With the departure of the hugely-popular (though hugely-overrated) Taken franchise having coincided with the arrival of 2014’s already-sequel’d sleeper-hit John Wick, evidently there’s still plenty of room in the market for veteran male Hollywood actors to unleash relentless chaos on the scum of the silver screen. The original saw retired hitman John Wick (Reeves) put his old skills to good use to avenge the death of his adorable puppy – a gift from his late wife to help him through the grieving process – which consequently saw him slay the Russian mob in the most brutal fashion that the action thriller has seen in a long time. But while the curtain was drawn on Wick’s revenge mission, it was not without a snapshot at the curious, assassin-rich world he occupied.
Now, Chad Stahelski returns to the helm for Wick’s second outing, delivering as much precision and superb execution to the neo-noir sequel as the titular character does to his countless enemies. Just days after the events of the first movie, naturally, Wick is still trying to come to terms with his wife’s death and put his violent past behind him once and for all. But he learns that there’s no rest for the wicked when he is forced to take on a new assignment by Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio; the man who helped him retire in the first place and enjoy many years of peace with his wife.
Reeves does what he does best and kills a lot of people, with razor-sharp choreography that puts that of The Matrix movies to shame. And while, like its predecessor, the film opts for more style than substance, there’s simply very little room for anything overly deep and meaningful here. That said, the film is not without heart and sentiment, but it’s something that is left between the lines rather than allowing the film to be bloated with melodrama. That, and Reeves, as usual, exudes enough humanity and likeability to compensate for its semi-absence. The hitman underworld is also well-crafted, with the film expanding on everything suggested in the original and more. And like the film’s surprisingly-eerie ending, is interesting enough to justify at least one more sequel.