A sequel to John Wick is slated to begin production for Lionsgate this fall — which means any day now. This is terrific news.
John Wick was the sleeper hit — if an action movie can be considered a sleeper — of 2014, with Keanu Reeves in the title role of a hitman forced out of retirement to wreak destruction on an epic scale. Reeves will be back for John Wick 2, along with co-directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, and writer Derek Kolstad. It instantly became a cult favorite.
As for capturing lightning in a bottle again, Stahelski said:
“We have ideas for days and without blinking twice we know we can outdo the action from the original. It’s the matter of story and how much you like the character. That’s always the most important. If there’s great action but you have a character that no one likes and doesn’t have charisma you’re not going to watch it. Look at any great action star, whether it’s Harrison Ford or Liam Neeson or Robert Downey Jr., pick a name, you love the guy first. Good action, bad action, you just love them in action. So we want to make sure we have a story and a character that everybody loves and then we’ll dress it with action that we promise will be awesome.”
The original is pure action eye candy, with balletic firefights staged in locations from crowded Manhattan nightclubs to a church to a quiet Brooklyn neighborhoods as the titular assassination seeks revenge for… no, I won’t spoil it; the event that triggers John Wick’s rampage is too quirky and original to ruin. I can only imagine what the McGuffin for the sequel will be.
Check out this 30-second action clip and tell me you don’t want to see more!
Have you ever seen so many head shots in 28 seconds? Did you notice how smoothly the action flowed?
And John Wick is virtually alone in being depicted reloading every now again. Usually stopping to reload in these movies is treated as a plot contrivance that gets the hero captured. It’s like the car that conveniently won’t start or the cell phone that conveniently can’t find a signal in a horror movie.
While the movie is brightly colored and terrifically photographed, the real magic is in the editing, which keeps things moving at a breakneck pace without sacrificing story coherence. When John Wick is fighting mano a mano with a thug, you can actually follow the action and see faces — not just a blur of bodies in black suits and pumping fists. Kudos to Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, a female film editor from Iceland, who was billed as Elisabet Ronalds.
Jason Constantine, president of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Lionsgate said:
“With such tremendous fan and critical support for ‘John Wick,’ we knew that there was still so much more of this story to tell. We are thrilled that Keanu, David and Chad have re-teamed with us and promise to bring audiences even more excitement the second time around.”
Super Trivia: Cinematographer Jonathan Sela also directed Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball” video.