John wick: chapter 2 review


As in 2014's surprise hit, this elegantly choreographed action sequel elevates its brutal confrontations to lớn a dazzling khung of modern dance.

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“John Wick” wasn’t designed for a sequel. It began with someone killing John Wick’s dog, và ended with the vengeance-bent uber-assassin stealing a new best frikết thúc from an animal shelter, after dropping 76 (or more) dead bodies along the way. The movie, which launched the directorial career of Keanu Reeve’s stunt double in “The Matrix,” Chad Stahelski, succeeded not on the strength of its story, but on the elegance of its action, và while it reaches at times to lớn justify its own existence, “John Wick: Chapter 2” boasts a reunion with “Matrix” co-star Laurence Fishburne và two major improvements on the original: First, no animals were harmed in the making of the film. And secondly, the human body toàn thân count is significantly higher.

If the latter detail offends your humanistic sensibilities, then this isn’t the franchise for you. Even for “Grand Theft Auto” junkies and those at the other end of the spectrum, it can actually get tiresome watching Wiông xã eliminate a seemingly inexhaustible stream of henchmen at times. But there’s a quality to the violence here that elevates it above the literal (and reprehensible) nihilism of movies like last year’s “Hardcore Henry,” và instead achieves something more akin to dance.

The John Wiông xã movies accomplish what Hong Kong action flicks did a quarter-century ago, seducing bloodthirsty (predominately male) audiences inkhổng lồ appreciating an exquisitely choreographed modern ballet. If you doubt that Stahelski sees his own job in these terms, look no further than how he lights each scene: Even neon demon Nicolas Winding Refn must be taking notes at the way Stahelski và his crew place bright-fuchsia fluorescent tubes in a Thành Phố New York subway, poltergeist-xanh spotlights beneath the arches of ancient Roman catacombs, and nightclub-worthy accents throughout an elaborate hall of mirrors art exhibit.

In the opening scene, a Russian crime tsar (Peter Stormare) reminds us of Wick’s ruthless boogeyman reputation, và after Wick retrieves his stolen 1969 Mustang and knocks off another dozen or so of his men, he brokers a truce that puts the vendetta of the first movie to rest. Rules matter lớn the criminals in Wick’s world, và even he is bound by them,lest he find himself outside the protection of the Continental — a secret network of assassins dreamed up by screenwriter Derek Kolstad for the original.

Recognizing that the Continental was effectively what distinguished “John Wick” from nearly all the other revenge sagas out there, Kolstad has decided to lớn elaborate on its mythology this time around, expanding the homicidal fraternity beyond a single Thủ đô New York hotel khổng lồ an international organization governed by its own sort of omertà. Rule No. 1, “No blood on Continental grounds,” serves to protect bitter rivals, the way “base” does in grade-school games of tag. Rule No. 2, “Every marker must be honored,” explains why Wiông chồng can’t retire just yet: In order to lớn leave the organization, he pledged khổng lồ fulfill one last favor when asked. And now, his marker has come due.

Wick’s debt drags him inlớn the middle of a power play for a seat at the High Table, a council of international super-criminals in which Italian playboy Santino D’Antonio (the impeccably dressed Riccarvì Scamarcio) wants the spot held by his sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini), and orders Wichồng lớn eliminate her. It’s a job that Wiông xã describes as “impossible,” but actually proves khổng lồ be remarkably easy (she actually does the deed for him) —until he tries lớn escape, only to lớn be cornered by both Gianna’s bodyguard (Common) and D’Antonio’s henchmen.

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Perhaps the Continental ought to consider a third rule: Contract holders can’t snuff the assassins they engage, or vice versa. No sooner the task been competed than D’Antonio issues an open contract on Wiông xã, which goes out wide khổng lồ every assassin in the world (none of whom keep their cell phones on silent), making for an amusing montage as Stahelski reveals just how far the Continental’s network extends. With the exception of one returning character, a look-the-other-way local cop played by Thomas Sadoski, every speaking role is held by someone related in one way or another khổng lồ this vast underground organization, though some —lượt thích the Orthodox Jewish banker who watches over his safety deposit box, or the “sommelier” who deals guns as if they were fine wines — wouldn’t dream of turning a weapon on Wick.

Ironically, the John Wiông chồng introduced at the outphối of this movie sincerely believes he’s done with violence. Except we’re dealing with Keanu Reeves here, and though he’s acrobatic enough khổng lồ meet the physical demands of the role, the actor has never in his career managed to lớn convey complex emotion: In this case, Reeves’ version of extreme reluctance looks more lượt thích mild constipation, never more pronounced than in the scene where he makes a decision to lớn violate the Continental’s most important rule, knowing full well it will leave hyên ổn “excommunicado” (a silly word rendered menacing by khách sạn manager Ian McShane). That said, it might be even more amusing if he’d gotten himself kicked out for overstepping one of the hotel’s unwritten restrictions — specifically, its no-dogs policy.

Film Review: ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’

Reviewed at Rodeo Screening Room, Beverly Hills, Feb. 2, 2017. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 122 MIN.

Production:A Lionsgate release of a Summit Entertainment presentation of a Thunder Road Pictures production, in association with 87eleven Prods. Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee. Executive sầu producers: Jeff Waxman, Robert Bernacbỏ ra, David Leitch, Kevin Frakes, Vishal Rungta. Co-producer: Holly Rytháng.Crew:
Director: Chad Stahelski. Screenplay: Derek Kolstad, based on characters created by Derek Kolstad. Camera (color): Dan Laustsen. Editor: Evan Schiff. Music: Tyler Bates, Joel J. Richard.
Keanu Reeves, Comtháng, Laurence Fishburne, Riccarbởi vì Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddiông chồng, Peter Stormare, Bridget Moynahan, Franteo Nero, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane.