In 2014, Keanu Reeves made a return to theaters in an under-the-radar action film, John Wick. I’ve never been a huge fan of Reeves’ films based on his acting, but that might be more of the roles he has played before. This film definitely fits with Keanu and unexpectedly launched a franchise as the lethal hitman. John Wick: Chapter 2 just takes what it did in the original and turns the dial up a few more notches. There shouldn’t be any complaints about that at all.
Reeves returns as the legendary hitman who wiped out an untold number of Russian goons because one of them made the mistake of killing his dog, effectively bringing him back to the world he left. After retiring once again, Wick is forced out of retirement to honor a debt to a backstabbing, eccentric Italian boss (Riccardo Scamarcio) who wants to take control of an underground guild of assassins. This sequel takes us deeper into the world that we can affectionately call the Wickverse as we learn more about the secret world of professional killers and the rules they adhere to (I know! Actual rules or guidelines!). This is what makes this universe more intriguing and richer than the usual assassin orgy film.
Keanu Reeves easily slips back into the career-revitalizing role like John wearing one of his lethal tailored suits. This hero is like a haunted warrior that was dropped in the 21st century, not wanting to become the killer he once was in the memory of his dead wife (Michelle Moynahan). In the end, he can’t deny what is in his blood and that’s being a killer. Despite the fact that John embraced the peaceful life, he found out that he can’t ignore what’s in his blood as he is hunted down by the world’s best assassins. While John is used being on his own, in that situation, he always needs a little help. Ian McShane’s brilliant manager of the Continental, Winston, was amazing as always. Keanu’s mini-Matrix reunion with Laurence Fishburne was well worth the wait. Fishburne’s character had a little more depth than I thought as The Bowery King, charisma dripping out of each line that he spoke.
If you loved John Wick for the action, you will not be disappointed by this sequel. The gun-fu, martial arts style fighting does not fade into the story. John Wick proves that he is not the man you want to betray and this is the movie series that you can’t ignore anymore.