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John wick 2 review


There’s no puppy, but the sequel to the Keanu Reeves-starring cult classic understands what made its predecessor so great.

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Nothing in recent cinema can vị trí cao nhất 2014’s John Wick for pure, furious, elemental action. The first half hour of Chad Stahelski’s directorial debut is like a spooky bedtime story whispered by a hardened mobster: A punk criminal (Alfie Allen) breaks into a man’s home, steals his car, và kills his dog, an unprompted act of aggression, simply because the man disrespected him. Only this man is John Wick (Keanu Reeves), and, viewers quickly learn (as Wick busts mở cửa the concrete floor of his basement & pulls a chest of weapons out of it), you don’t make John Wick angry. As my colleague Sophie Gilbert perfectly put it: An idiot killed his puppy, and now everyone must die.

The first Wick saw its antihero come out of retirement fueled by familial rage. His wife, who lured him out of his life as an assassin, had just died, & in losing their dog, he lost his last remaining tangible connection khổng lồ her. John Wick: Chapter 2, the much awaited sequel, knows it can’t match the emotional heft of the original, so it wisely makes no effort to. Instead, Stahelski and his screenwriter Derek Kolstad double down on the other things that made John Wick great—its innovative, balletic approach lớn ultra-violence and the film’s peculiar, inventive worldbuilding. It is a fantastic decision that pays off.

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There’s a strange comfort in just how good John Wick: Chapter 2 is. It’s a testament khổng lồ the surprising success of the original, an instant cult classic that took the tropes of the revenge thriller và spun them into phantasmagorical directions. Wick, as played by Reeves, presented as a polite, if unnervingly calm businessman, & the film delighted in watching everyone around him react khổng lồ his presence. In the first movie, after learning his son had killed Wick’s dog, the head of the Russian mafia reacts with just one word: “Oh.” Then, he tells his son who he’s awoken—“Baba Yaga,” or, as he puts it, the man you hire lớn kill the Boogeyman.

Chapter 2 begins with Wick dispatching the final elements of the Russian mob he went to war with in the first film, then returning lớn his life of solitude. But quickly enough, he’s dragged out of retirement again, this time by his fellow assassin Santino D’Antonio (Italian star Riccardo Scamarcio), to lớn whom Wick owes an important debt. Santino can’t hope khổng lồ appeal khổng lồ Wick’s grief—this time, the departed Mrs. Wick is mentioned only in passing—but he can invoke the arcane rules & rituals of the league of assassins they both belong to, drawing Wick into a world the first film only explored the edges of.

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Rather than try for the gritty societal realism of many a revenge film (think Death Wish or The Brave One), the Wick films exist in some wacky parallel reality where it seems like everyone, from your sainted grandmother khổng lồ the guy you buy your coffee from in the morning, is a deadly assassin. Wick và his pals all room at the magical Continental Hotel, a five-star paradise run by the unctuous Winston (Ian McShane) where killers can sleep for the cost of one special gold coin. Yes, in these films, assassins even have their own currency (and a gaudy one at that), và the Continental functions as a safe zone where they aren’t allowed to hurt each other, like they’re playing some bloody, globe-trotting trò chơi of tag.

Chapter 2 justifies the existence of more Wick without overstaying its welcome.

So Wick re-enters this grand game, first to complete the task Santino demands of him, và then to vì chưng battle with the various gangster factions he awakens as a result. Among his enemies this time are Common, who plays an elite bodyguard whose skills equal Wick’s; Ruby Rose, as a mute security enforcer; & Reeves’s Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne, as the head of some thủ đô new york branch of killers dressed as hobos. This might all sound like lunacy on the page, but Reeves’s utter commitment khổng lồ the role helps sell it, as does Stahelski’s skill for communicating so much of his world through simple, stark visuals.

But of course, you’re mainly coming to lớn John Wick: Chapter 2 for the action. Stahelski is a former stuntman who doubled for Reeves on many of his films before moving khổng lồ directing for John Wick. It’s that background that gives these films their distinctive look; the movies want the audience to see the entire stunt, to lớn revel in the back-breaking labor of Hollywood action films, khổng lồ enjoy their unreality. Wick fights like a gun-toting sorcerer, shooting any goon that comes close khổng lồ him with uncanny accuracy. The world is so heightened, yet so strictly adherent lớn its own magical rules, that it remains compelling as it continues to expand around our hero.

Unlike the original, Chapter 2 sets a clear path for another sequel, acknowledging that it’s quickly grown from surprise cult hit to weirdo Hollywood franchise. Happily, there’s a clear path for a trilogy here, rather than just an endless barrage of movies in which Reeves creatively shoots people in the face. By doubling down on its idiosyncrasies, Chapter 2 justifies the existence of more Wick without overstaying its welcome. It’s a lesson most Hollywood sequels could stand lớn learn.