Keanu Reeves attends the 'John Wick' Japan Premiere at Differ Ariake Arena on September 30, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.
Jun Sato/WireImage
February 9, 2017 6:30 AM EST

In John Wick: Chapter 2, Keanu Reeves’ John Wick–whom we first met as the ruthless yet tender avenger in the surprise 2014 hit that bears his name–does more walking than driving. In the movie’s dazzling opening sequence, he does take a car for a spin (and a crash and a bang). But Wick, the quintessential hit man longing for retirement, mostly gets around the old-fashioned way, as if willing himself to slow down.

Fat chance. Forced to take one last job, Wick treks to a drowsy, decadent catacomb nightclub in Rome, where he tangles with a sultry mob princess (Claudia Gerini) and her butt-kicking bodyguard (played, wonderfully, by Common). The film has style to burn, and oh! what violence–terrible, bone-crunching, glorious violence, beautifully orchestrated by director and ex–stunt man Chad Stahelski. There’s also a dog, a handsome, stocky devil with fur somewhere between chocolate and smoke. He has little to do. Mostly he just walks. But when he does, he’s muscular, elegant and thrilling, just like his human sidekick.

This appears in the February 20, 2017 issue of TIME.

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