John Wick: Chap­ter 2 (15)

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - FILM - ON GEN­ERAL RE­LEASE ALIS­TAIR HARKNESS

4/5

John Wick: Chap­ter 2 sees the wel­come re­turn of Keanu Reeves as the grief-fu­elled hit­man who went on a kill­crazy ram­page after los­ing his wife, his puppy and his vin­tage car in the first film – a cult hit par ex­cel­lence that came out of nowhere in 2014 to be­come Reeves’s most es­sen­tial movie since The Ma­trix. The new movie picks up where that one left off: with Wick on a bru­tal mis­sion to re­trieve his car from the Rus­sian gangsters who stole it. With a frankly daz­zling dis­play of ve­hic­u­lar-, gun- and mar­tial-arts-in­duced slaughter, the film sets its thrillingly over­the-top tone early. Re­turn­ing di­rec­tor Chad Sta­hel­ski and cin­e­matog­ra­pher Dan Laust­sen craft chiaroscuros of car­nage, off­set­ting the vi­brant bloodshed with shad­owy light­ing to en­hance the art­ful­ness of the ac­tion. Of course there still isn’t much art­ful­ness on dis­play in the script – a stripped­down yet clunky amal­gam of B-movie di­a­logue and pa­perthin char­ac­ters. But what’s pleas­ing is the way Sta­hel­ski and screen­writer Derek Kol­stad have built on and ex­panded the crazy world of the first film in­stead of just re­gur­gi­tat­ing the revenge sto­ry­line. Reeves, too, is just great to watch. Whether he’s be­ing bounced off con­crete steps, de­flect­ing bul­lets with his Kevlar-lined suit jacket or walk­ing across Brook­lyn Bridge with his new dog, he’s in com­plete com­mand of a role that only he could make work.

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