Rated R. Running time: 2 hours 2 min.
Our content ratings: Violence 8; Language 6; Sex/Nudity 3.
Our star rating (1-5): 2
They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is one of those persons we are supposed to root for, much like James Bond, except John is not “licensed to kill.” But that doesn’t matter, nor does it stay his shooting hand, almost every one of his shots taking out one of the gun toting thugs attacking him. It is criminal that both his Russian enemies and Italian master criminal Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) apparently have neglected to train their henchmen to shoot straight, apparently thinking that arming them with big rapid-firing guns would make up for their poor marksmanship. They never hit their intended target—they just knock chunks out of walls and pillars. It’s an example of Quality vs. Quantity. Wick, even while running, or even diving through the air, almost always hits his man. In addition to killing by gun, the former hit man, forced out of retirement by a debt he owes to D’Antonio, dispatches his opponents with his bare hands in numerous fights.
This is a film targeted at teenaged and young adult video game players who think violence is cool. (as do many of the reviewers I checked out). Wick is dispatched to Rome by D’Antonio to kill the sister who rules the underworld there so that he can assume her place. The best part of the film is the above and below ground scenery beautifully photographed. The underground setting is in an ancient catacomb where revelers eat, dance, and fornicate—and where there are lots of tunnels and pools that make the choreographed violence so enjoyable for those addicted to this kind of cinematic rubbish.
From a moral perspective, the only difference between Wick and the bad guys is that he owns a dog, one that has replaced the one that criminals killed in the first film, launching him on a vindictive rampage that reduced so greatly the number of Russian goons. The dog, as well as Wick, survives the carnage this time. I suppose there will be a sequel to this, and if invited to a free screening, I might attend—providing the scenery is as alluring. I just hope this is a trilogy, and not a series!
Don’t look for any questions for this time-killing flick.