"Legendary hit man John Wick is forced out of retirement again by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome, where he squares off against some of the world's deadliest killers. "That is the official description for John Wick: Chapter 2, now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate, which has provided NewTechReview with a NFR copy for review.
Before you watch John Wick: Chapter 2, I recommend you watch the first installment John Wick so you can appreciate the second film even more. It's not absolutely necessary, but definitely recommended because John Wick: Chapter 2 starts off where John Wick ended with John having dispatched Viggo and his son (along with his entire operation), but with his car still missing and now in the hands of Viggo's brother, Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare). As you may expect, John is not happy about this and proceeds to reacquire his cherished vehicle in the most violent of fashions.
After this initial sequence sets us up for the remainder of the story, we begin to learn more about John's past and about the criminal society of which he's been a part for many a long year. When John is visited by an old acquaintance, crime boss Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), we learn that he didn't pull off the impossible task (mentioned in the first movie) all by himself... he had help. Because of this, he is now indebted to D'Antonio, who wants him to assassinate one of the other crime bosses. John completes the mission, of course, but is then double-crossed by D'Antonio, after which all hell breaks loose as John goes on the hunt for D'Antonio so that he can finally get back to being free and peacefully retired, or can he?
All of the aforementioned scenes (and more) are shown in full detail in the 4K Ultra HD version. Filmed digitally with a 2160p transfer and 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the visual elements of the movie display excellent colors and shadows, and show many of the subtle details that don't come through on Blu-ray or DVD. Because many of the film locations are authentic, we get to experience action in the streets of New York as well as the wonderful architecture (both above and below ground) in Rome, Italy. In addition, the 4K transfer lets you see (and almost feel) every gunshot and explosion in gloriously destructive color. You'll also get to see the gruesomeness of every one of John's kills... even the one where he uses a pencil (yes, that part of the legend of John Wick is true).
For audio, we're presented with the same, excellent Dolby Atmos track that is also included on the Blu-ray. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, but the true joy is in the action. Right from the start, we're presented with the roaring engine of John's car as it races through the streets of New York. You can almost feel the massive explosion when John's house is destroyed. And best of all are the many gunfight scenes with the Vatican Catacombs and the mirror maze (a nice homage to Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon) being the best. All-in-all a wonderfully immersive experience.
In addition to the film, we're provided with a great collection of bonus content as follows:
* Audio Commentary - Director Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves provide detailed insights into the making of the film.
* Deleted Scenes - three deleted scenes for a total of 8 minutes.
* Training John Wick - talks about how the actors were trained and shows some of the fight choreography.
* Retro Wick: Exploring the Unexpected Success of John Wick - provides cast and crew interviews talking about the success of the first film.
* Wick-vizzed - shows some of the previsualization used to developed the action sequences.
* Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership - talks about the friendship between both men and how they met.
* As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick - talks about what it took to develop the mythology of the criminal underworld of which John is a part.
* Car Fu Ride-Along - showcases some of the cars that were used in the film.
* Chamber Check: Evolution of a Fight Scene - provides even more detail about how the fight scenes were developed.
* Wick's Toolbox - includes a detailed look at some of the weapons in John Wick's arsenal.
* A Museum Tour with Sir Jonathan Wick - is a short, 2-minute comedic skit providing a guided tour through parts of the museum featured in the film.
* Kill Count - is a 3-minute montage recounting every single kill from the movie. A somewhat gruesome display, as it should be.
* Dog Wick Short - is another short, 2-minute comedy portraying the movie trailer from the dog's point of view.
* Theatrical Trailer -
John Wick: Chapter 2 gives us a more detailed look at the myth and legend of John Wick. What began as a story about vengeance is now a mystery about the John Wick character and the criminal underworld in which he resides. Of course, the action is still the central part of this plot, but it's great to see a deeper look. I enjoyed this second installment very much and I'm sure you will too.
For more information, visit:
* Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tXb4kK
* Website: lionsgate.com