Slightly more than two years ago, “John Wick: Chapter 2” hit theaters, proving the success and excitement of the first installment wasn’t a fluke. While gun-toting action flicks are certainly nothing new for the American audience—or for Keanu Reeves in the title role—these films somehow delivered the same time-honored blast-’em-up action we’ve grown accustomed to in entirely new and different ways.
Gone were the slow motion cartwheels and elegant CGI dancing of the Matrix. In these films, Reeves engages his opponents in novel and visually brutal ways, combining gun work and martial arts into a fluid and dynamic approach to cinematic homicide.
I reviewed “John Wick: Chapter 2” when it released and made a lofty declaration—John Wick is what American film has been hoping to find for decades: America’s James Bond. Wick succeeded in accomplishing what ftrain like Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan failed to do. This isn’t because of any parallels between Wick and Bond, but more about the way these films unapologetically dismiss the fundamental elements of other movies you’d expect within the genre. Wick has no interest in being James Bond. Wick just wants to get the job done.
To quote myself at the time, “If England is a well-dressed boarding school graduate with a compact Walther PPK and a martini, America is a bearded man in a black suit, carrying a modified Glock 34, drinking bourbon, and walking his pit bull. And I’m pretty damn okay with that.”