Poor John Wick (Keanu Reeves) All he wants to do is lead a quiet life and play with his dog. Unfortunately, his associates have other plans for him.
‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ brilliantly directed by Chad Stahelski (‘John Wick’) and written by Derek Kolstad (‘John Wick’, ‘The Following’) opens with John retrieving his beloved 1969 Mustang from the Russian mobsters who stole it. Of course this doesn’t come easy. After slaying what seems like every Russian bad guy on planet earth, John is pursued by the remaining ones in a spectacular high speed car chase through crowded New York streets.
Of course John comes out the winner and heads back home. But before he can put his feet up and relax, he gets a visit from Italian gangster, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) who brings with him a gold ‘marker’ which John gave to him in order to take early retirement.
This ‘marker’ means that John is obligated to fullfill Santino’s simple request: to kill his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini) the ruthless capo of the Italian Camorra crime syndicate, so he can take her seat on the High Table. a place where all the different organized crime groups from around the world come together.
John refuses (bad move) and suffers the consequences. Santino burns down his house. Distraught after losing the one remaining thing that connects him to his late wife, Helen (Bridget Moynahan) John and his dog head over to his home away from home, The Continental, run by Winston (Ian McShane) who also happens to be kingpin of the secret assassin society that John is a part of.
Winston orders him to respect the organization’s ancient code and accept the assignment. John realizes he has no choice and reluctantly agrees. He leaves his dog with the Continental’s concierge (the wonderful, Lance Reddick) and flies off to Rome.
Before he can get over his jet lag, John checks in at Il Continentale headquarters, arms himself to the teeth and penetrates heavy Camorra security to surprise Gianna in her bedroom. But before John can commit the deed, Gianna, who apparently is a bit of control freak, helps him out. She sinks into her enormous bathtub and slices her wrists.
So is John free now that he carried out the assignment and fulfilled his marker? Not quite. It seems Santino doesn’t want any witnesses left and sends his army of bad, bad dudes after John.
Of course, our super assassin takes out most of them and flees Rome. Unfortunately, he’s missed a couple, Cassian (Common) and the deaf, Aries (Ruby Rose) The two happen to be Camorra’s best and brightest killers and they won’t give up until John is dead. So of course they follow him back to the Big Apple to complete their assignment.
Back home John seeks help from the mysterious Bowery King (Laurence Fishbone) and his shadow army of homeless killers, but in the end, he relies on his own brilliant fighting skills. Remember he’s the guy that can take someone out with a simple pencil.
‘John Wick: Chapter 2 is one of the most violent films I’ve seen in a long time, but the violence is absolutely dazzling. It’s like one big beautiful intense dance and Keanu who does a lot of his own stunts, once again nails it.
What makes’John Wick: Chapter 2’ which opens today, Friday, February 11, 2017, so good is that we see this man trying to preserve his own his humanity despite all the carnage around him. That is why I gave it five bagels out of five and if you’re a fan of this genre, do not miss this film.