John Wick 2 - NZDadsJohn Wick was one of the surprise hits of 2014. Keanu Reeves in a high-powered action film looked as if it was going to be as generic as it comes, but in its premise, along with the quality and persistence of the action, with thanks in a huge part to a great Keanu performance, it delighted many. Now, in the 2017 sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2 has made its way to Blu-ray.

John Wick: Chapter 2 continues the story of John Wick, an ex-member of a society of assassins who are everywhere around us as he gets pulled back in from retirement again. Last time it was the loss of his dog, which while absurd, was an entertaining premise. This caused him to enter the assassin world he had sacrificed so much to retire from. This time the consequences of that decision come back to haunt him as the marker -a blood oath- he took to leave the world, is called in.

The monster he gave the blood oath to wants his sister killed and to not complete this task would break the rules, of which they have many, where breaking them would mean death. These rules are what makes the John Wick films stand out. This idea that these killers have specific boundaries they must operate within, from the honouring of markers to the hotel where they must not kill.

The premise, while absurd, is strong enough to stop you questioning it throughout, meaning it’s easy to sit back and enjoy the film for what it is, a violent action blood fest. This is what makes John Wick and its sequel awesome. Its action is some of the best around, its R rating allowing for awesome violence that doesn’t cross to the grotesque. The violent action scenes are greatly assisted thanks to the wonderful acting jobs done by Keanu Reeves, Common, and Ruby Rose. Each of who do great jobs on their own, especially Ruby Rose playing the part of a silent killer.

That’s not to take away from the other elements that make the film great to watch. The electronic soundtrack does a great job of setting varying tempos, and lack thereof at times make scenes more grounded. The surroundings from the catacombs of Rome, to empty streets, to old buildings, make the action scenes much more interesting and varied.

As with the first John Wick, the movie is amazing, the fights are incredible, the body count is massive, and it’s a genuinely interesting premise that Chapter 2 delves further into. Throughout the film rules of the hired killer’s underworld are fleshed out, specifically as they apply to John and what he is doing at any given time, which strengthens the movie universe, making for fascinating watching.

The Blu-ray of the film comes with a surprising number of features as well. These vary from the cast and film makers discussing how pleasantly surprised they were that John Wick became as successful as it was, how that translates to the sequel, to cut scenes, to how the fight scenes became as great they as were. The features are all relatively short but provide a lot of insight in their short periods of time. A kill count was a personal favourite as it shows all the kills on screen and counts the scarily high number of kills.

9/10 – John Wick: Chapter 2 takes a film that was previously loved for its amazing action and intriguing world, fleshing it out more. With great performances hammering home outstanding actions it is one of the better action films in a while, and with a Blu-ray package full of short but detailed features, it’s hard to find a reason to not recommend.

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