Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 – Too long and too much

John Wick: Chapter 2If you loved the first John Wick film, then I recommend watching it again – or you could go see the sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2, and try to figure out if there is any substantial difference between the two movies. I couldn’t find much.

In the first film the criminals kill the anti-hero’s puppy (in the sequel I was hoping they’d “grab his pussy,” but no such luck) and beyond that this movie is simply two hours of fighting and shooting – and after about two minutes it was already too much. At over two-hours this movie needs some serious editing.

Directed by stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad (both responsible for the first film), the story here picks up where the last one left off; with the no-nonsense Wick (Keanu Reeves) going to retrieve his stolen car from the bad guys that took it.

John then retires (again), but, like a pigeon toed Michael Corleone, just when he thinks he’s out… they pull him back in.

This time Wick is called back into action by a would-be crime lord, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who calls in a marker he has from that time our hero took a blood oath to do a dirty deed for the scumbag.

D’Antonio wants his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), killed, so John is off to Rome to take care of business – so that he can finally get back to leading a normal life. Do you think that will happen? Do you think things will go smoothly on this one, final hit job? Do I have to ask…?

Beaucoup bullets and brawling ensue, and after a short while it simply becomes monotonous. I sat there bored, asking myself, ‘Why is this entertaining…?’ And the bloodlust of the audience, who was oohing and ahhing throughout the film, actually became unnerving after a while.

John Wick: Chapter 2Maybe it’s the current political climate that we are living in, but all the gratuitous violence just isn’t as fun as it used to be. And should it have ever been fun? When the person next to you is having an orgasm over the repeated and rapid-paced killings, you can’t help but get a little worried about the state of our society.

I enjoyed the over-the-top action and shoot-em-up style of John Wick on the first go around, and I especially admired the world-building and mythology that Stahelski and Kolstad did in that film. Unfortunately, they don’t really expand on anything beyond moving some of the action to Rome and introducing a seductive, deaf hit-girl (played by Ruby Rose – whom you might recognize from Orange Is the New Black.)

John Wick: Chapter 2 also stars Common as Wick’s main nemesis; Lance Reddick as the Continental’s hotel clerk; Laurence Fishburne, gimmickly cast as a crime lord called the Bowery King; and John Leguizamo as a chop-shop owner.

If you liked (or loved) the first movie, then you’ll no doubt go sit through this one too. It does what it does pretty darn good; but there’s not much new here, and its entertainment value will depend on how much you enjoy a large body count. Grade: 5/10

Photos © 2017 Lionsgate

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.