John Wick: Chapter 2
A whole lot of people get shot in the face during this worthy sequel to the 2015 breakout hit. Keanu Reeves—totally bummed-out Keanu Reeves—returns as the lone assassin, originally brought out of retirement after somebody killed his dog and stole his car. Many deaths later, Wick is back in his stylish home, with a new no-named dog, intent upon burying his guns and taking a long break. No such luck. A man from the past shows up with a marker, giving him a killing assignment that will take him to Italy and have him facing off with the likes of Common. (It turns out Common is built like The Terminator and makes for a good villain. Oh, wait … he’s sort of the good guy. Wick is actually a villain.) Balletic violence begins and never ends. This time out, Wick is wearing some sort of bullet proof lining under his suit. He was unstoppable before, but now he can take a bullet! Reeves is the perfect guy for this role, physically believable as an aging, unstoppable assassin, and pretty great with the stoic line deliveries. He’s in one mode for this movie, and that mode is badass. You really only need one movie like this every couple of years, and trying to copy the grandeur of the Wick films with other characters or stories seems pointless. Reeves has himself a brand new franchise, and this one is very ripe for the next story. It also has another Reeves franchise guy, Laurence Fishburne a.k.a. Morpheus, from The Matrix. Thankfully, this sequel is much better than The Matrix sequels.
1 Rings A quick scan of this horror sequel’s cast reveals Vincent D’Onofrio has a role in it. That’s good, right? It also has Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory in it. Not too shabby if you like unfunny, overrated TV shows, right? So, OK, before the movie even starts, there’s enough to think the film has a fighting chance of being reasonably good. Then, the movie starts, and that fighting chance is defeated—quicker than Ronda Rousey in her last two bouts. Rings is a slog from the get-go, a poorly conceived follow-up to what was a decent American remake of a great J-Horror film, Ringu. (For the purpose of this review, we won’t discuss the American The Ring Two. Let’s just skip that one, shall we?) Nothing in this movie is worth your time. The film was shot around three years ago and experienced various delays. This year looks to be the recipient of another long-delayed horror sequel, Amityville: The Awakening, which has been bouncing around for three years, as well. Oh, lucky day!