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'John Wick: Chapter 2' is right on target

'John Wick: Chapter 2' is right on target


John Wick (Keanu Reeves) wants his sports car back, and he’s willing to do what it takes to get it — even if that means banging it up a bit. As a highly skilled assassin, Wick is a pretty dangerous guy. And once he has his mind set on something, there’s no going back — which tends to get him into trouble.

His latest mistake: turning down a job offer from ambitious mobster Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who wants a rival eliminated. Refusing to take “no” for an answer, D’Antonio resorts to a violent way of changing the assassin’s mind.

With his dog in the care of Charon (Lance Reddick) — the concierge at a hotel that caters to criminals — Wick sets about his work. But it won’t be easy. His target is guarded by Cassian (Common), who is quite familiar with Wick’s strategies and is determined to stop him from attaining his goal.

And even if Wick is successful, there’s no guarantee that D’Antonio won’t continue to be a problem. As much as the assassin seeks to retire and pursue a carefree life with his dog, he’s also a valuable asset in the underworld. And as they say, old habits die hard.

“John Wick: Chapter 2” has no great statements to make about the human condition, which is all to the good. This is not an arthouse film, but a showcase for more than two hours of enthralling action, humor and mayhem. And in these challenging times, for that it deserves our gratitude.

Working from a screenplay by Derek Kolstad, director Chad Stahelski achieves action-flick poetry, maintaining a nicely executed pace as the body count escalates. And Reeves is thoroughly persuasive as a killer who takes pride in his expertise. The role he began with 2014’s “John Wick” is tailor-made for his laconic acting style.

The conclusion of the film not so subtly sets up “John Wick: Chapter 3.” Bring it on.

What “John Wick: Chapter 2” • 3½ stars out of four • Run time 2:02 • Rating R • Content Violence, language and nudity

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