When an action film called John Wick starring Keanu Reeves started in theaters in 2014, no one really knew beforehand what he was in for. Reeves is long-time inventory in Hollywood with numerous hits such as Bill & Ted, Speed or the Matrix trilogy that made him a worldwide megastar. But in the years between 2003 and 2013 there weren’t an awful lot of films that Reeves could impress with. Except maybe Street Kings which is a tense cop thriller but many couldn’t see the actor as the tough-as-nails guy who’s tougher than all of his opponents.
That has drastically changed since John Wick came around the corner. Filled with subtle irony, the revenge-driven professional assassin leaves his retirement to enter the world he wanted to leave behind for good. A sinister, secretive world where everyone universally agrees that this man is a legend with awe-inspiring capabilities in the art of killing. A fantastic, dynamic aesthetic, many shootouts and fights that lead to an immense body count are the other ingredients in this mixture that led to a huge popularity once the film hit the home video market.
But there’s always the attempt to go bigger and John Wick: Chapter 2 is no exception. The death toll is even higher and the hand-to-hand combats are much longer. Also, the world-building is continued by deepening the mythical importance of rules and neutral grounds (aka “The Continental”) and by adding more characters (e.g. Laurence Fishburne). For some, all that might be too much but most viewers will most likely be satisfied and wait for part 3.
For UK viewers, there was some potential for frustration that had nothing to do with the film itself. For the theatrical release, distributor Warner Bros. chose to cut the movie down for the BBFC 15 rating. An uncut BBFC 18 was available and the hopes of UK fans rested on the eventual home video release. But Warner also managed to disgruntle customers to a certain degree as well with their handling of this issue. The regular DVD and Blu-ray only contain the censored theatrical version and only the expensive 4K UHD Blu-ray has the uncut BBFC 18 on board. This strategy of trying the push a new medium by equipping it with an exclusive version is nothing new (and fans may be even more upset about the digital-only approach Universal has chosen for the Extended Cut of Fast & Furious 8) but it’s not overly customer-friendly.
Compared are the censored BBFC 15 DVD (by Warner Home Video) with the uncensored R-Rated US Blu-ray (by Summit / Lionsgate).
4 cuts = 21 seconds
0:51:53: Gianna begins to cut her right arm open.
0:52:00: An explicit side view of her standing in the pool with her bleeding arm was shortened.
0:52:04: Gianna is seen in the fron, although she’s not in the camera focus. Still, it can be seen how she cuts her other arm open, as well. The majority of this is missing in the BBFC 15 version, also the end of the scene was zoomed in a bit so that the viewer sees even less of it.
0:53:05: John takes Gianna’s hand and her heavily bleeding arm is pulled out of the water.