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'John Wick: Chapter 2' proves you can go back to the scene of the crime

John Wick: Chapter 2
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Chad Stahelski
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rated: R for strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity.
Recommended to: Those who loved the first film and want a little more of the Continental life

Synopsis: Forced from retirement, famed hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) repays a debt, but the fallout is greater than he could have ever imagined.

Review: Welcome back to the wild, wonderfully weird world of John Wick where B-movie action resides within a world that is so intricate and interesting that I’m still begging for a television spin-off that focuses entirely on the hitman culture that writer Derek Kolstad has created.

You might go into “John Wick: Chapter 2” to watch Keanu Reeves take on impossible odds and leave a trail of bodies in his wake, but you’ll be coming back for more because Kolstad’s take on hitman subculture and its rules is so brilliantly constructed. Messenger pigeons delivering sim cards? Are you kidding me? And that particular detail doesn’t have anything to do with the actual plot of the film. It’s just a little detail thrown in to give texture to the world. Most writers would feel like they need to make a big deal out of these pigeons, the fact that Kolstad is willing to include these tidbits to simply add color is what makes the world he has built so engaging.

Certainly there is a visceral aspect to the film that many will find appealing. John Wick kicks, punches and shoots his share of people as the level of violence is pushed to a Looney Tunes level where the body count is so high that the cartoon violence becomes utterly absurd. Fortunately, the filmmakers recognize this fact and rather than trying to convince the audience that they should be taking the action on the screen seriously, they simply pump up the action and give a wink to the audience when they know they’ve pushed past the line of believability. It’s a format that has made the Fast and the Furious films blockbusters. The John Wick films push it even further, particularly when it comes to the amount of blood splatter. It’s not quite the adrenaline rush of the hand-to-hand combat of “The Raid” or its sequel, but it edges close to the classic Hong Kong action films of John Woo like “The Killer” and “Hard Boiled.”

It’s also a lot of fun to see Reeves in a role where his skillset matches up perfectly with the character he is playing. I love watching Reeves as John Wick.

I do have to admit that there was a point in the film where I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to be able to come close to the pure insanity of the original, but it wasn’t long before that the film completely changed my mind.

"John Wick: Chapter 2" is exactly the film that fans wanted. It's easy to see why Chad Stahelski is being eyed to helm "Deadpool 2."


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