If you like paying additional money to see the exact same movie you have already watched, the John Wick sequel is the perfect movie for you.
Keanu Reeves and his stunt director from “The Matrix Trilogy” return for Chapter 2, which picks up right where the 2014 film left off. The opening sequence is loud, violent and thrusts the viewer right back into the action with a car chase through New York City where there is surprisingly no traffic. Like before, there isn’t much time for Reeves or any of the supporting actors to give any type of performance, as the race to mount a higher body count is on. Film lovers looking for a smart thriller should apply elsewhere as “John Wick Chapter 2” is a 122-minute action sequence with no connective tissue.
Last time they killed his puppy and stole his car. Retired hit man John Wick (Reeves) hasn’t forgotten, but he has killed virtually everyone associated with the mob family that crossed him. His brief episode out of retirement will end up causing him more trouble than he planned. Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) shows up at Wick’s home demanding he fulfill a blood oath. After consulting with “the manager,” Wick’s trusted friend Winston (Ian McShane), the rules are clear, John Wick is back in business. Once he completes his mission, a large bounty of $7 million is placed on Wick’s head, that has every criminal for hire in the world looking for him.
If you have ever watched someone play a first-person shooter video game, you have an idea what it’s like watching these John Wick films. It’s fight after fight, with an uncounted number of bad guys willing to throw themselves at this indestructible assassin. The bodies pile up, blood in the streets, bodies on the subway, all sense of reality completely lost in these films as accountability is ignored. Again, video game. For some audiences, without action sequences, they’re bored. For me, it’s the opposite; I need stimulating dialogue, “put yourself in their shoes” sequences, or some life lesson being learned, otherwise my mind just shuts down with all the noise and repetition.
Maybe once every 10 or 15 victims Wick is forced to kill someone in a creative manner. The rest of the time, it’s just shots to the head, as Reeves displays an impressive array of special forces style moves. The villains are equally predictable, Ruby Rose’s silent but evil taunting character toys with Wick throughout the movie but meets such an unsatisfying and anticlimactic conclusion. The only time the narrative takes a breather is when Reeves and Fishburne reteam on screen for the first time since “The Matrix.” Their carefully written dialogue is a throwback to the 1999 mind bender. I need more talking, more debating, more explaining, more substance and more to think about than “John Wick” wants to offer.
Final Thought— The action movie equivalent to microwaved leftovers.