Saturday, February 11, 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 - Review

John Wick: Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves reprises his surprisingly successful 2014 action thriller film “John Wick” in the sequel title “John Wick – Chapter 2”. And just as in the original version we again find the retired hitman John Wick still the same reluctant, melancholy, reticent, taciturn and introverted somber loner he was once before. And also as before by events not of his making is forced back out of retirement to his darker side, this time by a mysterious wealthy former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath marker he made to this stranger years ago, John agrees to do his request by traveling to Rome where he squares off against some of the world's deadliest killers to pay off his debt as well keep him from being killed if he doesn’t do his assignment as requested.

REVIEW: Let’s be clear, the John Wick films are specifically written and directed to be incased in an enclosed arena of seemingly anonymous looking men and women walking among us with spontaneous over top mindless violence. But what you will hopefully see as a real strength of the film is always just underneath all of the visual carnage on the screen and that is the construct of a consistent engrossing story that keeps you focused on an alternative crazy universe where the rules of civilized “law and order” don’t apply.  No, the consequences of justice are totally absent - null and void here. Only the cryptic coded rules among these array of international highly intelligent malevolent assassins take precedent over any concerns they may have of ever being arrested for their crimes. Call it honor among murders.

Stylistically, “John Wick 2” is a visual, testosterone laden, homicidal operatic symphony ballet fantasy without an actual melodic aria being sung. Instead the music in “John Wick – 2” is the endless sounds of gun fire, muzzle flashes and grunts from body blows that delivers in the two hours running time some very imaginative and exhilaratingly entertainment with the occasional disarming  “wink-wink” dialog to lessen the intensity of the high body count. Let’s be clear again, our hero John Wick shoots, kills, stabs and dispatches pretty much everything that crawls, walks and or runs across his path and you love watching him work.

Reeves makes the character work and with the film itself “John Wick 2” and Reeves share the common denominator of never trying to out think themselves by being overly clever or slick. The actor and the film itself both stay in the emotional lanes that got them here from the successful 2014 effort by remaining pure and honest.  The result is never disappointing even when it is being both a bit seductive on one hand and extremely blood thirsty on the other with all of the endless killing.

John Wick the man is a Sicario werewolf with lots of guns. He’s Vice Cop Sonny Crockett and Bruce Lee’s baby on steroids. He’s an emissary of wild, crazy and thrilling executions.  He’ delivers an endless orgy of death. And while this film is not for everyone clearly, in the end I found the conflicted vindictive and withdrawn hitman John to be Wick-edly, exquisitely, seductively good at making so many people die. "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat", to Fortune Favors the Bold.

3.50 Stars

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