Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne
Release Date: June 13, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Legendary hitman John Wick is forced out of retirement again by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome, where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.
The action-packed sequel ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ picks up immediately following the conclusion of the first film, with John (Reeves) now out to finally reclaim his stolen car. After reacquiring his stolen property, John and his new dog companion make their way home, ready to finally try and settle in to his delayed retirement. But when a deadly former associate whom John is bound via a blood oath to assist arrives at his door seeking his help and his initial refusal results in his home being burned to the ground, John reluctantly accepts his fate and the task asked of him. Yet when the task turns into a double cross and John is betrayed and left with a price on his head he begins to forge a blood soaked path back to the man responsible, now free to exact vengeance with his marker cleared and nothing left to lose.
Once again directed by Chad Stahelski from a screenplay penned by Derek Kolstad, Stahelski does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ smoothly guiding along this wild, hard hitting sequel with style and grace around each and every turn. The film also owes a share of the credit to the capable folks that comprise the cast and truly make the series work as brilliantly as it does, most key among them is star Keanu Reeves (The Matrix) who continues to prove himself a true action superstar thanks to aggressive training and going well beyond the usual levels of preparation for these films. Reeves is joined by a solid supporting cast that includes a number of new and returning faces to the series including Common (Now You See Me), Riccardo Scamarcio (Burnt), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander Cage), Ian McShane (TV’s American Gods), Lance Reddick (TV’s Fringe), John Leguizamo (TV’s Bloodline) and more, nearly all delivering spot on performances in each of their respective roles.
‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ is an outstanding sequel and a fantastic action film in nearly every possible way that not only holds up with its predecessor, but actually manages to surpass it. Embracing the style, coloring and lighting, plus of course the unique, brutal action and nearly everything else that made the first film work so well, then amplifying it tenfold in addition to throwing some mind-blowing car fights along with some other jaw dropping craziness into the mix for good measure. The result is a tense, gorgeous and simply insane (in the best possible way) ride that only manages to excel this remarkable action franchise further along its way to becoming one of the best action franchises in recent memory. Nearly as important, it also expands the mythical universe in which the film exists and allows fans a closer look at just how deep and far this seemingly invisible world reaches. Director Chad Stahelski returns for the sequel and does a spot on job guiding along Derek Kolstad’s script once again; the duo’s capable hands behind the camera only complimented further by another hard hitting performance by Keanu Reeves who is better than ever this time around, along with a strong supporting cast that includes both a number of new and returning faces to the series. Anyone who enjoyed the first film but hasn’t yet had the pleasure of this explosive sequel will definitely want to make certain to check it out as soon as you’re able, it offers everything fantastic from the original while only increasing the wild action and everything else within Wick’s world; action (and Keanu) fans won’t want to dream of missing out on this breathtaking action masterpiece which is a perfect example of how to deliver a superior and nearly flawless follow-up to an already impressive action flick.
Overall, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ is simply phenomenal; a wild, beautifully choreographed and shot action-fest that sports some of the craziest action imaginable and always with style and an intriguing world that can’t help but pull you right in as it continues to reveal more of its scope and range. Director Chad Stahelski, writer Derek Kolstad and star Keanu Reeves all return for the second installment and the familiarity that has developed is quite obvious in the smoothness at which the sequel travels. ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ definitely earns my highest recommendation, particularly for fellow fans of the first film who are sure to be as blown away as myself by this tense, gorgeous and insanely enjoyable high-octane ride. It should prove itself well worth the cost of a rental at the absolute least for those that may be hesitant to drop the cash on a blind purchase. Fans of the first one who appreciate the replay value on the other hand will probably just want to cough up the money for a copy as I can’t imagine it disappointing in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and beautifully colored presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous fast moving and darkly lit sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is an outstanding high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that should have no trouble thrilling the hardcore fans and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds truly phenomenal and offers a nearly constant flurry of aggressive activity throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the action by sending cars, explosions, debris, and bullets aplenty regularly whipping throughout the various speakers, along with crowd chatter and more, and never causing any dialogue that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a remarkable Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that contributes another splendid layer of fun to the overall viewing experience and should have no trouble satisfying even the pickiest of audiophiles.
The Blu-ray release of ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ includes a healthy collection of bonus content that takes you deeper into the film. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Keanu Reeves and Director Chad Stahelski’, in addition to a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 8 minutes in length combined). We are also treated a collection of behind the scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more; they include: ‘Retro Wick: Exploring the Unexpected Success of John Wick’ (running approximately 5 minutes), ‘Training John Wick’ (12 minutes), ‘WICK-Vizzed’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership’ (10 minutes), ‘As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick’ (5 minutes), ‘Car Fu Ride-Along’ (5 minutes), Chamber Check: Evolution of a Fight Scene’ (10 minutes), ‘Wick’s Toolbox’ (8 minutes) and ‘A Museum Tour with Sir Jonathan Wick’ (2 minutes). A fun ‘Kill Count’ video (approximately 3 minutes) a ‘Dog Wick Short’ (2 minutes) and the ‘Theatrical Trailer’ for the movie (2 minutes) are also included.