Title: John Wick: Chapter 2
MPAA: Rated R for strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne
Synopsis: After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.
John Wick is back, and as cliché as this may sound, is bigger and badder than ever! When I first saw the news that there was gonna be a sequel to the first film, John Wick, a few years back I was certainly not jumping for joy. The first film was really great on its own, and had a satisfying ending. It was a revenge story, and John Wick got his revenge and was back to his peaceful life. There is also so many things that can go wrong in a sequel. There are definitely other great action sequels out there, but probably 10x more average/bad action sequels than great ones. Well, all I can say is, John Wick: Chapter 2 not only is a great sequel, but is probably better than its predecessor. Allow me to explain…
John Wick: Chapter 2 is not a money grab. This sequel was not lazily released just to earn extra money from a now popular brand. The makers behind this film proved not only was this sequel necessary for the character and story, but it also added a lot more new things to the franchise and felt great and different on its own from the first one. The character of John Wick, played perfectly by Keanu Reeves, has a long, dark past. He has killed a lot of people, and made a lot of enemies. What this film is trying to tell us is that people like him can never really have the happy/peaceful ending that they might want. A lot of bad people have layed their eyes on John Wick, and have seen what he is capable of. It’s almost impossible for Wick to have this peaceful kind of ending unfortunately, and throughout this movie he is forced to go back to his old self, because that is basically all he has left. That is why he was brought upon this Earth, to kick some ass. And boy does he do that.
There is far more action in this film than the previous one. And that is saying something, because the first one did have a lot of action as well. From the opening credits, I was at the edge of my seat, and I never for one second wondered when the film would end or checked my phone to see what time it was. This film is a non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end. And just like the first film, the action was top-notch. There were limited camera cut-aways, intense long takes, and plenty of blood. I was able to see all of the action clearly and precisely, and I could tell that Keanu Reeves himself was doing most of the stunts. Chad Stahelski, the director, really knows how to film a great action movie and understand the genre perfectly. He proves it once again with this sequel. So what makes this film different and better from the first one?
First of all, the film is beautifully shot. I was really impressed with the cinematography. This film was more stylish, elegant, and colorful than the first film. The complementary color scheme of blue and orange shined bright throughout this film and gave it a more vibrant feel. There were so many great shots in this film, and I could really tell the cinematographer took the time and effort into each frame. Another reason this sequel stood out was how different in tone it was. Where the first film was just a standard revenge, action thriller, Chapter 2 was more of a gritty, spy thriller. John Wick gets a lot more weapons and gadgets and uses them with full force. We really see the full capacity of what Wick is capable of doing, and why he is considered such a threatening figure in this world. This film really reminded me of The Bourne Ultimatum where it was not so heavy on story, plot, and dialogue and way more action oriented. Since Wick really has nothing left in his life, besides a cute pit bull, all we really wanna see him do now is kill a bunch of bad guys. And that’s exactly what he does.
As far as flaws for this film, there isn’t much. One reason that made the first film so good was the emotional stakes. John Wick definitely was fighting for a lot more emotionally in the first film, and this film is really more of just killing because he has to rather than he wants to. However, like I said before, this film isn’t about that.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a pleasant surprise, and one of the best straight-up-action films in quite sometime. There are many memorable action sequences throughout this film that makes it very memorable. The best occurring at an EDM concert in Rome. The pounding score, glowing visuals, and gritty action really makes this film stand apart form its predecessor and really most other action films of recent memory. There are also some memorable new characters like Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King and Common’s Cassian for example. John Wick’s interactions with both characters are very amusing. This is how a sequel, if there needs to be one, should be done. It understands what made the fist film so great and adds to it, while also developing a different tone and style. John Wick, aka Goth Bonds as I like to call him, became the ultimate killing machine that he used to be, and it was truly magnificent to watch. The character never was too ultimate which is something I respected. Each kill was earned, and he really had to fight his hardest to kill a lot of people. The action was just as realistic as it was breathtaking. If you saw the first film definitely see this one, and if you havent seen the first film, than go rent it now and than watch this! This film needs to be watched by any fans of the action genre. It is as close to a perfect action film as you are gonna get! My grade for this film is: