John Wick: Chapter 2

122 min.

Can you get any more violent? When you’re talking to John Wick versus John Wick: Chapter 2, the answer is yes. Maybe the question should be: can it be more bloody? Also, yes. When the first five full-on-screen exploding skulls and body parts might make one flinch, there’s so many of them it’s tempting to just go ‘Ah, you again’ after a while.
john-wick-chapter-2

Viewers were promised more of the world building regarding the criminal world (and hotels) through which John moves. The promise was full-filled, although scantily. This time we learn that this world is international, spending one third of the film in Rome (and under it). Again it’s beautiful surroundings, beautiful people and some worrying rules these people live by.

But mostly it’s violence. With weapons, without. On the roof, under ground (and in the underground), anywhere. But don’t worry about the dog this time, Wick does it utterly, completely by himself.

John Wick: Chapter 2, Thunder Road Productions 2017

Luther

57 min. 16 afleveringen

Luther is Idris Elba, maar om het weg te zetten als niet meer dan een stervehikel zou een belediging voor de show en een gemis voor de kijker zijn.Heeft de eerder genoemde Paul Rudd misschien alle charme, Idris Elba is een magneet in wat hij ook doet, hoe lelijk of aggressief ook.

Luther_TV_Series_BBCWant, zoals vele hoofdpersonen-van-politieseries voor hem, detective John Luther is geen lieverdje. geen gezellig type, op trouwe collega Ripley na geen mensenman. Dat komt deels vast door de zaken die hij moet oplossen, gruwelijke situaties waardoor je bijna Londen niet meer in zou durven.

Wat Luther geen zaak-van-de-week serie maakt, zijn Elba en zijn collega’s. In welke plotlijn ook, of ze nu voor of tegen hem zijn, de serie is een bastion van acteerwerk.Voeg daar het karakter van zeer vreemde vogel Alice Morgan aan toe en de show is meer karakterstudie dan politie-en-verlos.

Ondanks de kleine hoeveelheid afleveringen raad ik ‘binge watching‘ toch af. Je wilt je nog wel af en toe ergens veilig voelen.

Luther, BBC 2010

The Axeman’s Jazz

John Riley stumbled into the offices of the New Orleans Times – Picayune an hour and a half later after he was supposed to have started work.

New Orleans in the early ninety twenties, close to prohibition, close to racial tensions. And in the midst of it is a chain of brutal murders. Yet it is more of a human interest story than a detective or thriller.

There are two main players: cop Michael, ex-cop and ex-convict Luca. On the side there’s Louis Armstrong (that Louis Armstrong) and his friend, aspiring detective Ida. The Axeman at first seems to target only Italians, until he doesn’t. Minorities are pointing fingers at each other, the mob is involved and there’s a lot of layers only amateur sleuth Ida seems to have a clue about. But she’s mixed race, so no-one, and no-one will listen to her.

New Orleans is a character of its own. It might discard rules and morals, but that means it’s dangerous and dog eat dog as well. It’s a mean old lady, as one of the characters puts it, and one with iron teeth as well.

The case gets solved, but the reason for it even existing is more gruesome and interesting. A dark, humid story.

The Axeman’s Jazz, Ray Celestin, Mantie 2014

Wicker

This wasn’t grief Davis felt, staring at her so-still feet pointing at impossible angles to the tight synthetic weave of charcoal carpet.

Is klonen ethisch? Bestaat er zoiets als een ziel en zo ja, kloon je die ook? Wat zijn de regels voor het klonen van mensen, en is de kloon wel een compleet nieuw mens, op zijn of haar DNA na? Kevin Guilfoile oppert een rij interessante vragen, maar omkleedt het in zo’n bizar verhaal dat ze er bijna in stikken.

De dochter van een kloondokter wordt vermoord. De kloondokter komt per ongeluk aan het DNA van de moordenaar en besluit een kloon van hem te maken, zodat hij hem over X aantal jaar kan vinden. Gelukkig wordt verder in het boek steeds meer getwijfeld aan zijn motivatie en acties, maar dat iemand die vast allemaal eden heeft moeten zweren ..doet Davis het allemaal wel heel makkelijk.

Combineer dit met een religieuze antikloonactivist, een seriemoordenaar en een poging tot sociaal commentaar op online leven en de game cultuur en het komt over als een detective die graag de Grote Vragen Des Levens wilt bespreken, maar er ook weer niet te veel tijd aan wilt besteden.

Wicker, Kevin Guilfoile, Joseph 2005

Mr Mercedes

Augie Odenkirk had a 1997 Datsun that still ran well in spite of high mileage, but gas was expensive, especially for a man with no job, and City Center was on the far side of the town, so he decided to take the last bus of the night.

From time to time you need a Stephen King novel. And because I can never remember where I am in the Dark Tower series, I like to try one of his stand alones.

Of course there’s a retired detective who is overweight and alone and miserable, that’s how a detective works. There’s that one unsolved case as well. But this is Stephen King, so you get a look inside of the head of the perk/perp, you get fleshed-out side characters and a peek into the look of police work (lots of note blocks).

No lack of gruesome images and terrifying cliffhangers either. Mr Mercedes demands your time, and you will race (hah) through the story, pretty sure but not completely about how it will end this time.

Just don’t read this before bed. Or visiting a concert.

Mr Mercedes, Stephen King, Scribner 2014

Child 44

Since Maria had decided to die, her cat would have to fend for itself.

I was too late to watch the movie. I think I made the right decision reading the book (first).

No-one in the Soviet is safe from the system, not even those enforcing it. It all starts with the murder of a child. But murder is a crime, and crimes only happen in capitalist societies, so the protagonist has to deny it happening, naming it an accident to make it easier and safer for everyone. Of course that safety doesn’t last long.

How do you prove a crime if every authority wants it not to be one? Main character Leo and his wife quickly discover that it’s a brutal path, the communist society being another player in this detective story. The story itself is fiction, but every insane government rule or fear mongering is bizarre enough to be believed by the rule of truth being stranger than fiction.

For those interested in the Soviet and okay with pretty visual violence imagery, definitely a recommendation.

Child 44,  Tom Rob Smith, Simon & Schuster 2008

A Delicate Truth

On the second floor of a characterless hotel in the British Crown Colony of Gibraltar, a lithe, agile man in his late fifties restlessly paced his bedroom.

As Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is by the same author (only watched the movie, didn’t read the book), there should be little surprise that I felt like putting A Delicate Truth in the same category of detective stories. This is not a detective like Bond, Bourne or even Holmes. A Delicate Truth got probably put into the detective category because of – well, detective work. With secret files, hidden conversations, hierarchies in hierarchies, doubtful authorities and a lot of talking and bluffing.

There is a very secret project, hidden so deep that the minister of the ministry it falls under, doesn’t even know about it. But no such thing as a real, deeply hidden secret in this age, and people both inside, outside and ex-government start pulling threads.

A Delicate Truth lacks (“lacks”) car chases, knuckle fights or seductive beautiful ladies. Honestly, there’s just a lot of reading. Story lines old and new to follow, with some double identities added for a bit of a challenge. Frankly, it feels like this is an ‘old school’, English Library Chesterfield couches detective novel. And that’s nice, for a change.

A Delicate Truth, John Le Carré, Viking 2013