Words by Steve Norton
Warning: The following article contains
multiple spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 2.
John Wick: Chapter 2 continues the story of
retired hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves).
Set a mere two weeks after the events of
the first film, Wick has successfully finished
his manic vengeance and settles in at home
for his new life… for about 10 minutes.
Soon after, he is met by Santino D’Antonio
(Riccardo Scamarcio), a former associate
who reminds him of an old debt that needs
to be repaid.
Despite his protests, Wick is forced back
to work to fulfill his obligation – after all,
there are rules to be followed – and he finds
himself in the middle of a global turf war.
In the most surprising mash-up of the year,
John Wick: Chapter 2 opens with a clip of
Buster Keaton projected on a nearby wall as
the action takes place below. The message
is clear: This is a film that will emphasize
the visuals and physical performances.
Like Keaton, Reeves’s character will show
you through the story with his actions, as
opposed to his words.
By utilizing a unique style of violence that
some have dubbed “gun-fu,” the appeal of
the Wick films seems to lie with its almost
dance-like action sequences, combining the
use of martial arts and firearms.
Whereas the majority of actioners now
make use of the infamous shaky-cam
style of filmmaking (I blame you, Paul
Greengrass), the Wick series follows the
violent acts in ways that develops genuine
intensity. Although extremely violent, it
remains both visceral and stunning visually.
Still, there is far more to the film than
choreography and headshots. Whereas the
first film follows Wick’s grief-filled heart,
Chapter 2 focuses entirely on his soul. As
the film builds to its climax, he seems to
straddle two different worlds. With the
final battle taking place in an art gallery
featuring an exhibit entitled “Reflections
on the Soul,” John Wick has no time to
do so. By literally making his descent into
the underworld that he is caught between
heaven’s gates and hell’s flames.
Through the director’s ingenious choice to
place the final battle in a hall of mirrors,
we see that Wick is actually two men – one
seeking redemption and the other forever
damned. (Admittedly, this reflective setting
is hardly new
to the action
in John Wick: Chapter 2, justice is swift and
vengeful. In an “eye for an eye” world, Wick
is reminded that he is “still Old Testament.”
We see this evidenced in the penultimate
moment of the film where, in a scene
reminiscent of Genesis 4, John literally
kills his blood brother in the Continental’s
dining hall. However, in doing so, he also
breaks one of the key rules of his profession
and thus, destroys the only place of Edenic
shalom that he has enjoyed.
As a result, such an act causes him to be
thrown out into the night. Yet, even so,
the Continental’s benevolent and ever-present manager Winston (Ian McShane)
continues to care for him. In a moment
reminiscent of Cain’s exchange with God
after the murder of Abel, Winston informs
John that the only reason he remains alive
is “because he wills it.” What’s more, to
deepen the comparison with this moment,
Winston even hands John a marker as he
As the film closes, he is cast out into the
night with nowhere to wander. Through
Winston’s act of grace, he takes on a
God-like persona as he watches over Wick,
yet because of his actions, there must be
What does being a Christian mean to you? Following
Jesus with everything I do and am. It’s not a set of rules
to follow but a real relationship with our living, breathing
God of all creation.
Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.
For Fans OF
V for Vendetta
“...the film reveals a man who wishes to take steps into
a world of freedom but remains a lost soul, running
from his past and leaning into an empty future.”