Friday, 17 February 2017
REVIEW: JOHN WICK-CHAPTER 2
The Matrix: Reloaded.
122 Minutes. Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common, Ruby Rose, Riccardo Scamarcio, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick, Peter Serafinowicz, Peter Stormare, Ian McShane & Laurence Fishburne. Director: Chad Stahelski.
"F### Valentines Day!" That's what the posters for 'John Wick: Chapter 2' said as the love letter to 90's action previewed this February 14th. And forget death by chocolate or soft-core porn movies based on 'Twilight' fan-fiction. This Fifty Shades Of Wick had roses for everyone. F### a safe word! Whilst Christian Grey went down in the box office like...well, we'll leave it there, Wick's Ethan Hunt like fuse refused to run out like a candle with an eternal flame. Try and make a guns and roses action flick that Schwarzenegger and/or Stallone would have loved to have had in their artillery before they became expendable in a decade and change plus new milleniuum, where todays youth are more concerned with whats streaming on their phone than whats playing in cinemas. Try and get bums in seats and faces out of screens in an age where Tom Cruise is over a half century. Mission Impossible? Nah...accept this. Because your iPhone is about to self destruct in five seconds...and you thought it was just Samsung's that did that. Now 'John Wick' himself Keanu Reeves has put two in the head of 'Fifty Shades' and the countless 'Guiness Book Of World Records' villains he dispatches to the depths of death and driven a stake through the heart of those tied-up and twisted 'Twilight' tales, it's time to get down to 'Chapter 2'. Now hows that for a book? But boy like Edward Cullen is the forever young, 'Constantine' Keanu Reeves actually a vampire too? Or a figure of history if you've seen the memes. Forget 'Sad Keanu' how about Saint Reeves...because this guy must be some other sort of spirit or something. This is 'Bill and Ted's esquire people! The 'Man Of Tai Chi' has been doing this for 25 years. A quarter of a century dudes! From-until this-the career redefining 'Matrix' trilogy to '47 Ronin', that could give Matt Damon's Far East 'The Great Wall' a run for its supernatural money this week...if 'Chapter 2' doesn't already. To think a 52 year old man could be a bogeyman to Hollywood's youngest and best next generation seems bogus at best. But Reeves hasn't even reached his breaking point yet. No wonder Key and Peele named a cat and film after him. Still riding the surf it seems like the only thing that can stop the most laid back, likable star in Hollywood is two horror girls that come to his house when 'John Wick' goes knock, knock!
Do you know 'Gun-Fu'? Because if not where are you? Time to plug yourself in. And enjoy the ride too. Because this video game like motion picture has upgraded to car-fu too and that good old Kung inbetween. As the King of bringing American and Asian filmaking together like no one else, Keanu is going to spread a case of man-flu across continents as everyone will be falling sick this Friday to get out of work early to see this popcorn movie that will have kernels falling out of your mouth from the very first new milleniuum, neon cinematic opening scene just a few blocks from the electric billboards of earths entertainment core, New York's Times Square. You think in this advertising heavy, showtime world in multiplex theaters, todays Snapchat time-frames interest wanes just after the trailers when the popcorn and candy is finished, forget it! Because an all American, Mustang muscle 'Bullit' time car chase scene that drag-race challenges Cruise's 'Jack Reacher' and even runs the nitrus injection of the 'Fast and Furious' off the road, man-handles that steering wheel in a whole new tire-screeching direction round the streets of midtown Manhattan to start this Thunder Road production that runs like Springsteen since birth. Setting fireworks off like December 31st, Reeves' Wick starts the blockbuster season early before all those superhero movies from old man 'Logan' to the legend of 'Thor'. As this modern marvel and hero without a cape strikes gold beaming, just as all those dark and depressing, outstanding Oscar defining dramas were starting to leave us downtrodden...no matter how great they are. Sometimes you just need some mindless entertainment. Seriously stupid, but crazily out of the box. This B-movie unbelievably brings home another A star report, no matter if your parents want to see what will soon become everyones go to DVD for a film night in. And Reeves is perfect in being an everyman hero with a special set of skills we are all taken by. As we will follow wherever he leads us, all whilst playing unassuming background to the lights, camera and action of the special effects that are happening on our big, blockbuster screens like a Cruise contemporary in complete control of this gun opera conduction of sniper perfect execution. Even if we don't see, know or underratedly think it...now that's a skill. One that even if you don't find it...will kill you.
