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John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick: Chapter 2 isn’t more of the same. Screenwriter Derek Kolstad tweaks his mythos just enough to make an already grim concept truly disturbing. After Keanu Reeves’ titular, not-so-retired hitman ties up loose ends from “Chapter 1”, an ambitious mobster yanks him deeper into a black-mirror society of capitalist killers. The contract: assassinate a rival on the underworld’s high council. One predictable double-cross later, our antihero finds himself artfully blasting holes in clubs and continents. This world’s how’s and why’s are fascinating, but the filmmakers’ idea of scaling up the conspiracy involves turning everyday people into either covert mercenaries or bullet-proof bystanders (one of several amusing intersections with The Matrix). By doubling down on his first-person-shooter aesthetic, director Chad Stahelski arrests the preceding story’s beating heart. Chapter 3, we’re teased, may restore John Wick’s vulnerability, but this middle entry is just a video game in search of a movie.

Set your sights on Kicking the Seat Podcast #194, where Ian talks John Wick: Chapter 2 with Keeping it Reel's David Fowlie and Emmanuel Noisette from Eman's Movie Reviews!

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