This is the first in a new series of articles to add into our rotation. After six months of weekly Pulp Appeal articles, it felt like a good time to add in a new, shorter article series, one in which we talk about pulp we’ve recently consumed. And serendipitously, I just finished watching John Wick Chapter 2.
John Wick, deftly played by Keanu Reeves, is a modern day action noir antihero. He’s heavy on the action end of things, but the basic conceit of the story is definitely noir. He’s a retired professional assassin who is pretty much James Bond if Bond was for sale to the highest bidder. This sort of antihero is popular in the modern media, what with video games like the Hitman series, movies that star Jason Statham (seriously, almost everything that guy has starred in from The Transporter to Fate of the Furious), and TV shows like Game of Thrones (Arya Stark and The Faceless Man).
In the first outing, John Wick is brought out of his retirement when an unknowing gangster steals Wick’s car and kills the dog his recently deceased wife gave him. In the second movie, right after Wick attempts to go back into retirement following the resolution of the first film, he’s dragged back into the field again by a sworn oath to a former ally. I’m not going to spoil the plots of either any more than that, but suffice to say these are some excellent examples of modern day action pulp. You should absolutely give them a watch. Be warned that the end of Chapter 2 clearly sets up the third entry, which is scheduled to start shooting sometime later this year.
RIP Michael Nyqvist, starring villain of John Wick and Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and co-star of the original Swedish film versions of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, et al.)
Bonus video link – Honest Trailers satirical trailer for the first film