutely hysterical scene is watching John select weapons, as he would with fine wines for dinner.
Of course, there has to be bad guys. Riccardo Scaracio is Santino D'antonio the brother who is collecting on John’s marker to assassinate his sister, Ruby Rose as Ares his sign language hench-girl, Claudia Jarina as Santino sister Gianna, marked for assassination by Santino and common as Cassian, Gianna's bodyguard. He reprises one of his earlier roles right down to his wardrobe.
Now you need some comic relief. John Leguizamo reprising his role as Arulio, the body shop mechanic, Thomas Sadowski as Jimmie the friendly neighborhood cop who always asks “You working again John?” Add in new add characters Lawrence Fishburne, the battery king and Peter Stormare, the Russian mobster who are always fun to watch.
This movie is a great ride. It's fun, enjoyable, over the top, while being sophisticated and corny at the same time. Audiences will love it. Better see it before John Wick retires for good.