In John Wick Chapter 2, Keanu Reeves' hit man bad-ass is once again determined to retire -- he buries his weapons in the basement and entombs them with cement.
I would recommend Mr. Wick try something more practical -- Tupperware, for instance, something heavy duty but resealable.
That way he wouldn’t need a jackhammer to retrieve them 10 minutes later when the dark forces of the underworld summon him back to the realm of hyper-violent murder and counter-murder.
All in good fun, of course. Chapter Two signals this in the opening moments, projecting a snippet of Buster Keaton slapstick on the side of a building, then commencing with a chase scene/demolition derby that escalates to a point of comic absurdity (Wick gets hit by three cars, pops up undamaged).
Later, Wick drives a pencil into another fellow’s ear canal and into his brain -- it’s one of his, um, signature moves, and I mention it to illustrate that not everyone will find these scenes funny.
Why all the ruckus?
Wick is forced to honor a contract to kill an international gangster. In turn, all of the world’s assassins are offered $7 million to kill Wick. It's a veritable U.N. of contract killers -- Russians, Japanese sumo wrestlers, and a French street musician. (The latter is not a scene to watch if you think movies contain too much violins.)
Some of the killers dislike Wick so much they are willing to kill him for free -- the most ferocious fight has Wick and a knife-wielding opponent (Common) doing battle on a subway.
The original and this sequel succeed in part for the way they give all of this mayhem an inventive context -- everything is framed by the lawyerly, highly codified “just business” ethic of the professional killers, who operate under an ornate and inviolable set of rules.
Central to this is the refuge provided by the fancy hit-man hotels, where assassins gather in the lounge or at the bar under a flag of truce and a veneer of civility while they relax and reload. A sommelier (Peter Serafinowicz in a funny bit) outfits Wick with guns, a tailor fits him with bulletproof Armani.
Fans will love it, but the movie is a bit long-winded. The Buster Keaton reference is in some ways apt, but this movie is two-hours plus, which I think is the running time of all Keaton's movies put together. Plus Harold Lloyd's.
And there’s more coming. Laurence Fishburne turns up in a key role that promises to figure in part three, for which this movie serves as one long set-up.