It’s been a long time since I saw this film. Right at the middle of February as it goes and as I write, it’s the end of March. In the meantime, various films have come and gone, we’ve cried with laughter and tears at what the world is turning into, and honestly it’s nice to come back to a film like this to get away from it all. John Wick: Chapter 2 has been out for some time and Boy, John (played by Keanu Reeves) can’t catch a break can he? Having lost his dog and car as well as his wife before all that in the first film, you’d be right in wondering what could possibly be next.
Don’t worry, his dog doesn’t die in this one. This time he’s fighting again due his fridge being out of warranty and his parrot has started swearing. No wait, sorry that’s John Wick Chapter 3.
About four days after the events of the first film, former assassin / clown / dog lover John Wick (once again played by the one, Keanu Reeves) tracks down his stolen car from the first film at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov (bloke from Prison Break who now is always the bad guy Peter Stormore), brother and uncle of the Russian people John killed previously. John dispatches Tarasov’s men in a violent fight that while fantastic to watch, does a bit of a number on his car. As in, a number which is hard to explain to your insurance company.
So that’s that then. Back to the quiet life and just carry on. New dog, car getting fixed, and time to retire all over again. Well this is going to be a short film for sure!
Oh no, of course it couldn’t be as John is visited one morning by Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). If you recall from the first film, John had to do an “impossible task” which allowed him to retire before the events of John Wick 1 and marry his wife. Turns out John asked D’Antonio for help.
D’Antonio swore John to a magic marker, an unbreakable promise which is actually a shiny medallion that even Mr T would fawn over. D’Antonio presents the medallion to demand services from John. John refuses, claiming that he is retired again. No backsies. In retaliation, D’Antonio destroys John’s house with a grenade launcher because he can. Again, the insurance company is going to be mad!
So once he visits Lovejoy or Winston (Ian Mcshane) back at the hotel we saw him go previously, he is reminded of why he has to honour that marker. So in essence this is where we see ol’ John come back out of retirement again because the film would have stopped there otherwise and off we go to Rome to see John go gun shopping, get a lovely suit and attend a swanky party in some ruins, where he has to kill D’Antonio’s sister so he can take over and become evil ruler of something.
John achieves this while annoying everyone and then the b*stard who asked John to do the dirty work in the first place, then takes a contract out on him for pretend revenge and thus, everyone starts trying to really kill John, and of course fail quite a bit.
So now we leave the laughable plot behind and basically get down to the bare knuckles of the matter; is this a good action film?
Yes, without a doubt and remarkably this is again one of those films where the action really does let you forget about everything that you may have a problem with. Keanu Reeves doesn’t really do a huge amount of acting (when does he?) but he doesn’t have to. The action sequences are great, he does really well in them and actually it was wonderful to see him with Laurence Fishburne at one point again while things were getting out of hand. Actually Fishburne was one of the highlights of the film for sure, playing an underground boss / birdman type dude who seems to find a lot of stuff funny.
The pace was really good, never feeling like it was lingering on something for too long. The jokes that did happen actually were good, and the set-up for another film should they choose makes you wonder how much more ridiculous it could get. Make no mistake, this film should have had a body counter present so they could keep score. Much like the same could be said for the Fast and Furious series in terms of just throwing out the window whatever made sense, John Wick just takes you for a joyride, far more than what they did in the first film and rather, it seems everyone enjoyed it too.
There is also a surprising moment towards the end of the film where you will be surprised by what happens and in essence, perhaps, is right in the outcome. So one could argue that some times, revenge is really worth taking, whatever the cost. Of course a lot of it will not make sense if you’ve not seen the first, but honestly this was a great action film and I can’t wait for John Wick: Chapter 3 to arrive on our screens at a later time.
Highly recommended for anyone who likes guns, fighting and a film which engages enough to not ever leave you bored. Just ensure you’ve seen the first John Wick to get the most of the references and settings. You won’t regret it.