A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, like the original John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2 is an action-packed, very violent thriller about an assassin played by Keanu Reeves. Name a brutal act -- stabbing, point-blank shooting, bloody suicide via wrist-slashing -- and you'll likely find it here; the movie is nonstop gory mayhem. There's also some nudity (a full-frontal female shot, but it's filmed from afar, so it's hard to see details) and plenty of swearing (including "s--t," "f--k," and more), as well as some social drinking. And there are moments of wit and levity to provide much-needed breathers in what's otherwise a sea of brutality.
What's the story?
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) left the life of an assassin to get married and settle down. But his decision comes back to haunt him in JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, when Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), the man to whom Wick owes his exit -- and who reminds him of a blood oath Wick gave as "payment" -- comes back to collect. It's an offer he can't refuse, but the assignment is horrific: Wick must kill Santino's sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), who now owns a seat at the High Table, a collection of the world's top criminal operators, which she inherited from her and Santino's father. Her death ignites a chain of events that will leave Wick the target of everyone's wrath, especially Santino, who's as cold-blooded as a man like him gets. (Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane co-star.)
Is it any good?
If there's a plot in this fun-but-too-gory follow-up to John Wick, it's not there to serve the narrative. Instead, it exists as a bar on which to hang all the bloodshed that the film unfurls in its ferocious, vicious glory -- which appears to be the point of this entire enterprise. Not more than five minutes (okay, maybe 10 in one spot) pass in between fights, confrontations, and face-offs.
Perhaps because they're a welcome break from the nonstop violence, the witty, sometimes weirdly funny moments that thread through the film (and the series -- the first John Wick was similar) are all the more appealing. For instance, there's a sequence in which a "sommelier" describes guns as if they were Chardonnays and Chiantis. And Reeves' brand of tight-lipped spy soldier is perfect for the franchise: He's brawny and conflicted, tough and empathetic, and very well-versed in the ways of weaponry.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is John Wick a hero or a villain? How can you tell? Is it OK to sympathize with characters who do bad things?
What motivates John Wick? Do you understand where he's coming from? Does he have any acceptable excuses for violence?
- In theaters: February 10, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: June 13, 2017
- Cast: Keanu Reeves, Thomas Sadoski, Ruby Rose
- Director: Chad Stahelski
- Studio: Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.