JOHN WICK CHAPTER 2: 4K Makes The Baba Yaga Slay Harder

John Wick Chapter 2 is now available on home video from Summit Entertainment

In my theatrical review of John Wick Chapter 2, I highlighted the flourishes, the fun, and the craft that make it one of the best theatrical experiences 2017 has had to offer. This remains true over half way through the year, and now the film has dropped on home video. Only the second film I’ve had the privilege to view on 4K UHD thus far, its visuals certainly outshine those found in Dredd (which were themselves pretty nifty), and the home video experience does indeed enrich and expand upon an already great piece of action filmmaking. This disc is packed to the gills and offers up a definitive home edition upon its very first release.

Since I’ve already reviewed the film, I’ll highlight a lot of the technical elements and bonus features here. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen (who worked on the similarly visually luxurious Crimson Peak) takes his job very seriously and, along with production designer Kevin Kavanaugh (The Dark Knight Rises), crafts a visually dynamic and eye-popping film from top to bottom. Loaded with neon, rich purples, pinks, and blacks, John Wick’s world is one designed perfectly to experience in 4K detail. From aerial shots of cities at night to steady shots capturing breathtaking action in beautiful locales such as Rome, mass cinematic murder has never looked so slick. Finely tailored suits, ancient catacombs, and even a funhouse of mirrors in the finale beg viewers to soak in every detail of the visuals, and that’s just not always the case when it comes to action cinema.

John Wick 2’s cast is stacked with legendary actors and up and coming talent, and it’s no mistake that some of these folks have gone so far in part because we just like looking at them on the big screen. Character actor Ian McShane (owner of the Continental Hotel in New York City) for instance, has an iconically craggy visage that is greatly enhanced by the sharpness of the 4K presentation. Keanu Reeves is often emerging from deep, dark blacks as this cinematic universe’s boogeyman, and it couldn’t look better than it does here. Even Tyler Bates’ soundtrack thumps itself to the forefront and emerges as a standout soundscape against which some of the greatest action set pieces of the modern era play out.

So I’ve made it clear that the crystal clarity and rich colors of the 4K experience truly make this disc a selling point for the niche format, and this film alone makes me grateful to have made the leap to 4K Blu-ray. But what about the bonus content?

Stacked. Absolutely brimming with featurettes and a commentary track, this release isn’t just stuffed to the gills, it’s also a whole lot of fun. There’s a part of me that has moved past bonus features and really just wants to experience the film. But director Chad Stahelski’s commentary track for John Wick 2 (he’s joined by Mr. Reeves as well) reveals a man steeped in the language of film. The John Wick films are not flukes. Referencing great directors and classic cinematic moments, Stahelski is drawing on years of experience as Reeves’ own stunt double, but also providing encyclopedic knowledge of film history enough to really make one realize that a third John Wick film from his visionary perspective could offer a new standard for modern action trilogies. Stahelski is Keanu’s latest muse, and John Wick Chapter 2 is star and director packaged together, firing on all cylinders to create something special. The extensive bonus content on this disc offers just a glimpse into the dynamics which make this film great.

Stunt and fight choreographer J.J. Perry is featured heavily across many bonus features, highlighting the amazing team at Eighty Seven Eleven, the outfit responsible for such a rich and dynamic action design for this film. The John Wick films would not be what they are without the old school action combined with the possibilities of modern technology that Eighty Seven Eleven brings, with pre-viz sequences that are thrilling to watch in and of themselves (and you can do just that with this home video release).

Also including a “kill count” video as well as the hilarious “Dog Wick” short film, the bonus features on this John Wick Chapter 2 release go out of their way to ensure that you have fun and laugh along with the film as much as you are educated. The film thrives on its knowing sense of humor, and the disc does as well.

Thorough, engaging, and absolutely breathtaking to look at, owning John Wick Chapter 2 on 4K UHD is a treat. It’s bound to be spectacular on Blu-ray as well, and one almost wonders why studios can’t simply release films this definitive and jam packed with bonus content on the first go around far more often.

This movie, and its home video packaging, come with the highest recommendation possible for action cinema fanatics. And as long as you can handle cartoonishly stylized violence, the John Wick franchise comes highly recommended for anyone who might be curious. This franchise isn’t going away anytime soon, and will likely only grow in estimation as time passes and we wake up to the idea that this is game changing stuff that is setting a new high bar for studio action.

The Package

Disc 1 (4K Ultra HD + Bonus Features), Disc 2 (Blu-ray + Bonus Features)

  • Audio Commentary: Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Retrowick: Exploring The Unexpected Success Of John Wick
  • Training John Wick
  • Wick-Vizzed
  • Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership
  • As Above, So Below: The Underworld Of John Wick
  • Car Fu Ride-Along
  • Chamber Check: Evolution Of A Fight Scene
  • Wick’s Toolbox
  • Kill Count
  • Dog Wick Short
  • Theatrical Trailer

And I’m Out.

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