Filiming for John Wick 2 is underway and many fans are holding their breath in hopes this sequel will somehow live up to the standard set by the first one. When I say "many fans," I'm really talking about me.
When the announcement was made that Lionsgate was indeed moving forward with a second installment to the surprise 2014 hit, I was more than puzzled; I was worried. The first question I had was why?
Why do a part two of a movie that did so well, a movie that nailed the slick action genre like very few had in many years? The last time I personally remembered seeing such a gritty yet stylized action movie like Wick was 1999's Payback starring Mel Gibson.
Like John Wick, Payback centered on a villain. Gibson's Porter character was not a good guy, he wasn't nice, nor did he have any redeeming qualities. Had it not been for his mission of revenge against the crime organization that betrayed him, Porter would have been nothing more than just a typical killer on his way to a well deserved body bag.
But Gibson's performance turned a stereotypical character into a lovable antihero seeking redemption. Underneath his criminal exterior beat the heart of a good man, one that loved his junkie wife and wanted out of the life he had been living.
Much like Porter, John Wick was a cold blooded killer that cared only for himself. He lived a very dangerous existence and always operated with a cold precision and a calculated agenda. Wick was a very efficient hitman and would have remained that way until he himself was killed.
However, Wick fell in love and found a way out. His wife made him happy and suddenly life was more than just bullets and blood. Wick could have a normal life and his new bride was the key until cancer took her life.
Wick was left with a broken heart and a new dog sent by his dearly departed. A run-in with the son of the man he once worked for brought on an extreme turn of events and before long, Wick was back in the game only this time, he was out for vengeance.
This has become one of my all-time favorite movies, which is saying a lot because I have never considered myself a Keanu Reeves fan. But he fit the role perfectly and the tempo of the movie was just right from start to finish. Wick's legend as the city's most ruthless killer that ever lived preceded him and became perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the film.
Every time his name was mentioned, a visible chill swept over the cast and a sense of dread reserved for death himself, completely took over. Wick gained revenge, he brought down the city's most powerful crime boss and he did all of that to the cheers of the audience watching.
Well, I was cheering anyway. It was a blast to watch and it's a Blu-Ray I have at the ready all the time. Despite what kind of day I'm having or what kind of mood I'm in, watching John Wick just makes me happy.
But do we really need a sequel? Is it really necessary? What more can be said of this character that came full circle, confronted his demons and overcame them all? Shouldn't the story have come to an end with the first film?
Payback did not need a part two and I seriously question why John Wick does. Chad Stahelski is back as director and what's left of the cast that Wick didn't kill the first time around, are back as well. All of that is a positive. But the story must be right. Part one was a simple tale of revenge that featured offbeat characters and a hero that had no business being a hero but it worked in every way.
I hope the same can be said of part two. I'm hoping for the best.