Just when the Boogeyman thought he was out of the game, his peers find a nasty way to pull him right back in!
There are plenty of shoot’em-up action films that have come out over the years, but few have made a lasting impression on audiences over time. Classic Westerns, intense Thrillers, and Comic Book action flicks are just a few of the genres that fit the profile. A few memorable examples would be: Unforgiven, Boondock Saints, and just about any film by the Marvel franchise. But what about an action film that blends all three? Is it possible to create a Modern Western, Thriller, and Comic-book-like film? The creators of the new John Wick franchise think so.
John Wick is a mysterious badass that’s built an uncanny reputation for himself. In the first film, we know nothing about this character. What we learn comes from everyone else seen in the film. Turns out he’s a wicked, wicked man. John Wick is not the sort of guy you want to mess with, and everyone knows it. He’s a ruthless killer, a methodical man of the shadows, and someone who will never give up or give in. He’s quiet, dark, and will kill everyone who stands in his way. In the first film, John goes on a murderous rampage over a slaughtered puppy and his beloved Ford Mustang that’s stolen. At first, audiences may question why John goes to such extremes over these possessions. It’s not just about those possessions though…it’s what they represent. John gave up a life of crime, murder, and wickedness for love. He deemed himself retired from his old life. Sadly, his lovely wife died before the plot unfolds in the first film. Then some jackasses killed the puppy she left him and stole his Mustang. Fans of the film recall just how well that ended for those involved.
In the second chapter of the John Wick saga, we see Mr. Wick continuing down the murderous path he was on in the first film. He’s still looking for that Mustang, and he won’t give up until he finds it. Turns out it’s in a chop shop that’s heavily guarded. Without hesitation, John Wick goes buck-wild, killing all those who oppose him. Eventually, he finds his Mustang and attempts to drive it home. The mindless guards of the warehouse do all they can to stop him, but find out first-hand how much of a badass John Wick is. He kills everyone! He beats them down with his fists, shoots them in the legs, and crushes them with his smashed-up Mustang. Its one helleva way to start an action film, folks! All this takes place in the first ten minutes! By the time John gets home his car is destroyed. He’s just glad to make it back alive. Just like the saying goes though, there’s no rest for the wicked…
The next day or so, an old pal of John shows up at his door. Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) is intimately connected to John. They come from the same Underworld, and supposedly live by an unknown code. Viewers can look at it as honor among thieves, but it’s more like honor amongst assassins. Santino has a favor to ask of John, and by their code he must oblige or else. John pleads with his friend not to turn in the ‘marker,’ but time is of the essence. Santino needs John to complete an impossible task so that he can gain a seat at the mysterious ‘High Table.’ This unfortunate task involves assassinating Santino’s sister, Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) who happens to be an old friend of John’s.
Think John Wick will accept the impossible task of killing Santino’s sister? If he does, is there any chance he’ll be able to survive killing a member of the High Table? You’ll have to tune in to find out!
Enough about that…let’s check out what’s included in this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release.
The menu design consists of looping animated visuals of John Wick and various Avant-garde-looking imagery. The menu options are listed along the bottom of the screen, and include: Play Movie, Set Up, Scenes, and Special Features. The ‘Set Up’ option allows viewers to choose the Audio and Subtitle tracks for the film. The ‘Audio’ tracks come in: English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Dolby Digital (Optimized for Late Night Listening), Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. The ‘Subtitle’ tracks only come in English and Spanish. The ‘Scenes’ option displays three chapters at a time. Each one is numbered and includes a snapshot from the scene.
Now let’s check out the bonus features included with this release.
– Audio Commentary with Keanu Reeves and Director Chad Stahelski: Narrated by The Boogeyman himself (Keanu Reeves) and the Director (Chad Stahelski), the two provide a compelling and entertaining audio commentary with the film. Keanu is rather peppy in the feature, which makes it even better. Viewers/listeners will learn a lot about what happened behind-the-scenes listening to this commentary. If you’re a fan of the film, I recommend checking out this audio commentary.
– Deleted Scenes (8:05 – HD + HDR): Sometimes scenes get cut for timing or plot-flow reasons. In this feature viewers can see what didn’t make the final cut of the film. The first deleted scene is quite interesting. Viewers get to see Santino interrogate Aurelio (John Leguizamo) on the whereabouts of John Wick. It’s a cool scene, yet it was better to leave it out. Plus, it was neat seeing John Leguizamo appear briefly making him an interesting character in this new franchise. The final deleted scene is very interesting. John Wick is instructed to kiss the ring, and it ends in a way viewers may not expect.
– Retro Wick: Exploring the Unexpected Success of John Wick (4:34 HD): For as short as this clip is, it tells on heck of a story. Viewers get to see why Keanu and pals decided to make the sequel. In short, the success of the first film inspired them to continue the story. They also believe there will be many more to come. Hence why they titled this one, Chapter 2.
– Training John Wick (12:00 HD): With an action film as intense as this one, it goes without saying there had to be a lot training involved. Keanu Reeves is no stranger to action training though, so he embraced it to the fullest. He trained every day for over four months to prepare for the role of John Wick. He’s not getting any younger, so it was quite challenging. Nevertheless, he loved the experience and the training. All of the supporting actors felt the same way. This movie is filled with practical effects, real martial arts, and the actual actors taking on a lot of the action. This makes for one helleva realistic action film.
