Archive for the ‘Chad Stahelski’ Category

The Man, the Myth, the Mayhem

John Wick Chapter Two

Director: Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick

The image of the lone survivor battling against a gritty and unrepentant underworld pervades director Chad Stahelski’s operatic sequel to John Wick, simply titled John Wick Chapter Two set in New York and Rome.

Starring action front man Keanu Reeves as John Wick, the second film obviously has a bigger budget and definitely has revitalized Reeves’s career after his millennial peak in The Matrix Trilogy.

Keanu Reeves has a fascinating filmography first spotted as Glenn Close’s young lover in Stephen Frears’s sumptuous film Dangerous Liaisons and then as a King Henry VI type character in Gus van Sant’s landmark film My Own Private Idaho. Reeves then gained studio attention with the success of the action film Speed opposite Sandra Bullock. Keanu Reeves strengthened his position as bankable star in the Wachowski’s global post-apocalyptic phenomenon The Matrix Trilogy.

John Wick Chapter Two follows John Wick’s attempts to retire after he extricates his 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 from a creepy Russian mob boss, a brief appearance by Peter Stormare. The film’s opening sequence features a violent car chase sequence in New York which forcefully grabs audience’s attention immediately and never let’s go.

The plot point of the film comes when John Wick is visited by an Italian mob boss Santino D’Antonio played with psychopathic relish by Italian actor Riccardo Scamarcio (Burnt) who requests Wick, a professional assassin to kill his rival, Santino’s sister Gianna played by Claudia Gerini who has inadvertently inherited the title of becoming the head of an influential Italian crime family much to her brother’s horror. Gianna is protected by another loyal hitman Cassian lethally played by Common as she hosts a decadent party in Rome celebrating her new title.

As John Wick arrives in Rome, the film takes on a hyper-realized style and the consequent shootout in the catacombs below the Italian capital are brilliant in their execution and expedient its violent body count. The action in the Roman sequence is frenzied leaving audiences bloodthirsty like spectators at the Coliseum breathlessly wanting more spectacle.

The third act of the film swiftly moves back to New York where John Wick has to not only battle Santino but also seeks counsel from Winston, an enigmatic performance by Ian McShane, who is head of a covert league of assassins who are all governed by an intricate set of rules which is meant to keep killing down to a sort of stylized etiquette. No one is to be killed inside the Continental, an elegant establishment where assassins can check in and rest in between their lethal assignments. Perhaps even grab a cocktail together at the hotel bar.

With a welcome appearance by Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King who has a network of homeless people protecting him and assisting John Wick, the third act gets propelled into a vicious cycle of retribution.

John Wick Chapter Two delivers on all fronts, from complex fight sequences, to exotic and memorable locations including the elaborate final shootout at the Lincoln Centre amidst an exhibition entitled Reflections of the Soul, which director Stahelski is surely paying homage to the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

Certainly the mayhem is overkill, yet the man and myth of John Wick Chapter Two lives up to expectations definitely pointing to another bloodthirsty sequel. This film gets a rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
March 2018
« Feb    
  • Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro Steps Down Hours Before Report Detailing Unwanted Sexual Advances
    Michael Ferro, the former Tronc chairman, stepped down from the company’s board on Monday, effective immediately, just hours before a report from Fortune outlined allegations of sexual advances by two women who were doing business with him. Ferro, a Chicago businessman and largest Tronc shareholder, will be replaced by Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn. The company’s […]
  • MGM Shakeup: Gary Barber Out as CEO
    MGM CEO Gary Barber has been fired by the studio’s board of directors — just five months after he signed a new contract that runs through 2022. MGM Holdings made the announcement Monday evening, saying it had initiated a CEO transition and and executive search for Barber’s successor. The company said Barber had led MGM […]
    Dave McNary
  • The Weinstein Co. Declares Bankruptcy
    The Weinstein Co. announced Monday that it had filed for bankruptcy, finding itself unable to survive the allegations of sexual abuse leveled against co-founder Harvey Weinstein last fall. The company may yet be able to reorganize and continue to produce TV shows and films under new ownership. Lantern Capital put in a “stalking horse” bid, […]
  • ‘The Science Fair,’ ‘Nona’ Among Sun Valley Film Festival Winners
    The seventh annual Sun Valley Film Festival has announced its 2018 prizes, with the Audience Award going to documentary “Science Fair,” directed by Christina Costantini and Darren Foster. The Producer’s Vision Award went to “Outside In,” directed by Lynn Shelton; produced by Mel Eslyn and Lacey Leavitt; and executive produced by Jay Duplass and Mark […]
    Pat Saperstein
  • SXSW Film Review: ‘The Dawn Wall’
    Later this year — starting, perhaps, with the release of “First Man,” Damien Chazelle’s epic biographical drama about Neil Armstrong and the space program — America will commence what promises to be a momentous and meditative celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. What will be celebrated, of course, isn’t just the immensity […]
    Owen Gleiberman