A fistful of headshots: John Wick Chapter 2 reviewed

It isn’t often nowadays where an action film actually takes on that role of displaying the action and making Keanu Reeves the badass he should always play. Half of the directing team comes back with Chad Stahelski at the helm of this crazy, daft and adrenaline-injected story of John Wick, the boogey man, once again on the path of revenge against the men who keep him away from a quiet retirement. And when the revenge comes, it strikes with a furious and vengeful stride showcasing the exact type of action film that has been lacking in the hollywood system for decade.

Picking up after the brutal finale of the first film, we watch as Mr. Wick tries to track down his sweet whip from the New York based Russian mob that still has the ownership of the vehicle. After that first action scene, the film wisely takes a minute to reintroduce characters and elements that gave the first movie a sense of a larger world.

From the use of the Continental hotel and bringing in the idea of worldwide hitman contracts the writer Derek Kolstad dives into the intricacies of the assassin’s life while providing ample opportunity for a really intriguing series of deftly intricate stories for years to come.

The cast brings a physicality to their scenes, where it can be easily seen that they are actually performing their fights, driving and flips. The technical achievement, in particular from Reeves, that is created by the choreographers and filmmakers allows for free flowing, seamlessly edited sequences that prove it doesn’t take seven edits to show a single punch.

This dedication to a clear and concise filmmaking that focuses on showing how well the stunt crew and actors can actually fight is compelling on several levels and the CGI is kept to a minimum.

As with the first film, Reeves gives his all in an extremely physical performance while side players all gather around him.

In particular actor/singer Common works well in setting up a future rivalry as another member of the underground network of killers who has an engagingly surreal and funny silent fight that happens in the middle of a crowded New York subway system. It is this balance of action and absurdism that streamlines the film to make it one of the fastest and slickest, not to mention hardest hitting films to come from this side of the world, in years.

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