In 2014 Keanu Reeves was not exactly doing well in Hollywood. He had a couple of box office failures under his belt, 47 Ronin and Man of Tai Chi, and wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. But then a smaller action movie was released called John Wick. It was made on a $20 million budget and did very well with a worldwide take of almost $100 million. And audiences went nuts for it making it an instant action classic. This month Reeves returns to the role in the second of a planned trilogy with John Wick: Chapter 2.
After the events of the first film, all John Wick (Reeves) wants to do is leave the life of an assassin behind. When another assassin calls on him to honor a blood oath and perform one last hit, Wick reluctantly agrees. When the hit leads to a complication Wick finds himself the target of every assassin out there looking for a hefty payday but Wick is determined to finish what he started and get his life back once and for all.
The John Wick films have brought back a wonderfully fun aesthetic in action films that hasn’t been around much since the 80s. A straight forward, balls out, hardcore action film about a man who does what he does better than anyone else. And writer Derek Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski just get it. The action is phenomenally choreographed and has a lightning fast pace. And part of the reason it succeeds so well is Reeves full commitment to getting it right. He undergoes incredibly intensive training for these films and brings an unflinching authenticity to the role that sells it for audiences. John Wick: Chapter 2 may bring less story to the table but it more than makes up for it with an even greater number of beautiful action sequences. Not since John Woo’s films or even Gareth Edwards The Raid have we seen action set pieces look so balletic. The Blu-ray also features some great behind the scenes footage of Reeves training and it is almost as impressive as the film itself. And with the set up in John Wick: Chapter 2, I am totally looking forward to the last entry in the series and seeing where it takes the iconic character. Very highly recommended.