<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Chad Stahelski. Starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Riccardo Scamarcio, Peter Stormare, Lance Reddick, Common, John Leguizamo, Laurence Fishburne
Running time: 2 hours 2 mins
I loved the first John Wick film to bits. One because it was him avenging his murdered puppy and two because it was wonderfully orchestrated action.
The second instalment of John Wick seems less powerful simply because it doesn’t have that motivation. That sense of purpose from the first one is missing.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) was forced out of retirement the first time around due to a personal reason but in Chapter 2 he’s been called to return to duty when Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), a member of the mysterious Continental organisation, calls in his marker, which Wick must honour. His job is to kill D’Antonio’s sister so he can get her seat on the high council. But as is the case with these films, there’s plenty of avenging and revenging happening as Wick finds himself on the wrong end of a ‘contract’.
Keanu is in his usual muted but highly focussed form as he guns down hundreds of bad guys with hawk-like precision leading to some fun gun battles. Of course, after a while it does get a bit tedious with the drone of constant bullets as dozens of bodies of hunky, bearded baddies fall to the floor. Also, having Wick on the defensive in this film wasn’t the best idea.
What’s nice about it all is the humour that follows the heated battles. The rules and regulations that make for interesting twists. The world of the Continental and its almost James Bond persona is fascinating if a tad baffling at times.
It would be hard to follow up the first one on any given day, and predictably John Wick: Chapter 2 fails to do that, but thanks to Keanu and some nice writing, it manages to keep you alive through the rather long running time. Next time perhaps they should give the dog a bit more of a role or find a cause the audience can really get behind.