John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 American neo-noir action thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad. The second installment in the John Wick film series, the plot follows hitman John Wick, who goes on the run after a bounty is placed on his head. It stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo and Ian McShane, and marks the first collaboration between Reeves and Fishburne since appearing together in The Matrix trilogy.
Principal photography began on October 26, 2015, in New York City. The film premiered in Los Angeles on January 30, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on February 10, 2017. It received positive reviews from critics and grossed $171.5 million worldwide, over four times its $40 million budget and nearly twice the $88 million gross of the original film. A sequel, titled John Wick: Chapter 3, is set to be released on May 17, 2019.
Four days after enduring previous causalities, former assassin John Wick finds his stolen 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 at a chop shop owned by Abram Tarasov, brother of Viggo and uncle of Iosef. John dispatches Tarasov's men in a violent rampage that heavily damages the Mustang. He then spares Tarasov under the auspices of peace, and returns home.
After Aurelio takes John's Mustang for repairs, John is visited by Italian crime lord Santino D'Antonio. It is revealed that to complete his "impossible task"—which allowed him to retire and marry Helen—John asked Santino for help. As a form of contract, Santino swore John to a "Marker," an unbreakable promise symbolized by a "blood oath" medallion. Santino presents the medallion to demand services from John, but John declines, claiming that he is retired. In retaliation, Santino destroys John's house with a grenade launcher.
Winston, the owner of the Continental hotel in New York City, reminds John that if he rejects the Marker, he will be violating one of the two unbreakable rules of the underworld: no killing on Continental grounds and Markers must be honored. John accepts his commitment and meets with Santino, who tasks him with assassinating his sister Gianna, so he can claim her seat on the "High Table," a council of high-level crime lords. Santino sends Ares, his mute personal bodyguard, to look over John.
In Rome, John infiltrates Gianna's coronation party and confronts her. Faced with certain death, Gianna commits suicide by slitting her wrists. After she dies, John shoots her to make sure that she is dead, therefore fulfilling his commitment to Santino. John is then ambushed by Santino's henchmen, who intend to "tie up loose ends" by killing him. After killing most of the henchmen, John is pursued by Gianna's bodyguard, Cassian. Their battle is halted when they crash into the reception area of the Rome Continental, which—like the New York Continental—prohibits any "business" on its grounds. As the two share a tense drink, Cassian vows revenge for Gianna's death.
After John returns to New York City, Santino opens a $7 million contract for John's death under the guise of avenging his sister, leading numerous assassins to attack John. Cassian confronts John once again in the subway. John wins the battle, but inadvertently leaves Cassian alive out of professional respect. Injured and desperate, John seeks help from the underground crime lord, The Bowery King, whose subordinates treat his injuries and guide him to Santino's location. John kills Santino's bodyguards and mortally wounds Ares in a knife fight, but Santino is able to escape to the Continental. Santino smugly makes it clear that he intends to remain indefinitely in its sanctuary. Despite Winston's warnings, John shoots and kills Santino in the Continental lounge.
The next day, Winston sends for John and explains that, per the High Table, the contract on John has been doubled and offered globally. In consequence of killing Santino on Continental grounds, Winston declares John "excommunicado" from the Continental, losing all access and privileges to all underworld resources. However, Winston delays announcing John's excommunication and global bounty by one hour to give him a head start, and provides him with a Marker for future use. Before leaving, John says to Winston, that whoever tries to come after him, will be killed. As John and his dog run through the park, dozens of cellphones around him ring, signaling that the global contract has been activated.
In February 2015, directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch stated that a John Wick sequel had begun development. The same month Jon Feltheimer, CEO of Lionsgate, stated during a conference call that "We see John Wick as a multiple-title action franchise". Additionally, it was reported that Kolstad would return to write the screenplay. In May 2015, it was confirmed that a sequel was greenlit, and Lionsgate would be selling the film at the Cannes Film Festival. Reeves and Stahelski appeared in a 30-minute Aol.build interview in early February 2017 to discuss the development and casting of the film.
It was announced that Keanu Reeves, Leitch, and Stahelski would return, with filming set to begin in late 2015. In October 2015, Common joined the film to play the head of security for a female crime lord, and Ian McShane was confirmed to return as Winston, the owner of the Continental Hotel. In November 2015, Bridget Moynahan, John Leguizamo, Thomas Sadoski, and Lance Reddick were confirmed to return, while Ruby Rose, Riccardo Scamarcio, and Peter Stormare were added to the cast. In December 2015, it was announced that Laurence Fishburne would appear in a supporting role.
