February 11, 2017 -- This sequel doesn't show us anything new about John Wick. The humanity in Wick's personality, evident in the first film, has been mostly erased in this film. The plot provides thin excuses for a lot of gun fights, fist fights, knife fights that go on and on and on. It is ultra violent and ultra senseless.
Aside from a prolonged fight in a hall of mirrors set, there is nothing new you did not see in the first movie. The fights are well staged and there are a lot of good stunts and shooting effects. If that is all you are looking for, there is plenty of fight and killing scenes to satisfy you. There are more graphic killings in this film than in most war movies.
The first film had something more, a kind of tragic love story that is alluded to in the second film, but it doesn't build on what was in the first film. The story here starts out with Wick (played by Keanu Reeves, reprising his role from the first film) recovering his stolen car, so this story seems to be set right after the story in the first film.
Just as Wick is planning to settle back into retirement, he is pulled back into the underworld by Santino D'Antonio (played by Riccardo Scamarcio of “Burnt”) a Camorra crime family heir who holds a “marker” on Wick, which obligates Wick to do his bidding. Santino wants Wick to kill his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini of “The Passion of the Christ”) so he can take her place in the upper levels of international organized crime.
After refusing to do Santino's bidding, he is finally forced to carry out the assassination of Gianna in Rome, only to be targeted by Santino's men, led by silent assassin Ares (Ruby Rose of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”). He is also targeted by Gianna's formidable bodyguard, Cassian (played by Common of “Suicide Squad”).
This whole supposed “reluctance to fight” thing, immediately followed by extreme fighting and killing, by the reluctant fighter, reminded me of the funny sequence at the beginning of “A Fistful of Yen” spoof segment in “Kentucky Fried Movie” (1977) that goes like this:
Pennington, a government man talking to Kung Fu master Loo: “My government is prepared to offer you 50,000 pounds to join Klahn's Army as our agent.”
Loo replies: “I'm afraid you underestimate me Mr. Pennington. Your people and mine have a different set of values.”
Pennington: “Mr. Loo, you must understand. The survival of the free world is at stake.”
Loo (pointing upwards): “ ... I owe my allegiance to a higher source.”
Pennington: “Ah, but you have the chance to kill 50, maybe 60 people.”
Loo smiles and agrees to undertake the mission.
There is also a great deal of this honor among thieves business in the film. Honoring the marker. Honoring the safe havens where bloodshed is not allowed. Honoring the rules set by the various organized crime families. The problem is, Wick seems to be the only one playing by the rules. He honors the marker, but Santino doesn't honor his end of the bargain.
Maybe Wick should have read “The Art of the Deal” because it sure looks like some deals could have been worked out between Wick and Gianna, or with Cassian, for that matter. Instead, Wick ignores all that and works alone, following the rules until he decides to break a rule, which causes him even more trouble.
This is a film with a lot of action, but there is no point to any of it. Also, as a matter of fact, the Camorra organization is not a pyramid, it is more of a horizontal organization, so there is no “boss of bosses,” like the way it is depicted in the film. I will watch the first film, “John Wick” again sometime. It is in my collection. I never want to see this sequel again. This film rates a C.
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