John Wick, Chapter 2 4K Ultra HD Review
John Wick is about as badass as a hitman can be. He was notorious in assassin circles earning himself the nickname, "The Boogeyman". When he came around, nobody who wasn't meant to live survived. He retired and got married but came back to seek revenge on the guys who stole his car and killed his dog. He gets that revenge and at the beginning of the second film, he gets his car back as well.
He is, once again, content to leave that seedy underworld behind him but when Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio; Burnt) walks through Wick's front door with a proposal, he knows he can't refuse. You see, years ago Wick gave D'Antonio a marker if you will in order for his help in retiring. Now D'Antonio is back to cash in that marker and reluctantly suck Wick back into that world and, once again, kill. Rules of the underworld maintain that Wick can't refuse, so he must do as D'Antonio asks which, ultimately, puts a mark on Wick's back and puts him in ex-communicado status at the Continental hotel (basically meaning no one can help him and there is a price on his head with all too many hunters looking to collect).
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a Tour de Force of action sequences including hand to hand combat, guns, knives, and cars and Stuntman turned director, Chad Stahelski (Captain America: Civil War), showcases them all beautifully. Having come from the stunt world (he worked as stunt double for Reeves on the Matrix films), he knows just which angles to film to get the best possible view of the fighting, while maintaining the illusion that those scenes are real. He gets some great shots that put the audience right in the middle of all the action. My one complaint about the film was the first fight sequence. While all of the others seem fluid and natural, the opening fight came across as over choreographed and it felt awkward.
Reeves is perfect to play this role. Wick is a quiet, stoic and methodical man and Reeves embodies those qualities beautifully. While not the greatest actor around, he has a solid body of work and his dialogue in these films is kept to a minimum. He delivers these lines with an intensity that accentuates the fury behind them. The supporting cast including Scamarcio, Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Ruby Rose (XXX: Return of Xander Cage), and Common (Selma) compliment the star well and also shine in their action sequences.
The 4K Blu-ray quality is spectacular with the picture in sharp focus and the audio magnificently surrounding the viewer. With the 2160p video and 2.39:1 aspect ratio each scene is sharp and clear and every drop of water or fiery bomb shot are a joy to witness. The Dolby Atmos audio can be heard across all the channels and allows the audience to enjoy every guttural grunt, gun shot and explosion fully.
There are numerous extras on the 4k disc for John Wick lovers to enjoy. Many focus on the training, the stunts and the action sequences which can become a little redundant unless you really like that aspect. There is also a film "kill count" (I forget the final number but it was well over 100), a "dog Wick" short that is rather humorous, audio commentary with Reeves and Stahelski and deleted scenes. Other extras include Retro Wick: Exploring the Unexpected Success of John Wick, Training John Wick, Wick-vizzed, Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership, As Above, SO Below: the Underworld of John Wick, Car Fu Ride-along, Chamber Check: Evolution of a Fight Scene. Wick's Toolbox, and A Museum Tour with Sir Jonathan Wick. Many of them are enjoyable enough and fans will want to watch them all.
So many times, a sequel simply isn't as good as the original and rarely surpasses the first film in a series. John Wick: Chapter 2 may just be the exception. It certainly is as strong as the original and dare I say may even be slightly better. It's an entertaining film with great action sequences and an interesting story which left me wanting more. Luckily, there is a third installment on the way.
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 122 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate
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