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John Wick

Right out of the gate, a movie that starts off with a muscle car and a motorcycle has my attention.  Much of the gun porn, car porn and action porn are back.  This is kind of what happens when stunt teams get together and make movies.

It is important for anyone unfamiliar with John Wick and the positive reviews the original received in 2014 and which are currently being repeated on this sequel, that everything has to be seen within the context of action movies. The original film was loved by many, but it simply is not everyone’s taste. And this sequel is not going to strengthen its appeal. It will satisfy fans of the first film.

In 2014 John Wick (Keanu Reeves) retired hitman  was lured out of retirement to avenge a puppy and a car. This chapter opens with him retrieving his car, killing several bad guys in the process and then attempting to go back to the quiet life. But a criminal called Santino (Riccardo Scamarcio) shows up with a marker and John Wick is back. His first stop is the Continental Hotel in New York, the mysterious establishment run by Winston (Ian McShane) where all good assassins hang. Then off to Rome to fulfill the marker. But that turns John Wick from predator to prey. Director Chad Stahelski delivers a passable sequel. At two hours it felt too long to me, although the cinematography is good. The fights, both firearms and martial arts, although expertly choreographed, got stale quickly.  Especially a grapple with a headshot gag that was used way too many times.

What people have to understand is the John Wick Chapter 2 is a lot like Chapter 1. More of the same.  So there is a fine line between giving audiences what they want but also trying new things. This film did have some moments that were very exciting, but after a bit, the action just lost the momentum.  Part of that could be explained that the first film was such a surprise, so some people might be looking for a new surprise.  Unfortunately, that was not given here. What is given is pure entertainment and for that I enjoyed it.  In fact, the two films are so similar, that you could go into Chapter 2 and feel like you haven’t missed anything.

But more of the same won’t work for a third film. And if they do a third film, they really need to give us something new.  It almost felt that Chapter 2 was purely a cash grab, and rightfully so.  Most action films, as mentioned in the last review, are bloodless PG 13 garbage. And I cannot fault Keanu Reeves.

He hasn’t really aged at all.  Maybe he looks a little more tired, but overall he still has that cool factor that people like. And for that, he will keep making more films.  To be fair, I’ve never forgiven Coppola for putting Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  But Reeves won me over later.  There was a cool Easter egg that was ruined for me in the trailers, but I will not spoil it for you.  If you see the film there is a nice nod to the Matrix films.  Overall, more of the same is good for some, and not for others. But the film is entertaining, and that is better than a complete flop of a sequel.

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Jason Turner is a creative auteur from Kansas City. He is an actor, director, writer, filmmaker, producer, and published comic book author.