Never stab the devil in the back.
Keanu Reeves’ impossibly cool, impossibly deadly and even more impossibly indestructible assassin is still pulling off the inconceivable. In this sequel to the brazenly entertaining 2014 movie John Wick, he puts his vintage 1969 Mustang through what appears to be a mid-air handbrake turn in the opening minutes alone.
On his last outing, Reeves’ retired hitman went on the rampage because a Russian Mafia brat stole his car and killed his puppy. In John Wick: Chapter 2, he has a giant bounty on his head that finds him battling all-comers, including a Mafia queen’s doggedly loyal bodyguard, played by American rapper Common, and a mafioso’s mute but deadly enforcer, played by Orange Is the New Black‘s Ruby Rose.
To be honest, the plot isn’t the film’s strongest suit. Instead, the movie’s trump cards are the audacious wit of its bizarre criminal world and the elegant brutality of the fight scenes. From a gigantic gun battle amid the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and a bruising face off on a New York subway to the film’s climactic showdown in a dazzling hall of mirrors, the fights are choreographed with stunning grace.
And as Reeves’ remorseless avenger cuts a swathe through his enemies, there isn’t the zoomed-in quick cutting that action movies so often deploy to whip up a sense of excitement. Instead, the camera simply hangs back to let us see Wick in full flow and admire his fatal handiwork.
Certificate 15. Runtime 122 mins. Director Chad Stahelski
John Wick: Chapter 2 available on Blu-ray & DVD from 12 June & Digital Download from 9 June.