‘John Wick,’ 2014’s surprise sleeper “hit” (get it?) which more than quadrupled its modest $20 million budget at the box office about an assassin forced out of retirement to exact his brand of one man vigilante justice against a Russian mob boss (reviewed here: link), earns a much deserved sequel in ‘John Wick: Chapter 2.’ With a bigger budget (twice that of the original) and a story that ups the ante for our titular anti-hero, JW2 promises to be even bloodier and badass-ier than its predecessor. And boy, did it deliver the goods!
After leaving death and destruction in his wake for the death of his beloved puppy, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) recovered his vintage ’69 Ford Mustang (in a manner of speaking) and settled down once again to the quiet and peaceful life of a retired legendary international hitman, to be forgotten by the world and left alone. Of course, that was simply too much to ask. This time an old “associate” calls in a debt from his dark past, one which he is bound to honor, and he is thrust back into the life he so desperately wanted to leave behind. In JW, we learned that there is a universal golden rule punishable by death that must be followed by all assassins, and that is to never conduct “business” at the Continental hotel. In JW2, we learn a second equally binding law, and that is a “marker” must always be honored.
That’s part of what makes JW so fascinating: Its unique world-building and portrayal of a secret society of assassins amongst us, as outlandish and incredible as it may seem. In JW2 we immerse ourselves in this richly imagined universe even more to the level of near absurdity (seemingly every other person may be an assassin!), but despite its contemporary settings and “realism” we do not question it or roll our eyes in give-me-a-break fashion because the mayhem and carnage inflicted throughout are so bloody delicious and fun. ‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ anyone?