Keanu Reeves Proves The Sad Assassin’s Staying Power In John Wick: Chapter 2
Part deux of the John Wick franchise is literally everything a Wick fan could want. The fragile human body going up against a fleet of New York taxi cabs? Check. A lone man single-handedly destroying a private security force and an expensive suit at once? Check. A classic car smashed beyond recognition? Check. A long series of self-referential jokes explaining John Wick’s entire raison d’être? CHECK—and that’s just in the first 15 minutes.
Baba Yaga is back, and the writer’s insistence that the nickname translates to ‘Bogeyman’ when it really means ‘old woman’ aside, this movie is one of those perfect bad/good action films in which the acting takes a backseat to the gunfights, car chases, shoulder-mounted rocket launchers, and lethal pencil stabbings.
Armed with a new dog and an old vendetta, an unwilling Wick (Keanu Reeves) is once again pulled back into the life he hates—murdering people for massive sums of money. Even though he’s clearly awesome at it, John wants to leave the super-assassin game so badly he literally entombs his guns and other kill-y accoutrements in cement in his basement, telling anyone who’ll listen that he’s “not that guy anymore.”
Guys, he’s so that guy. When an outstanding debt is called in, Wick initially refuses to pay (where ‘pay’ = ‘murder’). Quickly, he’s made to see that he doesn’t have a choice—in that every choice he could possibly make would be the wrong one. So he follows through with his mission, heading to Rome where we’re treated to a Devil Wears Prada-esque makeover montage in which hair and makeup are replaced by guns and ammo (the clothes part: same, though).
From there, Wick embarks on series of fist-fights and shoot-outs, taking down more men than the Titanic. At one point, finding himself besieged and out of bullets in the Roman catacombs, he pins a bad guy to the dirt with the barrel of his rifle as he reloads. Do we even have to tell you how badass that is?
The best scenes, however, are when Wick goes one-on-one, bad hombre on bad hombre, against his fellow Continental club assassins. One such fight pits Reeves’ character against Common’s. The two fire bullets and throw punches at each other down narrow Italian stradas until they come to an unending set of stairs. An epic and comedically long synchronized tumble follows.
The brilliance of the John Wick movies (yeah, you should expect more) is their meme-bending take on the Sad Keanu joke. Wick, the mopey, reluctant assassin, is the perfect role for Reeves, who may or may not be totally trolling us. Directed by Chad Stahelski, John Wick: Chapter 2 also stars John Leguizamo, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne (Matrix reunion!), Bridget Moynahan, and a dog. It hits theatres on February 10… consider your Valentine’s Day plans made.