Dir.: Chad Stahelski; Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scarmarcio, Claudia Gerini, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common; USA 2017, 122 min.
Doubtless creating a new action franchise, director Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad return Keanu Reeves as a super-hero killing machine – with a new dog and an even larger kill quota.
After a sort of overture, in which Wick fights a gang of Russian mobsters who have stolen his beloved Mustang, he settles in his new home with his canine friend. His retirement does not last long: Santino (Scarmarcio), an Italian member of the Camorra, asks Wick to kill his sister Gianna (Gerini), producing a blood token for help, signed by Wick for assistance rendered in the past.
In Rome, Gianna takes her own life in the bath, Wick watching, making small talk. But Santino is double-crossing Wick, sending his killers after our hero, amongst them is the mute Ares (Ruby Rose), a martial arts fighter who communicates in sign language. Returning to New York, every beggar and street tramp seems to be on Santino’s pay roll, not to mention Cassian (Common), Gianna’s body guard, who is out for revenge. After killing Santino in the New York Continental, a sort of violent free exclave for gangsters, Wick is given an hour’s grace by its proprietor Winston (McShane), before the Camorra and “The High Table” will up the seven million bounty on Wick’s head, ready to chase him in Chapter 3.
JOHN WICK is A perfectly choreographed dance of the dead; the body count is so astronomical viewers might expects the combo meter to appear any time in the right hand corner of the screen – this is a video game indeed. There are jarring moments, when Wick remembers his dead wife, but overall Wick is left do what he is best at: killing with ease, death seems to be painless. Coming nearest to a pure, classic Hong Kong product of the past, the irony of a 52-yer old hero causing mayhem will be lost on testosterone-driven audience. AS
ON GENERAL RELEASE FROM 17 FEBRUARY 2017