One of the most pleasant surprises in 2014 was John Wick, the critically acclaimed action film that gave Keanu Reeves the comeback role of a lifetime. The movie was praised for its slick set pieces and impressive world building, and coupled with a strong $86 million worldwide gross (on a $20 million budget), a sequel was inevitable. That followup, the aptly titled John Wick: Chapter Two is scheduled for release in February 2017. Reeves will once again play the legendary hitman, and joining him for this round are Ruby Rose, Common, Ian McShane, and Reeves’ Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne. Chad Stahelski is directing this installment solo, after working with David Leitch on the first film.
Marketing for Chapter Two had been quiet, but that recently changed with the release of the first poster, which showed John Wick looking as stylish as ever. The next order of business, as one would expect, would be to unveil a trailer. Lionsgate has now done just that, and you can watch the first John Wick: Chapter Two preview above.
As revealed in the official synopsis that was released back in April, the sequel sees John Wick arrive to the city of Rome where he must fulfill a blood oath he became bound to during his career as a hit man. His mission this time will be helping an ally known as the Bowler King (Fishburne) assume control of a shadowy assassins’ guild by eliminating some of the world’s deadliest killers. The teaser only briefly shows the Bowler King at the very end, but it’s clear that he and John Wick have a long history together, with a joke about Wick’s inability to retire deserving of a chuckle. It’s nice to see that these two characters are on the same side, since it allows Stahelski to play off the actors’ chemistry with one another.
Since this is a teaser, it’s short on plot details, but complex narratives aren’t what the John Wick franchise is about. After the first film wowed viewers with its “gun-fu” action sequences, fans are going to have high expectations for the set pieces in the followup. Stahelski has noted that Chapter 2 has “twice as much action” as the original, which appears to be an accurate claim based on what’s in the trailer. This time around, John will be doing battle in a variety of locations, including underground tunnels, the streets, and a lavish social party. It will be interesting to see if any of the sequences shown can top the Red Circle shootout, but they should all have their merits.
Reeves has said that more John Wick sequels are possible, so this could be just the beginning of a lengthy series for the actor. It’s evident that he enjoys playing Wick, and the films have quickly made a strong impression with moviegoers. If the reaction to Chapter Two is anything like the first one, then this will not be the last time we see the man, the myth, the legend: John Wick.
John Wick: Chapter Two opens in U.S. theaters February 10, 2017.