REVIEW: John Wick Chapter 2 by Brian Wallinger

Chock full of action and stunning set pieces, Chad Stahleski’s follow-up to the mega-successful “John Wick” picks up immediately where the original film left off, dog intact.  Presumably, he has left his shadowy life as an assassin behind when his past catches up with him reeling him back into a globe-trotting adventure, spanning Europe and the Eastern U.S. seaboard.

The sequel doesn’t have quite the same emotional aesthetic that was so immensely driven into the first movie with a straightforward plot and average script.  It does do a good job of allowing us to further explore John’s world offering a thoroughly entertaining progression, bringing very stylish action sequences and inventive cinematic exposure into constant focus.

Joining Keanu Reeves are Common and Ruby Rose as henchmen.  Both of their performances were straightforward, though I found Common to be more intriguing with the fight between him and Reeves’ Wick to be the centerpiece.  Starting in Rome and ending in New York City, the chase and their interaction was highly inventive.  Perhaps he will make a future appearance in the series.  Ricardo Scamarcio plays the often plan and, at times, boring villain and Laurence Fishburne has a small role in this new adventure, wasting the opportunity to fully accompany the film’s premise.

Within the chases are the hallmark stunt work, choreography, hand-to-hand fighting and gun play.  The overall work here is worthwhile though repetitive.  The gun play is executed with style and ease, giving the feel of other action films such as “Hard Boiled”.  When it is all combined, it brings a sense of realism to the movie.

The film felt rushed and rehashed thought it is ultimately equal to its predecessor.  If you are going to make a trilogy, make sure the second one is a winner.  And “John Wick Chapter 2” certainly wins big.

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