John Wick Chapter 2

The 439th film I have seen in theaters…

First they killed his dog and stole his car. Now, they’ve blown up his house. Those dumb bastards have no idea what they’ve unleashed!

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The film picks up immediately after John Wick 1. He retrieves his stolen car and returns home, only to have an old debt called in by Santino, a powerful Italian Crime Boss, who wants his sister murdered so that he can rise to take her place on the “High Table” a ruling authority in the crime world. Wick turns him down, a major no-no in their world and in retaliation Wick’s home is blown up. Knowing that he cannot renege on a marker given to another, he takes the job, and upon completion embarks on a revenge quest against Santino for blowing up his home.

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Keanu, he of the few words and kung-fu, returns as John Wick. I must say, this is some of his finest work in years. His dedication to the fighting, gunplay, and stunts really pay off. He has earned his place as a modern middle aged action star.

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Before we talk about Riccardo Scamarcio’s performance as Santino, can we take a minute to look at this shot? Wow. The entire final battle in the mirrored art exhibit was tremendous. Scamarcio was a great villain. He oozed the right mix of threat, and entitled power the role demanded.

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Common appears as Cassian, bodyguard for Gianna, Santino’s doomed sister. He brought a great physicality to the role and his chemistry with Keanu was spot on.

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Holy shit. This movie reunited Neo and Morpheus. Lawrence Fishburne is the Bowery King, ruler of NYC’s homeless. He uses them as his eyes, ears, and enforcers. Fishburne is great is everything he touches, so he was terrific here.

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Ruby Rose, an astonishingly beautiful actress from Australia plays Ares, Santino’s enforcer. She is a real threat in the film, and although is mute, does a terrific job standing toe to toe with Keanu. Those eyes! So cold!

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Rounding out the main cast is Ian McShane returning as Winston, the manager of the Continental in NYC. This guy can do no wrong. He could read the phone book to an audience and be captivating.

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Well, the final word is that this is another great action film. I think the first film was superior, mainly because this one was dead set on setting up a trilogy. Now, they did a good job of creating a scenario for Chapter 3, but it was uncessary. The world-building they did here was remarkable. The criminal underworld was fully fleshed out, with rules, economy, and infrastructure. Chapter 3 will probably be a great success, building on the work done here.

speak now, or forever hold it

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