If John Wick: Chapter Two (Summit, 2.10) isn’t “funny”, what’s the point? I chortled and guffawed all through the original so give me that thing (i.e., a series of oafish funnybone moments punctuated by an occasional yaw-haw) or send me home.
I haven’t seen it, but in the view of Variety‘s Peter Debruge delivering man-chuckles may not be a top priority. He notes that the two John Wick flicks “accomplish what Hong Kong action fare did a quarter-century ago, seducing bloodthirsty (predominately male) audiences into appreciating an exquisitely choreographed modern ballet.” Rather than wallow in blunt carnage for carnage’s sake, John Wick: Chapter Two “achieves something more akin to dance.”
That’s cool but not enough, not for me. The Wick franchise is about dumb-fuck brutality made witty and occasionally hilarious by a smirking awareness of its own ludicrousness or, you know, a franchise absorbed by the mentality of an eight-year-old on Ritalin. Or even (can’t hurt to fantasize) a movie that would at its highest level be a kind of Duck Soup version of Grand Theft Auto.
Hell, why not try for a little Buster Keaton-like comic invention as Keanu Reeves sends way more than 75 guys (according to Debruge) to the pearly gates?
One of the problems, Debruge notes, is that “we’re dealing with Reeves here, and though he’s acrobatic enough to meet the physical demands of the role, the actor has never in his career managed to convey complex emotion: In this case, Reeves’ version of extreme reluctance looks more like mild constipation.”
On 10.22.14, I called the original John Wick “a movie as primitive and primal as an ape, but it does wield a dry sense of humor and a kind of relentlessly dope(y) attitude. It’s an ‘ironic’ flick for hip critics and cretins alike — almost no plot, no characterization to speak of, just the basic wham-bam-slam-thunk-whoof…aaggh!
“Director Chad Stahelski (Keanu’s Matrix stunt guy) knows how to kill really fast, mean and hard. The film is choroegraphed as efficiently as any Gene Kelly-Arthur Freed MGM musical.”