What a drag it was last night to catch a 10 pm screening of John Wick, Chapter 2 at the Fiesta plex. Me and roughly 25 or 30 wage-earning lowlifes. Baggy pants, hoodies, etc. “What a way to live and think!”, I muttered as I sank into my seat. With all the wonder and excitement of life outside, we few have chosen to watch a shitty Keanu Reeves action flick in a crummy megaplex on a rainy Friday night…welcome to the dungeon!
I was half-okay with the original John Wick but this thing…God. There’s a cool, efficient way to assemble programmers of this sort, but the evidence suggests that director Chad Stahelski, a former stunt man, and screenwriter Derek Kolstad just don’t have the skill or the smarts to improve upon the 2014 start-up. There’s a vapor cloud of stupidity hanging over the film at every turn. The fairly applied adjectives include “dull, poorly written, lazily acted, predictably plotted,” etc.
Reeves brings nothing spry or special to his performance — his line readings make Clint Eastwood‘s Dirty Harry inflections seem almost on the level of Alec Guinness performance in Smiley’s People, and his eyes are dark and dead. Even the minimally talented Jason Statham is better at this sort of thing.
I was able to stand the first hour, but no way was I sitting through the full 122 minutes (especially since I had to watch 12 or 13 minutes of trailers before it began). For what it’s worth I enjoyed the Rome footage, but I despised Riccardo Scamarcio‘s performance as prime antagonist Santino D’Antonio — his accented mangling of the King’s English was (and probably still is) torture. There are at least seven or eight flashback cutaways to Wick and his late wife, played by Bridget Moynahan….we get it! There are few things grimmer than watching interesting actors — Ian McShane, Common, Laurence Fishburne, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick — go through the paycheck motions without a hint of inner excitement.