JOHN WICK: CHAP­TER 2 (R16, 123 MINS), DI­RECTED BY CHAD STAHELSKI,

Central Otago Mirror - - CLASSIFIEDS -

It’s the call Abram (Peter Stor­mare) has been dread­ing. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is headed for his chop­shop – and he’s not happy. Abram’s nephew and brother have al­ready fallen foul of the dap­perly-dressed ‘‘boogey­man’’ for mur­der­ing his wife and puppy and now Abram is in the fir­ing line be­cause he now pos­sesses Wick’s beloved 1969 Ford Mus­tang Mach 1 among his ill-got­ten in­ven­tory.

Nat­u­rally heads are cracked, havoc wreaked and cars wrecked, but Abram’s own life is spared as Wick con­sid­ers jus­tice and vengeance served.

How­ever, al­though des­per­ately keen to, lit­er­ally, bury his past, Wick now finds him­self dragged back into the hit­man game by the man who helped him es­cape in the first place. High-rank­ing Camorra lieu­tenant Santino D’An­to­nio (Ric­cardo Sca­mar­cio) is call­ing in his debt, de­mand­ing Wick kill his sis­ter so he can take her place at the crim­i­nal-un­der­world’s ‘‘high ta­ble’’. When our man re­fuses, D’An­to­nio sim­ply burns his house down.

Seek­ing coun­sel from hit­man ‘‘rule-master’’ Win­ston (Ian McShane), Wick dis­cov­ers, to his hor­ror, he has no choice but to carry out the as­sas­si­na­tion.

Like the 2014 orig­i­nal, Chad Stahelski’s se­quel was orig­i­nally des­tined for a de­but out­side of Kiwi cine­mas. How­ever, a fan cam­paign was launched which changed the dis­trib­u­tors’ minds. Thank good­ness they did. For John Wick: Chap­ter 2 is one of the most en­ter­tain­ing ac­tion movies you’ll see this year.

Yes, it’s at times un­com­fort­ably ul­tra­vi­o­lent, vi­ciously vis­ceral and wan­tonly wince-in­duc­ing, but it boasts plenty of colour­ful char­ac­ters, grip­ping drama and more than a lit­tle hu­mour. Ki­netic, fre­netic and, at times, just plain lu­natic, di­rec­tor Stahelski’s for­mer role as Wick star Reeve’s stunt-dou­ble comes to the fore as he chore­ographs some truly breath­tak­ing ac­tion for his re­li­ably la­conic ac­tion-man.

Much-de­rided for his line-delivery in other flicks, Reeves’ here is a man of few words and many ac­tions, as Stahelski clev­erly sur­rounds him with the more ver­bose likes of Stor­mare, Sca­mar­cio, McShane and a scen­esteal­ing Lau­rence Fish­burne. How­ever, Reeves is al­most out­shone by the ac­tion­woman du jour Ruby Rose, who fol­lows up her ex­cel­lent turns in the most re­cent XXX and Res­i­dent Evil en­tries with a crowd-pleasing turn as a hearingim­paired hit­woman.

Throw in some play­ful use of sub­ti­tles, a hi­lar­i­ous makeover scene and a ter­rific homage to Or­son

Welles’ The Lady From Shang­hai, and this lat­est John Wick ad­ven­ture will leave you count­ing down the days till Chap­ter 3. – James Croot

Keanu Reeves is back play­ing deadly dap­per dude John Wick in the im­pres­sive John Wick: Chap­ter 2.

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