Spoiler Alert! Some sequels are just as good as the orignal...if not better. And you thought it was just a dog...or it'd at least had its day. Just look at 'Waynes World 2'. Or the original dudes lf the late 80's who had an 'Excellent Adventure' and then a 'Bogus Journey' that was anything but. And all these anti-aging decades later 'Bill and Ted' just may get their trilogy before this dear John. And who could forget the 'Dark Knight'? This street level caped crusader, who is Neo tailored in bulletproof breast pocket suits that fit a whole new range of bullet dodging doesn't. As he even ends the film running like the superhero who lived long enough to see himself become the villain in a Central Park clearing ending that could rival 'The Avenger' assembling finale. And this ensemble really has everything...and everyone. Take 'Be' and 'Black America Again' top rapper Common finding forever again in the movie industry. After taking on Liam Neeson as an assassin in New York's 'Run All Night', the Chicago M.C. who kills it here going toe-to-toe with Keanu more times than the countless guns for hire and body counts that all have a contract contact finds his best role to date in an ever expanding filmography you forget already has so much range and scope. That is until he looks for Oscar gold like music contemporary Janelle Monae of both 'Moonlight' and 'Hidden Figures, just like Marhershala Ali. Meanwhile a muted killer Ruby Rose is concrete tough, showing action really shouts louder than words. And if that was a cliche, fresh off taking the fumes out of Vin Diesel on the next level and chapter of Xander Cage's 'xXx' franchise, Ruby kisses goodbye to the small screen as she shows blockbusters are the new Netflix orange and black. Whilst another John...Leguizamo, the man we love from everything chops it up again as a everyones favourite car repair shop "I know a guy". We just wish he had more scenes like 'Oz', 'Lost' and 'The Wire' T.V. triple threat Lance Reddick's frank and friendly concierge. This time he's joined by British comedian genius and M to Wick's Bond in the making Peter Serafinowicz, who is on weapons detail after seeing some pretty big ones from a racoon with a rocket and the rest of those 'Guardains Of The Galaxy' a-holes. He joins new faces that rival the old tried and tested ones of legend (and voice the same baritone) Ian McShane as the highest power, like only a Brit in a suit in American blockbuster movies is. Including the "JUST KILL HIM" villain of this movie, played annoyingly perfect by Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio and familiar face Peter Stormare of 'Prison Break', 'Bad Boys II' and everything else fame, who is no stranger to this dangerous game. But in this reloaded revolution were John Wick unscrews the silencer this time for some D-Box in your seat reverberations, nothing holds a candle to 'Wick's' reunion of Keanu Reeves and legend Laurence Fishburne. Who a far shave away from Morpheus plays pigeon (and dove of peace) cuckcoo crazy insanely good. As this time Neo offers him a red or blue choice to chew on. What more could you want from Reeves and returning director of new dynamite fuse Chad Stahelski? The former stunt man who stood in for Brandon Lee on the fateful 'Crow' and then learned his trade in the three digits of 'The Matrix', literally shadowing Keanu as his double. And now getting in on the act from N.Y.C. to Rome he knows how to lay a scene. Using the catacombs as a catalyst to a club shootout that almost out-guns Tom Cruise's 'Collateral' damage. To a classic N.Y. transit subway stop and go set-piece that leads to a pure white station splashed in Tarantino red that calls back to 'Revolutions'. Before a final 'Face/Off' in a hall of mirrors like Nicholas Cage and John Travolta takes this art gallery gone all Jackson Pollack finale from big to tall. One woah deserves another...Woah! This man, myth and legend can still shock and awe us even if we know he's really not very good at retiring. It would be so good to see him back again so soon...because 'John Wick' is still working, rendering critic ink squibs faux pass. Now can somone please get this man another gun? Because it looks like we're all locked and loaded for 'Chapter 3'. Excellent! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'John Wick', 'The Matrix', 'Taken'.