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Film review – John Wick: Chapter 2 serves up another lean-cut action masterclass

Keanu Reeves returns as the titular hitman in this carnage-fuelled adventure sequel, and he’s brought his Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne along for the raucous ride

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 1:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 February, 2017, 1:00am

3.5/5 stars

The bruising action film John Wick (2014) was inspired by Hong Kong action movies and Jean-Pierre Melville, and starred Keanu Reeves as the titular hitman brought out of retirement after gangsters kill his late wife’s dog. The sequel, again directed by former stunt performer Chad Stahelski, is more of the same, though that’s no criticism. If you enjoy relentless bouts of gun-fu and Reeves at his taciturn best, then this is the follow-up for you.

Picking up where its predecessor left off, Reeves’ gun-for-hire finishes off the remainder of the Russian syndicate that so affronted him. But no sooner has he cemented his weapons back into his basement hideaway than there’s a knock at the door. Another powerful crime boss (Riccardo Scamarcio) wants his own sister dead to grab her seat of power. Wick refuses, but soon realises he has no choice but to take the job – a lose-lose situation that takes him to Rome and soon sees a price on his own head.

Scripted again by Derek Kolstad, the movie successfully expands the mythology of the original, depicting a world where assassins go about their business governed by strict criminal codes. Matrix fans will get a kick out of Reeves being reunited with Laurence Fishburne, who runs a network of vagabond vigilantes. But really Stahelski’s film is at its finest amid the protracted fight scenes and utter carnage.

John Wick: Chapter 2 doesn’t boast the surprise factor of the first film, nor quite the emotional pull, but it’s still a lean-cut action masterclass.

John Wick: Chapter 2 opens on February 9

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