Somebody, please get this man a gun.
Back in January, I was finally able to sit down and watch John Wick for the first time and it blew my mind away. It was one of the most emotional action movies that I ever experienced, with mind-blowing action and certainly is the best action film I seen this century so far. Fast forward to Funerary 8th, 2017 and I experienced the return of Keanu Reeves as the Baba Yaga John Wick. Directed by Chad Stahelski, John Wick: Chapter 2 has John Wick dragged back into the shadows by a former cohort. As he owes a blood oath to his old comrade, who is bent on taking down a criminal enterprise that is distinguished for hiring contract killers. The second chapter of this series is a pleasant surprise. Especially considering Hollywood’s track record for sequels.
If you were blown away by the action in the first one, the second does not disappoint. Keanu was spot on (as expected) and the action had few rest spots along the way, yet by the end of the movie you couldn’t help but want to see what happens next. It keeps the formula nearly identical, adding more to its melee and shootout fun. There’s everything one loved from the first, now pouring abundantly. Combat is arguably the best action choreography one could possibly ask for. Punches, kicks, and submission holds are delivered with such beauty and finesse. There are more inventive action scenes in this movie such as in the action scene that took place in the art museum and a whole sequence that happens in a train station that makes the club sequence look childish. It was spectacular and a lot of the choreography is just as great. I can’t praise the lighting and the camera work enough. It’s one of the best in the business. The world building is bigger than the first one and you can see how The Assassin’s guild work, internationally. I think one of the things that make John Wick: Chapter 2 effective is that many of the creative talents return, and screenwriter Derek Kolstad doesn’t rehash the first film, which is usually a mistake done by many sequels out there. They take John Wick to international stage this time around but this film is not about ‘hey look we’re setting him somewhere else,’ it’s still character-based, it’s about this assassin who struggles between living by his code and wanting to leave this whole once and for all.
And this is every action fan’s dream, to tell you the truth because you have a character who basically can use anything, whatever he gets his hands on, to kill. So what you see is once again a mix of martial art and gunplay or gun-fu, and on top of that, you also get to see him use a FREAKING PENCIL, for example. The fight choreography is some of the best put together I’ve seen on the big screen.
But there are some things I didn’t like: With the expansion of the hitman underworld, there’s one particular scene that I didn’t like near the end which felt a little loony. Yes, this movie isn’t meant to take very seriously but that particular scene got really bizarre for me and made me scratch my head. The build up of the first movie was better executed and gave you a sense of getting excited for what’s to come due to anticipating John Wick’s rage. I was also disappointed in this movie’s main villain. He was not as compelling as the first one. In the first one, you can see Michael Nyqvist’s character is afraid to screw with John Wick, In this one, Santino is your typical action film villain. He tells John to do the job and after that, he just betrayed him without further information why he wanted to betray him in the first place. His motives were not clear enough for me. Lastly, this film doesn’t have the same emotional weight but what it lacks in emotion, it is made up for with action.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a great sequel that wasn’t underwhelming. It produced great action scenes, great performances, and there wasn’t a dull moment in sight. It’s more fast paced than the first but all in good favor, Keanu Reeves gives it his all and adds a lot to these movies, I’m hopeful that this continues on to be a great franchise.
SUPERSAM RATING: 4.5/5