The first John Wick was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. I stumbled upon it, skimming the rentals one night, and was pleasantly surprised with how involved I got into a Keanu Reeves revenge-story. It’s not a movie that I traditionally go for and people were downright surprised when I recommended it. But the first 15 minutes of that movie effectively created a great backstory (wife + dog) that served as the means for an hour and a half of Keanu chaos.
John Wick: Chapter 2, on the other hand, is a disaster.
Somehow, some way, the movie is a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes right now from critics and viewers alike, and I’m not sure how that came to be.
The revenge story–the main reason Wick was so compelling the first time around–was never going to be as good the second time. This time, John Wick comes out of retirement for a reason that doesn’t matter to me. It involves an oath that isn’t really explained and doesn’t need to be explained. He’s in–or was in–a secret group of assassins and… he just has to do this thing. The action is more or less the same in quality but it’s just a means to an end nobody cares about. In the first Wick, there’s the payoff–the killing of an unlikable son that tarnished his wife’s memory. This time around, John is just wearing his black suit in new places! He’s in a cave! He’s in Europe! And during one big scene, he’s in a goddamn mirror maze. Try to imagine Braveheart if William Wallace was kidding and really didn’t care for freedom.
The supporting cast is pathetic, led by some woman who communicates in sign language and a villain that can’t even fight. There’s one scene, where Wick and Common the Rapper fight and collectively fall down 200 stairs. Nobody really gets hurt and then they have a drink. It’s so over the top but you don’t really know if the directors are in on the joke. And for the love of god do I hate the comic-bookish font used in the interpretations. There are back for John Wick 2, everyone.
This isn’t a movie that depends on solid plot lines but somehow this gets fucked up too. At the end of the movie–and I won’t give away any spoilers–you are led to believe that everyone in New York City are assassins and they’re all out to get Wick.
It was just completely unnecessary, much like the movie as a whole.
Save your money and watch it as a rental when you’re 8 shots deep.
Tub Rating: 37 degrees