I always wanted Keanu Reeves to be cast as Max Payne in a motion picture. Sure, the computer game has a lot of Matrix parallels what with the bullet time and the shoot dodges but, come on, that dude would make a mean codeine-addicted, beretta-wielding NYPD detective looking to avenge his murdered wife and child.
Instead, in 2008, Hollywood laughed at the gaming community and shredded the Max Payne source material with Mark Wahlberg as the lead neo-noir copper on the warpath. How does this relate to John Wick: Chapter 2? Well, it's like the universe has made amends for ruining one game-to-movie adaptation by ushering in an original-ish movie series that brings all the gratuitous gunplay and Keanu that the nerds craved almost a decade ago.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is awesome. Let's just get that out of the way. Like its predecessor, you're in for relentless action for most of it. Johnny boy enjoys the perks of retirement and yet again is manipulated into capping folks with an assortment of lethal weaponry (keep your eyes peeled for Peter Serafinowicz; he's like a Q from an alternate James Bond reality).
Yeah, there are some slow moments but I felt that it didn't affect the pace of the flick in a bad way. We need a little bit of a breather between the exciting and often long-winded choreographed brawls and over-the-top shootouts.
The opening scene is a car chase that felt a little out of place but then you realise that there's a reason why our good friend John is so keen on retrieving his vehicle of choice from a dangerous gang of thugs.
The first film was all about what happens when you carelessly provoke the Boogeyman, whereas this sequel raises the stakes and introduces new lore in the process.
That's what you want from a popcorn action sequel: more of the same, but better.
Fortunately, we learn enough to be intrigued rather than outright spoil the mysterious inner workings of this strange, shadowy assassin club that we glimpsed in the original. We see some familiar faces and get a feel for how extensive this brutal organisation is.
If you loved the first film then you should be keen for John Wick: Chapter 2.