Director: Chad Stahelski.
After the events of the first film and the tidying up of some loose ends including acquiring a new dog and retrieving his beloved car John Wick (Reeves) receives a visit from Santino D’Antonio (Scamarcio) who calls in a blood oath marker. He tasks Wick to eliminate his own sister so that he can take her place at the table heading an all-powerful guild of assassins. At first Wick refuses but with some “gentle persuasion” he realises he has no choice but to make good on his debt. Once the task is complete Wick knows that he will need to be at his most resourceful and combative best if he is to make it out alive.
The players brought to the screen is an interesting selection. We all know Keanu and what his strengths and weaknesses are. Dialogue within the film is kept to a minimum and some is even restricted to sign language. That said, Keanu goes through the motions as if he really is on a mission and delivers the necessary goods for the role of John Wick. Riccardo Scamarcio is not someone I was familiar with before hand, most likely as I don’t watch a lot of Italian movies, but he’s a good choice as D’Antonio. He plays a pretty spineless individual with all the morals of a sewer rat especially as he orders the death of his own sister.
In Cassian (Common) and Ares (Ruby Rose), John Wick has two formidable main adversaries. Cassian knows Wick of old and despite his obvious respect for him, Wick is targeting his ward and he cannot let that stand. Cassian is sharp and faces off well with Wick at various intervals but it was Ruby Rose that really caught the eye. It’s never established if she’s mute but all her communication is done through hand gestures and she applies her own sassy polish to a more than capable physical opponent to our titular anti-hero.
Finally, Ian McShane reprises his role as Winston, the enigmatic owner of the Continental Hotel. He likes Wick but has a code with two rules; Rule No. 1 – No blood on Continental grounds and Rule No. 2 – Every marker must be honored so he encourages Wick he must honour D’Antonio’s request if he is ever to be able to retire completely. Winston cannot make any exceptions in Wick’s case.
There’s also a brief reunion for Keanu Reeves with his mentor from The Matrix as Laurence Fishburne also appears but it is just that, brief.
I was really entertained for the first ninety minutes or so, which is really about how long this second instalment needed to be. The opening sequence was one that really stood out for me as Wick set about retaking his prized possession, his car. As the story progressed it was suitably interesting without breaking any new ground in terms of action films. That part came as no surprise and, therefore, wasn’t too disappointing. The problem was that the body count just got higher and higher and became incredibly repetitive. I’ve no issues whatsoever with a high body count or the on-screen violence itself but it just became a little boring and I just wanted things to be tied up so I could leave. It was a sequel worth seeing and I didn’t leave the cinema unhappy but if you were to take about twenty to thirty minutes and about the same number of dead bodies out of the movie it would have earned a more impressive star rating.
3/5 Stars: Wick gets the job done but takes the long route and could save a few quid on bullets.