As a kid that grew up on 80s action films and idolized stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme, I have always had a soft spot for those hero driven movies. Now, it should be noted that since I have taken up reviewing these films, my standards have been raised and it takes a well put together movie to really get me to take notice but one movie came along a couple years back that not only got my attention but became a massive hit. Starring one of the greatest and caring actors in the action genre, Keanu Reeves played John Wick, a retired hitman that was so dangerous that he was nicknamed the “Baba Yaga” translated as “The Boogeyman” in John Wick and with Chapter 2 now here, we have my first anticipated film of 2017.
Picking up right where the first movie leaves off, Wick is tracking down his stolen car and putting an end to the violence with the Russians after basically destroying everyone except the top guy. He returns home and is visited by one of the heads of the Italian mob, the man that granted his retirement so he could care for his dying wife, Helen. Now he is cashing in on his marker for John Wick, commanding the former one-man death squad to eliminate his sister so he can assume that position of power at the table of all the big warlords. Forced into a tough position, John Wick’s cool demeanor may be pushed to the brink and may lead to deadly repercussions.
The hyper-realistic world of John Wick and the players within is such a delicious world to get reimmersed in. Only operating with one of the two directors from the first film, Chad Stahelski, the camera work, real stunts, weapons focus and production design all make this film an action fan’s absolute dream movie. This isn’t a story of good guys versus bad guys, white hats and black hats. No, this is very much about a singular man who operates in the gray area taking on everyone and I am hard pressed to say that I will watch both John Wick films over and over until I know it word for word and shot for shot, just like I did when I was a kid. It brings out that side of me.
The best thing about this sequel is it doesn’t suffer from the fatigue of being a tacked on money seeking missile to the heart of its audience. John Wick Chapter 2 feels like it is the natural continuation of a story that was written at the same time as the first film in hopes that it would garner enough success to be produced. Even better than all of that is that we will get a closing chapter three to round out this amazing anti-hero story that has put Keanu Reeves on top of the action pack again, a position he so rightly deserves. Never forget that this man is over fifty years old and still continues to kick ass and dedicate to his craft. Keanu may get a lot of flack for some limited acting range but I still love him with all my heart. Now get out there and go see John Wick Chapter 2! 5/5