Go after John Wick and pay the price. This hitman can disarm a plethora of bodyguards, get shot, fall down three flights of stairs and still gain the upper hand. Undeniably, Keanu Reeves has become an action star par excellence. His face allied to the camera allows the spectacle some notion of grace. Put it down to experience or simply chutzpa because he gives John Wick: Chapter 2 everything he’s got.
Want the Reader’s Digest version of The Day of the Jackal? There’s everything you could want in terms of where and how, only director Chad Stahelski feeds it to us via a crosscutting style. Specifically, editor Evan Schiff puts forth each detail minus the long journeys in between. More importantly, he links each point with the ease of putting on a suit.
You might notice this review doesn’t contain a plot summary. If you enter John Wick: Chapter 2 blind as I did (not having seen the first film), expect to find your footing quickly. The story slips into your pocket with the ease of familiar currency.
Critically, Stahelski coordinates action the same way Eric Van Lustbader writes love scenes… you can feel every breath. For example, a body armour getup includes “tactical” trouser compartments. I guess the more places to hide or store guns and knives the merrier, right?
I’d call John Wick: Chapter 2 riveting, yet that sounds faint and imprecise. Efficient? More like mad as a Texas standoff. Some memorable foundations encompass brutal hand-to-hand confrontations as well as some evil business involving a pencil.
Since Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter AKA Tune in Tomorrow, Reeves has marked reinvention as a frequent destination. Whether he was protecting hostages from bombs in Jan de Bont’s Speed or experimenting with water as a viable energy source in Andrew Davis’ Chain Reaction, these quality assignments have benefitted from his presence. So it goes for John Wick: Chapter 2. It’s the next level in his storytelling. Simply compare his moves to a safe cracker expertly overcoming obstacles ordinary men seldom contemplate. Suddenly, you get a feeling for what’s about to unfold. But the best advice I can give: watch this film immediately. Don’t wait because sometimes the best kept secrets are those we discover by ourselves.
(Released by Summit Entertainment and rated "R" for strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity.)