John Wick: Chapter 2

It’s harder to find action more cleaner and satisfying than in this sequel to the unlikely Keanu Reeves hit. Director Chad Stahelski is Reeves’s former stuntman, which lends itself to making each of the many fight scenes feel appropriately kinetic and strenuous, something rarely seen in CGI-heavy blockbusters. After the sleek efficiency of the first installment, this often feels like a victory lap of shiny absurdity that has not quite risen to the challenge. A former hitman first went on a revenge rampage after his dog was killed, and now he’s merely cleaning up the mess. A taut 90 minute movie has become a two hour slog, difficult to follow when not showing its lead in combat. The goofy overstatement – subtitles in Fast and Furious italics, a repeated story that John Wick “once killed three men in a bar with a pencil” – keeps the proceedings fun. But there’s little purpose here aside from watching Reeves in a set of expertly choreographed fight scenes, which creates a lack of energy as a result. He got out, only to be pulled back in, and hopefully he will stay out this time.

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