Earlier I reviewed John Wick. And he killed everyone in sight and got a new dog, so story over and he lived (or bled to death) happily ever after. But, doggone it, John Wick must have made some money so there’s gonna be a John Wick 2.
I watched it last night. I even rented John Wick, just in case I needed to be refreshed on the details. But it all came flooding back. As luck would have it, there’s an evil crime lord who has a marker from John Wick that he can cash in if John comes out of retirement. Wouldn’t you know it! John declines. Crime Lord blows up John’s house with some kind of a grenade launcher which based on its effect must involve anti-matter. John is blown clear of the house (relatively unharmed mind you) and luckily for the Crime Lord the dog is unharmed. You would think after what John did to a Crime Lord in the first movie word would have gotten out to the Crime Lord community. Alas it hadn’t.
The remainder of the movie is the body count involved in first fulfilling his debt to the above referenced Crime Lord and then completing the vendetta against this self-same Crime Lord. It is a ponderous count.
So, to review my take on this series, it’s based on John Wick being possessed of ultra-fast reflexes and a machine-like precision at killing men, whether with gun, knife, hands, head or pencil. In fact, I think in one scene he stabbed his opponent to death with a rather blunt pistol. In John Wick 2 he gets to mix it up a bit, in that a couple of his opponents are women (I think).
So, if you’ve already seen John Wick why would you need a second dose of the same? The innovation in the second film is speed. In this second outing a mere ten or twenty opponents would only be a momentary diversion, perhaps something for him to keep busy with between brushing his teeth and flossing. During one sequence he’s armed with three guns (a pistol, a fully automatic rifle and a shot gun) and he’s barely able to reload anything fast enough to keep from running out of ammo. And he’s not wasting bullets. Amazingly, no matter what lighting conditions, distance or direction every shot is a head shot kill. Sometimes he’s so busy that he’s forced to kill his opponents with one hand while reloading with the other. And sometimes he’s so hard-pressed that he has to kill other attackers with a gun that’s still being held by a guy he’s also throttling. It’s a dizzying dance of death that goes on and on and on.
The twist in the plot is that the Crime Lord has put out a seven million dollar price on John’s head and apparently all eight million inhabitants of New York City are hit men (and women). So wherever he goes, subway, museum or restaurant, he’s assaulted by multiple assassins trying to collect on the contract. So, knowing he needs help to survive he goes to the King of the Homeless (played by his old Matrix buddy Lawrence Fishburne) and is brought to the location of the Crime Lord. The catch is he’s only given one gun and it only has a seven-bullet clip. That would only last John Wick for at most four seconds. But he agrees and away he goes. The finale is another ballet of bullets. Only this time exchanging guns with his victims is a pressing detail.
John Wick 2 is full of growth for Keanu as an actor. At one point he makes a joke ( it’s about a knife in an aorta). And he gets to banter with his friends and enemies in multiple languages, English, Russian, Italian and American Sign Language for the Deaf (one of his victims is a deaf woman, I think). He truly is a Man for All Seasons.
By the end of the movie John Wick has now broken the code of the Continental Hotel and Hitman’s Club. He is given an hour’s grace before all the same bounty hunters as earlier are coming to kill him. We last see him heading south (I think) out of Central Park. And he’s moving pretty fast considering the beating the movie has inflicted on him.
So, I once again recommend this new John Wick movie. It provides fair recompense for your time and money in the form of ludicrous speed gangland killing.
My only worry is what about John Wick 3? Based on the increase in killing speed between the movies, in the next one he’ll either have to upgrade his brain and body with cybernetic replacements or he’ll have to put in a lot of overtime. I guess if he can learn to kill people while simultaneously performing his other daily activities he can get his quota up high enough. Showering, shaving, eating breakfast, talking on the phone. These things can certainly be done one-handed. Working out at the gym could get tricky but I guess he could try shooting a gun with his foot while working the Lat-Machine.