Review: Stylish and energetic action with the return of John Wick

Matt Adcock reviews John Wick Chapter 2 (15), starring Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves as John WickKeanu Reeves as John Wick
Keanu Reeves as John Wick

“The man. The myth. The legend. John Wick. You're not very good at retiring.”

Jaded ‘best in the business’ hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is back, still angry, still looking to retire but this time he’s brought back into the violent world of assassinations due to an unpaid debt.

The director of the first movie, Chad Stahelski, returns with a sequel that delivers exactly what fans will appreciate – slick visuals, deeper background lore and kick-ass action on a whole new scale. John Wick Chapter 2 is a pure adrenalin rush of hyper violence - it’s not healthy and had dubious morals but it is undeniably exciting.

This time it’s bad guy Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo ‘Burnt’ Scamarcio), who challenges Wick to take out his sister Gianna (Claudia ‘The Passion of the Christ’ Gerini) and when he says ‘take out’ it’s not on a date. Knowing the Wick wants to retire, D’antonio, rather than kill his dog, motivates John by burning down his house. Cue mayhem and death, lots of death, most of which is delivered by Wick in his graceful gun-fu fighting style which turns killing into a kind of art form.

Reeves even at 52 is completely believable as Wick and he makes this role a cool on screen icon to rival Neo from The Matrix. Speaking of The Matrix it’s fun to have a mini reunion with Morpheus himself, Laurence Fishburne, who plays shady Crime Lord - The Bowery King who Wick turns to for assistance.

With a comic book meets video game plot structure Joh Wick Chapter 2 piles on the action clichés but does so with so much style and energy that unless you really hate action movies you’ll be dragged along in a state of breathless anticipation for the next fight.

The underworld mythos of this murder-em-up is certainly fascinating and allows for potentially more Wick adventures in the future. Chapter 2 is a long film though and because it rarely lets up on the action it can leave you dazed and confused from the beating administered to your eyeballs.

Certainly not for everyone, and packing scenes that are liable to offend (can you really have a shoot out in a nightclub these days without uncomfortable real-world news flashbacks?), this is an old-school action movie redressed in cutting edge neo-noir style. These violent delights have violent ends as they say…