ReelBob: ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’
By Bob Bloom
“John Wick: Chapter 2” is a grotesque mixture of stunning and visually exciting stunt work and cartoonish, over-the-top violence.
Yet, the movie is appealing because of the atmosphere it creates surrounding the structured world of assassins that Wick, again portrayed by Keanu Reeves, inhabits.
The sphere of killers to which Wick belongs has its own code of conduct, rules and protocols that they must adhere to strictly. The consequences could prove deadly for those who disobey.
These are soft-spoken, well-mannered and polite killers who address each other in the most cordial terms, share drinks— then try to eliminate each other.
The movie’s atmosphere and décor are in diametrical contrast to its vicious action pieces.
“Chapter 2” begins on the heels of where the original film ended, with Wick dealing with the Russian mobsters who stole his beloved car.
After killing a dozen or so men, he retrieves his treasured vehicle — which suffered some heavy damage during the ferocious melee.
But Wick gets it home, determined to leave his brutal life behind.
That is not to be, however. A debt is called in, and the holder insists that Wick fulfill one last assignment.
Wick refuses, and for his pains, his house is burned to the ground.
Wick then accepts the commission, but vows to kill his employer after he completes the hit.
The catacombs of Rome and the streets and subway stations of New York run red with blood in “John Wick: Chapter 2.” These are fantasyland cities — no cops in sight, and no bystanders seem either surprised, frightened or disturbed by all the mayhem.
Wick’s preferred way of killing is a gunshot to the head. He dispatches enough people to populate a small city.
Your reaction to the movie will depend on your tolerance for carnage. Seeing legions of henchmen shot in the eye or brain may grow tiresome and gratuitous after a time, but if you enjoy that kind of havoc, this is the movie for you.
The movie provides an adrenaline rush that will keep action junkies high for weeks. A few times, the feature does slow down to allow you to take a breath; then, it accelerates as Wick takes on hordes of expendables who expire as quickly as “Star Trek” red shirts.
Overall, “John Wick: Chapter 2” is a live-action, comic-book film, set in a stylish universe that you will either abhor or embrace.
Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and Rottentomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2
2½ stars out of 4
(R), strong and graphic violence, language, nudity