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John Wick - Chapter 2


Stars: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, Ian McShane, Common, John Leguizamo, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Franco Nero, Peter Stormare, Peter Serafinowicz

Director: Chad Stahelski

Like Arnie's Terminator, John Wick is back, and just as deadly. The former hit-man reclaims his stolen car, but has a fresh load of heavies to dispatch when the Mafioso (Scamarcio) who got him out of a hole calls in his 'blood marker' by commanding him to kill his sister, who has taken his place as the dons' table.

When Wick refuses, the palatial home he shares only with his dog is burned to the ground. Accepting the assignment while secretly swearing revenge, Wick flies to Rome and carries out the assignment, though the glamorous Mafiosa (Gerini) prefers her own way out.

Escaping after gunning down 71 (count 'em) bodyguards, Wick flies back to America, to find a price of $7 million on his head. He seeks help from underground crime boss Bowery King (Fishburne), leading to a knowing reference to the two stars' meeting on The Matrix.

The film is mostly gun-blazing action, which is just as well as Reeves, though no great actor, acrobatically performs many of his own stunts. Occasionally, however, the gunplay descends into farce, as when Wick and his old adversary Cassian (Common) fire at each other from a gallery to the floor below, missing by miles every time.

What acting there is in the film is provided mainly by McShane as the manager of the hotel where Wick stays, surveying all he controls with basilisk smile. The ending invites us to come back for Chapter 3.

David Quinlan

USA 2017. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour (unspecified).
122 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 12 Feb 2017