Principal photography on the film began on October 26, 2015, in New York City, New York, US. At the end of first week, filming had taken place in Manhattan, a New York City borough. Filming moved to Rome, Italy next, and later resumed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on October 28, 2015.
Along with the return of Ciscandra Nostalghia, the soundtrack has also featured Alice in Chains' guitarist and co-lead vocalist Jerry Cantrell in the song "A Job To Do", whose lyrics were written by Cantrell from the perspective of Keanu Reeves' character.
In the United Kingdom, the film was granted a 15 certificate by the British Board of Film Classification, after 23 seconds of a bloody injury within a suicide scene were removed to avoid an 18 rating. The film opened in UK cinemas on February 17, 2017, and was distributed by Warner Bros., with co-production from Lionsgate studio Summit Entertainment.
Australia was one of the last major countries to receive the film, with a release on May 18.
John Wick: Chapter 2 grossed $92 million in the United States and Canada and $79.5 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $171.5 million. The film grossed $90.5 million worldwide in its first nine days of release, surpassing the entire theatrical gross of the first film ($88.8 million).
In the United States and Canada, the film opened alongside two other sequels, The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker, and was projected to gross around $20 million in its opening weekend. It earned $2.2 million from Thursday night previews at 2,400 theaters, an improvement over the $870,000 made by its predecessor. It made $11 million on its first day, nearly totaling the $14.4 million the first film made in its entire opening weekend. It went on to open to $30.4 million, more than double the opening weekend of the original film and finishing third at the box office behind The Lego Batman Movie ($53 million) and Fifty Shades Darker ($46.6 million). In its second weekend the film grossed $16.2 million (a drop of 46.7%), finishing 4th at the box office and making more in its second weekend than the original film made in its first.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89% based on 226 reviews, and an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should—which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 85% overall positive score and a 72% "definite recommend".
Scott Tobias of Uproxx said the film improved upon the original, writing: "For better or worse—though mostly for better—it's a full-scale assault on the senses, constantly pushing itself to greater feats of excess. At this rate, a third John Wick might trigger the apocalypse." Mike Rougeau of IGN gave the film an 8.5/10, stating that it "takes joy in expanding on the original's lore", and praised the film as a vast improvement of its predecessor, in terms of action set pieces, fight choreography, cinematography, and writing. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "the real deal" and "pure cinema".
Writing for Time magazine in February Stephanie Zacharek stated: "The pleasures of John Wick: Chapter 2 may be even greater than those of its predecessor—itself a symphonic achievement in scrappy, balls-out, action filmmaking—because in this one, there's no puppy murder to endure...it's lovers of humankind who are put to the test. John Wick: Chapter 2 asks the classic pulp question—Are human beings worth saving?—and delivers, with the right proportions of joy and sorrow, the classic pulp answer: Sometimes, no."
Both Richard Brody writing for The New Yorker and Stephen M. Colbert writing for screenrant.com saw secret societies as a significant motif in the film. In his article "The World of John Wick Explained", Colbert stated: "John Wick introduced audiences to a dark, polished, and sharply dressed, underground criminal society full of assassins who (mostly) abide by an unspoken code of conduct and two explicit rules. While the first movie told a more intimate story that only hinted at the larger world of this secret society, John Wick: Chapter Two takes the titular character through several of the corners of this complex underworld, revealing even more about the world of John Wick. While very few of these customs are explicitly explained, there are still enough hints about the inner functionings of the various entities presented, giving us enough puzzle pieces to put together a loose sketch of this mysterious world of assassins."
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club complained that it "lacks the first film's domino-effect momentum", though overall he reacted positively. In part, he praised the action scenes as "entertainingly surreal".
In October 2016, Stahelski stated that a third film, titled John Wick: Chapter 3, is in the works and in June 2017 it was reported that Kolstad will return to write the screenplay. In September 2017, Lionsgate set the sequel's release date for May 17, 2019. In January 2018, it was reported that Stahelski will return to direct with Hiroyuki Sanada in talks to join the cast. In February 2018, it was reported that in addition to Reeves, McShane, Rose, Common, Fishburne and Reddick would each reprise their roles from the film, with filming set to commence April 26, 2018, in New York City and Montreal.