Keanu Reeves is here to save the day. Thanks to him and the interesting criminal universe on display, John Wick is the smoothest and coolest new movie franchise we have going. Keanu is marvelous as the unstoppable force known as John Wick, AKA “Baba Yaga” (“the Boogeyman”) He is the baddest of the bad and just like the original film, the premise remains simple and easy to follow along with. Although I highly recommend the first film, it’s not necessary to see it to enjoy this one and that’s kind of the beauty of a movie like this. For two hours you get to watch a major movie star with a great screen presence beat the crap out of thousands of bad guys. The action sequences and fighting are excellent and although it’s incredibly violent, all of the scenes are created with a certain delicacy and artfulness that makes it almost enjoyable to watch all of the carnage.
In the first film, Wick is acting out in revenge over the loss of his car, dog, and girl. At the start of this offering, he hints at wanting to get away from the hitman lifestyle, but of course he is dragged back into it and ultimately is angry and vengeful at an entirely new group of people. The cool world of mysterious secret hotels, gold coins, and assassins makes for a nice added dimension to all the action and violence. There is also a fun sequence that I loved which pays homage to James Bond films with him picking out his weapons and suits like he’s shopping at a high end store in the mall.
What I like best about John Wick movies is Keanu Reeves. We are living in a time where most of our onscreen heroes are wearing tights and cape of some kind in the never ending superhero phase that Hollywood can’t seem to stay away from. Reeves as Wick hearkens back to different era of on screen tough guys. The other nice element at play here is the fact that no matter the circumstances, you know the hero is going to win in the end. The excitement and intrigue comes only in finding out how his victory will be executed on the screen. I’m not a huge action movie fan; the genre filled with karate fighting, gun toting bad guys, and the whole shoot ’em up style that most of these films have is not for me. So imagine my surprise when I loved the first movie and now feel even stronger about this franchise after the second installment. All signs are pointing to more adventures with John Wick and I can’t wait to see the next one. Now is the time to get on the Wick train if you haven’t already.
Bottom Line: Artful action with a purpose and a stellar leading man who wreaks havoc on a secret society of criminals is worth your time and money at the theater.
MovieMark Grade: A