John Wick: Chapter 2
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Produced by: Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee
Written by: Derek Kolstad
Based on: Characters by Derek Kolstad
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane
Keanu Reeves has found his new franchise. One of the best things about John Wick: Chapter 2 is that it adds to Wick’s “Chuck Norris–esque legend.” Of course, I won’t ruin it, but you actually get to see one of the rumored legendary John Wick moves, and it’s amazing (and disturbing) to see. I think part of what makes his depiction of Wick even better is that he’s committed himself to really training for most of the action you’ll see in the film. Given the fact that Keanu is the one that’s actually doing a lot of the action and fighting scenes, it really helps make the action that much more authentic. (You can see a video of him training here.)
Speaking of action: Wooow! They clearly raised the bar compared to the first movie. There are lots of guns. I mean it’s practically gun porn to a certain degree. This almost feels like watching a video game with the amount of weapons and ammo used. The fighting also takes a bit of a leap. There’s a lot more hand-to-hand combat; more specifically, judo and/or mixed martial arts. The fighting choreography definitely makes this movie stand out, and so does the great cinematography from the director.
In regard to the plot, the film doesn’t over-complicate things. It’s an action flick. Deep plots shouldn’t be expected, but there is a bit of an expansion in the story. We find out a little bit more about the mysterious assassin organization. What I really appreciate are the many rules of this organization’s universe. The rules play a major role in what Wick and others can and cannot do. The interesting rules are a great way to maintain a bit of intrigue and keep the plot compelling. The ending of this film is perfect!
Another interesting highlight is the inclusion of a bit more humor. Throughout the film are a couple of humorous instances that help break up the intense action sequences. One occurs with Wick and Common’s encounter, which you can even see in the trailer. Speaking of Common, he does a wonderful job as playing another assassin. His moments on screen with Reeves are probably the most memorable.
There’s a guest cameo from a familiar actor. Unfortunately, the trailers ruin it, but it doesn’t necessarily hurt the movie at all. It would be such a great surprise without knowing going into the film.
One thing I was really looking forward to was more of the gun-fu (it’s actually called gun kata) that made John Wick so unforgettable. Rather than going for more of it, the film includes more hand-to-hand combat and mixed martial arts. This throws the balance off, and I would’ve preferred more gun-fu.
Most action movies don’t really care about making things realistic at all, and this film takes that a bit further. With all of the crazy chaos and shooting, not once do you see any collateral damage and/or innocents being hurt or wounded. I get it; it’s an action film, and your focus should be on the main characters. However, given the fact that a lot of the action happens in public places, I just think that there are opportunities to address this. (Similar to the damage Superman causes in Man of Steel.)
John Wick 2 is a great example of a sequel taking the best parts of the original film to a new level. It’s action-packed and then some. If you’re an action junkie, then this will definitely be something for you to plan your night around. If they decide to make a sequel for this, I’m a little worried about what direction they take it in, but I think it still has a lot of promise.
I may catch some heat for this, but JOHN WICK 2 IS THE BEST ACTION MOVIE OF THE YEAR! Yup. I said it. You wanna fight? I’ll deal with the consequences later if need be. Go see it. Turn your brain off and enjoy!