‘John Wick: Chapter 2’: Entering the Stylish High Table World ☆☆☆

“John Wick: Chapter 2” plunges us into a stylish world of highly organized crime with rules of honor and dire consequences with a governing body called the High Table and a gorgeously realized mix of gothic-inspired buildings, 1950s telephone systems with rotary phones and female telephone operators that oddly connect to a cellphone-driven world.  While “Chapter 1” was a story of a man raging after the loss of all that he loves, “Chapter 2” is about the repercussions in the dark underworld that this character left but has now re-entered.

“Chapter 2” begins four days after the end of “Chapter 1.” Having avenged the death of his dog, Daisy, John now retrieves his stolen 1959 Mustang from a chop shop that belongs to the brother of Viggo and the uncle of Iosef, Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare). In “Chapter 1,” Iosef murdered John’s dog and stole is car. Viggo attempted to save his son by sending out assassins to kill John. John killed Iosef and Viggo along with a lot of their associates.

After taking the Mustang to Aurelio (John Leguizamo), John is reminded that in order to retire and marry his late wife, Helen, he asked Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scarmarcio)  for a favor and gave Santino a blood oath marker. John declines and Santino blows up his home. That sends John back to the sanctuary of The Continental Hotel in New York City, but the owner, Winston, reminds John that the assassin society he belongs to requires that no assassination business takes place on the sanctuary of the Continental(s) and that every marker be honored. These are the two absolute rules.

John accepts his mission and Santino explains that he wants his sister, Gianna (Claudia Gerini), assassinated so that he can take her seat at the High Table, the international organization that governs the assassin and organized crime society. John kills Gianna, but then is himself double-crossed and targeted to assassination by Santino.

To survive, John is helped by The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and must break the Continental sanctuary rule. Winston gives him a one-hour lead before notifying the High Table and having John declared excommunicado with a bounty placed on his life.  So now you have the set up for “Chapter 3.”

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