BANG! BANG BANG BANG BANG! BANG. BANG BANG BANG!! John Wick shoots so many bad guys in John Wick: Chapter 2! You probably think you know how many bad guys John Wick is going to shoot. You saw the first John Wick! He shot a lot of bad guys in that! BUT LISTEN. I have been placed on this terrible planet to tell you this one thing: You have no idea how many bad guys John Wick is going to shoot in John Wick: Chapter 2. Take the number you think it’s going to be—it doesn’t matter what it is, it could be 100 or it could be 49,697—and then multiply it by ∞.
You are now closer to comprehending how many bad guys John Wick shoots in John Wick: Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 starts with a quick scene of Buster Keaton, and for anyone who loved the first John Wick—which is to say anyone who saw the first John Wick—it’s clear why: This action series shares much of the DNA that defines Keaton’s work, and Jackie Chan movies, and the euphoric, visual storytelling behind everything from Hard Boiled to La La Land. As with the first John Wick, each action sequence in Chapter 2—and there are a lot of them—aims to entertain, surprise, and deliver the sort of thrill that can only come from a hyper-stylized, perfectly orchestrated shoot-out. Or car chase. Or fistfight.
By default, Chapter 2 is neither as elegant nor as surprising as the first John Wick, which found action nirvana in Keanu Reeves’s deadpan wit, a boiled-down premise (MAN AVENGES PUPPY), and the righteous chops of directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. Directing Chapter 2 solo, Stahelski, along with writer Derek Kolstad, delves into the elaborate lore hinted at in the first film.
In other words: Blood oaths. In other words: Idiots trying to kill John Wick. In other words: RIP, idiots.
Even if it doesn’t have the freshness of the original, Chapter 2 offers plenty: It never stops being Looney Tunes funny, but it’s also baroque, dark, and weird, moving at a burning-rubber pace as it veers around: Crazy car chase! Blood-drenched bureaucracy! Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne saying ominous shit! All of it’s held together by Reeves’s Wick, who doesn’t want to be shooting all these bad guys. He doesn’t want to perform terrifying murders with a goddamn pencil. But they won’t leave him alone, even after he warns them, so BANG! BANG BANG BANG! BANG BANG!!!
John Wick: Chapter 2 is very much a sequel to John Wick, and it very much sets up a John Wick: Chapter 3, and they do not make computers powerful enough to calculate how high the body count will be by the time all this ends. What I can calculate, however, is...
*whips calculator from calculator holster*
*punches in random numbers*
*throws calculator into garbage*
... John Wick: Chapter 2 does not disappoint, and it’s a welcome reminder of how fun and exciting a well-crafted action movie can be. If Buster Keaton were alive today and saw John Wick in action... well, he’d probably be disgusted and horrified at how violent movies are now. But once he got over that, he'd probably clap pretty hard.