When we last left John Wick…he was still working to get his car back. And after a very crazy and intense fight to do so, he heads home. He buries his weapons, planning to quietly slip back into retirement. But instead, his actions have come to the attention of Santino D’Antonio, to whom Wick owes a favor…and seeing how John left retirement, he is determined to cash it in.
John refuses and Santino handles it badly. A visit to Winston lets John know he has to honor the debt…but after the debt? John is in the clear to get back at Santino. And so John goes off to Italy to complete the mission…and…well, let’s just say his day goes from bad to severely life threatening.
John Wick Chapter 2 picks right up and never lets up. Even the quiet moments feel like they are a build up to something intense. As hit men rain down on Wick, he is constantly on guard. Every corner reveals a new threat. This gets amusing, such as one scene where Wick and Cassian (played by rapper and actor Common) are walking through a train station, from a distance trying to shoot each other (but carefully missing the people around them).
Many of the hit men are brief roles, yet the film gives them each unique and personal styles suggesting a backstory (we will never get). Director Chad Stahelski returns with the second installment and it pays off. John Wick Chapter 2 takes the best parts of the first film and amplifies them.
As before, the action is extremely well choreographed and the story kept very tight. Rather than start to give the film to much more background, as sequels are prone to do, it follows the rule of “Keep It Simple”. This really works in Chapter 2’s favor.
And finally, the film is clearly set for a Chapter 3…and the final moments of Chapter 2 hint that it will be quite a thrill ride.