– WICK – vizzed (5:13 HD): The last clip talked about the training Keanu went through, but this one shows some of the serious training that went on behind-the-scenes. Everyone involved spoke highly of Keanu’s training for the film. He was very committed, and always strived for perfection. They said he was off the charts with his performance from the first take. This is an intense clip that fans will love.
– Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership (9:54 HD): This bromance runs deep, folks. Keanu and Chad have worked together for many years, so they trust one another quite a bit. Their work goes back as far as The Matrix, and they’ve been friends ever since. Needless to say, their friendship and chemistry have contributed to some of the best actions films to date.
– As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick (5:06 HD): This is an important feature. Fans of the franchise may have some questions about John’s dark past, and this feature digs into that world. We know he came from an assassin underworld, but didn’t know much about the code or logistics of the organization. We also learn more about those who decided to break away from the code and become the all-seeing eyes for a mysterious renegade leader. It’s pretty wild when you think about the scale of this stuff.
– Car Fu Ride-Along (4:44 HD): There are a lot of practical stunts in this film. Keanu’s Mustang is a character in itself, so he had to utilize it as one. A lot of training went into his stunt driving, and this clip shows some really cool behind-the-scenes footage of that work. Fans of the film will want to check out this feature.
– Chamber Check: Evolution of a Fight Scene (10:08 HD): The folks from 87eleven wanted to make this film bigger and better than the first. To accomplish this, they focused a great deal on the choreography and the angles in which these fight scenes should be shot. This can be a good or bad thing, when it comes to instructing the Director on how they should shoot a scene. Nevertheless, the Director embraced their educated advice, and incorporated all they suggested into the final product. This film is a collaboration with all involved, making it a very authentic. I think their dedication and hard work really paid off.
– Wick’s Toolbox (8:14 HD): John Wick is capable of using just about anything as a weapon. He can use something as simple as a pencil to get the job done! In this film he’s up against some serious firepower though, so he had to bring some of his own. This feature takes a look at the weapons John chooses before his impossible mission. It’s not all guns and knives as one might expect. His wicked jujitsu moves and his Ford Mustang are just as deadly.
– A Museum Tour with Sir Jonathan Wick (2:11 HD): Some of the scenes take place in the National Modern Art Gallery of Rome. In this brief clip, viewers take a special tour of the facility and see some of the beautiful works of art there. There are a few action clips mixed in as well.
– Kill Count (3:09 HD): After a ways into the film, viewers may wonder how many bodies John Wick has left in his wake. Mr. Wick is like a raging bull crashing through a China shop, and it can be nearly impossible to keep up with the damage he leaves behind. This feature takes a closer look at the total number of kills he’s credited with. We know it’s a lot, but damn! Wait till you see how many people John takes out single-handedly.
– Dog Wick Short (1:37 HD): This short is a little ridiculous, but funny. Fans of the film will get a kick out of this feature.
Wow, that’s a decent amount of bonus content! Now let’s take a look at the technical side of this 4K UltraHD Blu-ray release.
The 2160p 4K UltraHD image with High Dynamic Range (HDR) is guaranteed to impress viewers and fans alike. This film has a darker color palette, but the image is crystal clear in every shot. The dimly lit and night scenes reveal a stunning amount of detail as well. A great example is the opening scene with John Wick chasing some bad guys through Times Square. We see a bright pink Victoria Secret store in the background that’s surrounded by blacktop and concrete. Viewers will see a strong distinction within the various pink shades of the VS advertisements in the background, while seeing the textured blacktop simultaneously. John’s black Chevy Chevelle shines brilliantly as well. The black muscle car practically gleams, even as its smashes the various bad guys on motorcycles. It’s quite stunning. This scene sets the tone for the image quality of the film. The lighting in the dark scenes is impeccable and beautiful. Wide-shots reveal how amazing the set and lighting designers were in this production. The rave in the Catacombs of Rome is a great example of this. There’s a lot of contrast to be seen in that scene with the rich and old-timey environment. The bright stage and its lighting provide a surreal image to behold. This is a very stylistic film that has a sort of graphic novel presence to it. This was also apparent in the first film. If John Wick isn’t a graphic novel already, it should be. Practically every shot in this film is stunning. Bravo!
The Dolby Atmos track is equally amazing in this transfer. Viewers will be pulled into the action with the dynamic and encompassing audio track. The effects and soundtrack provide plenty of ambiance that’ll keep viewers engaged from start to finish. The dialog is always crisp and clear, and never overpowered by the background audio. There’s plenty of gunplay in this film, so get ready for a loud ‘shoot’em-up’ experience. The opening scene is quite intense as well with the raging engine sounds of John’s Chevelle and Mustang. Viewers and fans will be very impressed with this transfer.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 is awesome! Keanu Reeves is a complete badass in this role, and the supporting cast is top notch. John Wick could easily be an ongoing franchise for numerous sequels. Reeves does a great job convincing the audience how incredible and talented he really is. He’s ruthless, cunning, and someone I wouldn’t want to piss off. I can’t wait to see where he ends up in Chapter 3!
If you are looking for a great, old-fashioned ‘shoot’em-up kind of film; look no further. John Wick is your guy. He’ll pull off stunts and maneuvers you’d never expect. And yes…he does take on a couple of opponents with a pencil! Seeing the action unfold in glorious 4K UltraHD with HDR provides impeccable clarity from start to finish. This is a must for any action fan with a 4K Blu-ray collection.