John Wick was little strange, a film from the lights of Refn, where a retired gunman gets back in action because he killed the dog. In fact, it was all an excuse that would allow Stahelski and Leitch importing into American cinema the most recent developments in the way of filming the action coming from Asia (mainly The Raid).
John Wick: Chapter 2 instead is an attempt to sell to the public through a new kind of hero, who has that style, one that in theory should be in line with the modern era with the clothes and the mood. The world of John Wick now takes an order, as it becomes a coherent universe in which all almost all are assassins in disguise, a world full of secret societies, power plays, international intrigue, and rules. All in the name of style and elegance.
John Wick lives in the world of men's fashion magazine, one in which the Mafia is a kind of men's country club only or where the superhero costume has full of pockets, tricks, bulletproof padding, and gadgets.
Four days after killing Viggo Tasarov and his men, John Wick is convinced he can finally return to civilian life as before. Instead, he is forced to pay a debt of honor against Santino D'Antonio, a racketeer who helped him to leave the world of organized crime. The mandate entrusted to him by Santino takes him to Rome, where he will come into conflict with the upper echelons of the organization and will realize that he can never really get out of a violent universe of which he was one of the leading members.
John Wick was a pleasant surprise for fans of a certain genre of brutal and sensational films directed with a sure hand by the two former stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch and dominated by the performance of perfectly monotonous Keanu Reeves in the role of a retired hitman who returns to his old ways following the killing of his dog.
John Wick 2 is a postmodern approach to the stylistic features of a paroxysmal revenge movie, conjugated with an aesthetic neo-noir full of oriental inspiration. Nothing is particularly original, but fun at the right point, so as to launch Leitch that on the occasion of John Wick - Chapter 2 is only involved as executive producer as one of the new promises of Hollywood action with Atomic Blonde (to be released in August) and Deadpool 2 (scheduled for next year).
It was almost inevitable that the world of John Wick was full of interesting mythological connotations to explore in the very first chapter (the existence of the John himself as a kind of boogeyman is able to strike fear everywhere in the mysterious community of murderers, and reality as the Continental hotels chain, sort of sanctuary for the underworld where he is not allowed to kill), gave birth to a franchise, as well as indicating the words "Chapter 2" in the title of the sequel, in the desire to continue at least one more episode, the audience reaction permitting. An eventuality which looks set to be achieved, judging by the outcome of the commercial success of the film to date (over $ 140 million globally).
How to make a sequel without falling into the trap of déjà vu? A problem that John Wick 2 solves playing with the audience's expectations in the incipit that act as a true epilog to the events of the first episode, respecting the hyperkinetic aesthetic of the parent before giving way to a more tragic explicitly religious/biblical contours.
It speaks repeatedly of devils and descended into the underworld, and we discover that those breaking the organization's rules will be ejected or as they say, excommunicated. An evolution that organically is inspired by the larger than life component from the first film, where John was a fairytale figure and a nightmare, who here is promoted to a real demonic entity, complete with a trip to Rome.
Yes, almost fourteen years after the double release of Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, Reeves and Fishburne are back on screen together, a reunion which Stahelski and screenwriter Derek Kolstad allude without slipping in the free quotations. But beyond the nostalgia casting the combination of the adventures of Neo and by John Wick is more plausible than expected and have changed the means available.
John Wick Chapter 2 has cost less than the first Matrix, even without taking into account the inflation since 1999, but we are still in the presence of a hidden reality, that is similar and superimposed. The reality now begins to creak, with systems that are being violated and the seemingly invincible Wick, who, although still is capable of killing just anyone even with a pencil, suffers the effects of passing years.
A virtual reality and at the same time tangible, where the concept of identity is fragmented and fragile, and salvation becomes the mirror image of eternal damnation. A reality in which we immerse ourselves, wet playfully from the blood of the victims of John and then having to run to the end of the two hours of projection, and wait for the third installment.