Halfway through John Wick, our hero confirms a long standing rumor. As he sits in a chair, tied up and beaten, he tells the bad guys that he is indeed back. He’s also coming back to theaters in the future to kick ass, as Lionsgate announced today that John Wick 2 will happen and it will happen soon.
In a land where action films are rarely taken seriously, John Wick came along in October last year and blazed a new trail right through the land of critics. It was adored and taken seriously at the same time while getting a little notice from the movie crowd itself. Keanu Reeves made a successful comeback and the director, Chad Stahelski and writer, Derek Kolstad, delivered something unique. A smart action movie that satisfied the old school action fanatics and the regular movie goers. Made for a modest 20 million, the film grossed 42 million and has become a cult hit on DVD and Blu Ray. It can also be appreciated on multiple viewings and for an action film to stick in one’s mind and enjoy a long shelf life, the repeat button can’t get worn down enough.
The film was huge for a number of reasons. Reeves needed it badly, as he was flailing around making poorly received Japanese action flicks and being used poorly in romantic comedies and dramas. His bread and butter was always in the mainstream action arena, such as The Matrix, Speed and Point Break. Returning to Wick and using those silent gunman abilities wasn’t just fitting but rather awesome. It helped that his stunt men for the Matrix, Stahelski, was at the helm and moving him through this story. It was more a labor of love than an easily rendered film.
The film was also special because it showed stunt performers can transcend into filmmaking and use their experience as a tool in creating a world. Wick’s world had little flavors of many classic action films and also introduced a few new ones(the dead body collectors, the Hitman hotel, etc.). Stalhekski’s work here promises that other stunt coordinators like Dan Bradley and TV stunt guru Marcus Young can get a shot behind the camera one day. John Wick is paving the way.
The movie also included a storied group of actors, pulling in Adrianne Palicki, Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, David Patrick Kelly and the gifted Michael Nyqvist. When you give actors a certain range to play with and cool surroundings to work their gifts around in, magic can happen.
It also helped that Wick had a lightning bolt pace and 101 minutes never felt so great and quick. It went down like a well cooked double cheeseburger and fresh cut fries at your local diner. Just juicy enough to know you’ll want it again soon.
John Wick 2 will see the return of Reeves and director Stalhelski to the action and most likely McShane, Reddick and possibly Kelly along with a new batch of bad guys to take aim and fire at Wick.
He’s back and so is the celebration of wildly enjoyable action flicks. John Wick made that dragon breathe again!