Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * *
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Tobias Segal, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan, David Patrick Kelly, Peter Serafinowicz, Elli.
An assassin is only good as the silence he leaves behind, the job based on the ability to disappear into the shadows like a whisper of a ghost, an unseen hand able to take another’s life without even breaking sweat; an assassin must live in the stillness, be a spectre at a victim’s wake.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is not stealthy enough to be a film in which consideration should be due; a moment of filler perhaps but it is not one to be anything than other a kind of violent porn, a tickle of joy in the world of guns and ammo, one that does not show the complexity of either human emotion or the world in which a hitman, an assassin would operate; targets may be acquired but never once do you feel for the plight of the main character, an accusation really that comes straight from the heart of the first instalment.
It is possible to always want to like Keanu Reeves, he has captured a look of complete incredulity in some classic films, from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and on to the role of Neo in the Matrix trilogy, who has not fallen for the boyish charms in the adult physique, yet look beyond that, go further down the cinematic rabbit hole. It is possible to see the same performance in almost every role, the stoic hero without an ounce of pleasure in his life; it is a look that will carry a film along, keep it rolling along for the rest of his career but it is one that does not display the full extent of what is to be seen as a talented actor stuck in essentially the same role.
The screen is lit up though in the scenes in which Laurence Fishburne grabs the attention of the viewer, a great actor in almost anything he is allowed to show his care to the role and one in which this film he brings a certain beautiful gravitas to; the true assassin hiding in plain sight. Along with Ruby Rose, the Australian actor who might be a surprise choice for such a role and the unflappable charm of Ian McShane as Winston, there are positives in John Wick: Chapter 2, but they are few and far between to really make an audience member care about the final outcome or the inevitable sequel.
A film that tries to be liked, but ultimately one that is a one trick story, lacking in substance, it relies too much on style; John Wick: Chapter 2 is a great filler between moments of abandoned time but one that does not remotely hit the mark.
Ian D. Hall