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I’ll be honest – I’ve never found Keanu Reeves to be much of an actor. Whenever Keanu is on screen, he looks and talks like he’s half asleep. One thing that cannot be argued, however, is his dedication to his craft. He is one of the few Hollywood heavyweights that immerse themselves in their roles. That being said, he has a tendency to pick  projects that alternate between big budget spectacles and smaller, independent films. Not all of them are winners, but he has built up quite the impressive resume over his career. Unfortunately, the last few years have been filled with more misses than hits. Of all his recent movies, the one that stands out above all others is John Wick.

john-wickAt it’s core, John Wick was a simple revenge tale. John is a retired assassin who’s wife has just passed away, and has received a dog as a postmortem gift from her. His grieving period is short lived, however, as a group of low level thugs from the Russian mob break into his home to rob him. His new puppy is killed in the process and, with that, he officially becomes un-retired. Wick wages a one man war on the Russian mob and the result is one of the most intense, stylish action movies of the last decade.

As Hollywood clearly believes in the if-it-ain’t-broke… philosophy, the sequel is pretty much a carbon copy of the first. He is wronged in some way, then proceeds to take down those who did the wronging. There are differences of course. The dog doesn’t die this time (err, spoiler alert?) and the bad guys aren’t Russian. The good news is that what Chapter 2 lacks in originality, it makes up for in elaborate action choreography. There’s one scene in particular, set in a subway station, that elevates this film from a decent to a good rating.

While it really is just more of the same, John Wick 2 delivers exactly what it’s target audience wants – mindless action, a fun ride and very little acting from Mr. Reeves. Don’t expect much to change from the first film. Just sit back & enjoy the ride.

My Rating: B+

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