Ahhh, the pre-order gift. You know, when you pre-order a movie and forget when it is going to be released. Then you come home to find a package in the mail that contains your movie, but you never receive the email that it was delivered so it comes as a complete surprise. That is pretty much what happened regarding today’s movie, which I immediately went ahead and pre-ordered after seeing it in theaters. So let’s see how bad of a day our favorite assassin is having as I watch John Wick: Chapter 2.
The plot: A few days after the events of the first movie, John Wick is chasing down a man on a motorcycle and eventually catches him when the man crashes into the car John is driving. Searching the body, John retrieves a card with a distinct emblem on it, then leaves the body in the road and heads towards the Russian chop shop that has his car, which happens to be owned by Viggo Tarasov’s brother Abram. After taking out some of the guards, John finds his car and attempts to drive out of there but the remaining guards proceed to crash into his car. John manages to kill or cripple the guards, then heads up to Abram’s office and declare a truce, which Abram accepts, and John drives his wrecked car home. The next day, John’s friend Aurelio shows up and takes John’s car to his shop to be repaired while John heads down to his basement and reburies the weapons and clothing he used as an assassin. Hearing his doorbell ring, John answers it to find Santino D’Antonio outside, who asks if he can come in. John invites him in and as the two men talk, it is revealed that Santino had helped John with his impossible task that allowed him to stop being an assassin. Showing the blood oath marker that John swore to, Santino tells John he needs his help but John refuses to accept the marker, saying he can’t help as he is retired. Santino leaves but grabs a grenade launcher from his car and proceeds to use it to blow up John’s house, but John and his new dog survive. The two head to The Continental in New York City, where John meets with Winston and Winston explains that there are two rules that cannot be broken; no business can be conducted on Continental ground and all markers must be honored. Realizing he has no choice, John asks if they can board his dog and the concierge, Charon, says they don’t but he would be willing to take care of him so John leaves his dog with him. John heads to a museum to meet with Santino and Santino explains that he wants John to kill his sister Gianna, as he wants her seat on the High Table. John heads to Rome and checks into the Continental there, then heads out to get weapons, plans, and a new suit made, not noticing Santino’s bodyguard Ares watching him from a distance. After he is ready, John heads to the party that Gianna is hosting and manages to make it to her private room. Confronting her, John tells her that he is only there because of the marker that Santino holds on him and she chooses to slit her wrist and kill herself. John holds her hand as she dies, then shoots her in the head before leaving the room. As he heads towards his escape route, John runs into Cassian, another hitman that serves as Gianna’s head bodyguard, and after John confirms that he just finished a job, Cassian attempts to shoot John, then orders his men after him while he checks on Gianna. John manages to fight his way through the guards and make it to his escape route in the catacombs, where he encounters Ares and some of Santino’s men, who are there to kill John and tie up loose ends. John manages to kill most of the men and makes it back onto the streets, where Cassian catches up to him and the two renew their fight until the eventually crash through a skylight of the Continental. Unable to continue with the fight, John and Cassian head to the bar for a drink and John explains that he was only there because of the marker Santino had on him. Cassian says he understands but still plans to avenge Gianna’s death before he leaves and as John heads to his room, he sees Ares, who signs that she will be the one to kill John. Under the pretense of avenging his sister’s death, Santino puts a $7 million bounty on John’s head and has it sent out to every hitman in New York. Meanwhile, Winston approaches Santino and demands he list John’s marker as being fulfilled, then warns him that John will be coming after him for dragging him back into this world. When John arrives back in New York, he is attacked by several assassins and manages to kill them all but ends up shot in the gut. As he continues making his way towards the Continental, he encounters Cassian and the two begin shooting at each other. They eventually make it onto a subway car, where they begin fighting with knives in the car, and John finally stabs Cassian in the chest, telling him if he pulls the blade out he will bleed out, then leaves him alive as a professional courtesy. As he heads out of the subway, he sees two more hitmen approaching him and makes a run for it until he sees a homeless man panhandling. John approaches the man, drops a gold coin in his cup, and tells the man to take him to “Him”, then he hides beneath the junk the man has. The homeless man covers John some more, then kills the two hitmen before he and some of his associates take the bodies and John away. John wakes up to find his wounds tended too and is taken to the rooftop to meet with the Bowery King, a man that John had encountered once and had given a choice on if he wanted to live or die. John convinces the Bowery King to help him by saying Santino will end up starting a war and if the Bowery King kills him, the other members of the High Table will come after him and his people but if John kills him, they will only come after him. The Bowery King gives him a gun and 7 rounds, 1 round for each million of the bounty, and has one of his men guide him through the underground to the museum where Santino is. When John gets there, he attempts to kill Santino but his men manage to get him out of the room while other bodyguards try to stop John. As John begins killing Santino’s guards, Ares shows up with some more men and helps get Santino away, then stays to try and kill John but John manages to kill the rest of the guards and finally Ares. Santino makes his way to the Continental and demands that Winston revoke John’s membership but Winston tells Santino that he has no authority to make that decision. When John arrives at the hotel, Winston tries to appeal to John to walk away but Santino taunts John and John ends up shooting him. After collecting his dog from Charon, John returns to the burnt out remains of his home for the night but the next day, Charon is there to escort him to see Winston. Winston meets with John and tells him that the High Table has now doubled the bounty on his head and sent the order out globally. When John asks about the Continental, Winston tells him that since John killed Santino there, he has no choice but to render John excommunicado and says that the services and amenities will no longer be open to him. Winston tells John that he will delay the order one hour, then hands him a marker for a possible future use. John tells Winston to tell them that whoever comes for him, he will kill them all, then leaves, with his dog running alongside.
John Wick: Chapter 2 met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is “John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should — which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun.” This movie is the first time that Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne worked together since The Matrix trilogy and there were several references to the series within the movie. The movie was a box office success, earning $166.8 million off of a $40 million budget and a third movie to finish the trilogy was announced.
This is such an awesome movie. The acting was really good, with Keanu Reeves (John) doing a great job in their roles while Ian McShane (Winston), Laurence Fishburne (Bowery King), and Common (Cassian) doing a good job in their supporting roles. The story was really good, picking up where the first movie ended and then showing the repercussions for John’s actions against Viggo and Iosef Tarasov. The fight scenes were very well done and did a great job of continuing the whole “gun fu” technique that John would use during his fights. A great movie that continues telling a great story and gets you totally geared up for the final movie.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5