Yeah, I’m thinking he’s back. Everyone’s favorite assassin seeking vengeance on those who do him wrong returns in John Wick: Chapter 2, easily the best action film to grace the screen to this point in 2017. There’s a reason the sequel nearly doubled the box office gross of its predecessor, word of mouth among action fans elevated John Wick to upper echelon of action cinema and the audience for the exploits of John Wick expanded on its home video release. Now it’s time for action fans to rejoice once again as John Wick: Chapter 2 lands on Blu-ray in an expansive edition overflowing with special features that will please any fans of what is quickly become the best action franchise going today.
The principle players from the first film are back for the sequel. Director Chad Stahelski is behind the camera. The script was penned by Derek Kolstad. Most importantly, Keanu Reeves returns as the eponymous assassin who just can’t leave the life and murder behind. Also returning is the staff of the Continental, the hotel where that serves as the center of this underworld of assassins, with consierge Charon (Lance Reddick) and manager Winston (Ian McShane). Of course, there is a whole new set of characters with varying degrees of relationships with John Wick, including the nefarious Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), his silent henchwoman Ares (Ruby Rose), a friend turned foe in Cassian (Common), and a Matrix reunion with the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne).
You don’t have to look far to find my enthusiastic praise of the movie, which stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the original and is one of the finest action sequels ever crafted. The film at once builds upon the mythology without ever giving away too much, and the action is bigger and badder without ever growing tiresome. What I’d rather talk about is the expansive set of special features on the Blu-ray for John Wick: Chapter 2, which left me floored as I explored each and every corner of this sprawling special edition.
The prevalence of streaming media has caused a sizable dent in the home video market, and the special features on Blu-rays and DVDs have mostly vanished. Most releases, you’re lucky if there’s simply an audio commentary and maybe a little making-of featurette. Maybe, just maybe, if the film is really popular a second edition with more special features will hit the market a few months later in hopes that the film’s die-hard fans will do a double dip. That’s not the case with John Wick: Chapter 2. This is an impressive edition for an initial release, one that tackles every corner of the wildly impressive action sequel.
Of course, the Blu-ray features audio commentary by Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski, the two continuing their long working relationship which dates back to The Matrix. There’s even a featurette that dives into this long-standing working relationship. It’s not every day that an actor’s stunt double becomes his director. Adding to the depth of the behind-the-scenes look at John Wick: Chapter 2 is a look at the extraordinary training regimen that Keanu Reeves subjected himself to, which also leads to a level of verisimilitude that makes John Wick such an iconic action character. The special features on the Blu-ray go even further, taking a look at Stahelski’s own stunt company, 87eleven, and the extensive training and preparation that went into creating the intense visceral action that make John Wick and its sequel such catnip for action fans.
There are two special features that really stand out in this edition. First is a special feature that goes through the movie at an accelerated pace incorporating behind the scenes footage and scenes from the movie to tally John Wick’s kill total throughout the sequel. Simply put, John Wick kills a lot of motherfuckers, but he probably kills more than you might’ve initially thought. Second is a short called Dog Wick, which turns the tables on the original John Wick but with a dog as the assassin seeking vengeance when his master is murdered. Both of these little features show that the people behind John Wick: Chapter 2 don’t take everything with a deadly seriousness and are willing to poke fun at what people love about these movies.
The rest of the special features includes an examination of the popularity of the original John Wick and how it led to the sequel. There are also extensive featurettes that look at the mythology that has been created in the world of John Wick, as well as extensive looks into the way that the action of the film is meticulously crafted, be it the gun fighting or the “car fu” that sees Wick using his muscle car as a weapon in itself. Fans of John Wick: Chapter 2 have a number of features that they could lose themselves in on top of just having one of the most kick-ass action movies ever made.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is one of the greatest action sequels ever made and the Blu-ray is a must-own for any self-respecting action fan. Just like the first film, Chapter 2 is entirely re-watchable, a non-stop thrill ride with character and humor to accentuate the numerous amazing set pieces. Aside from re-watching John Wick: Chapter 2 another 50 times, all that’s left to do is sharpen your pencils and count the days until John Wick: Chapter 3 arrives.