Monday, February 13, 2017

Movie Review: JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

John Wick Chapter 2 is the follow up to the 2014 surprise action hit John Wick. This second film, directed by original co-director Chad Stahelski, picks up shortly after the events of the first film and finds John Wick tying up the final loose ends from that film. After Wick thinks he’s back out he is called upon to do a job based on an agreement he made with an individual many years before. The film sees Keanu Reeves return as Wick along with a stellar supporting cast including Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, and Common.

This film is an absolute triumph as an action film and as a sequel. There is so much going on in this that it would be easy to get lost in it all but, at the end of the day, what this film does so effectively is take the concept from John Wick and expand on it in every way. The first film introduced us to this world of assassins in such an intriguing way, revealing very little about the true underlying infrastructure. This film pulls back the curtain and expands the universe of John Wick tenfold. Yet it managed to retain all of the intrigue contained within. That is something that is nearly impossible to do and most sequels fail at it spectacularly.

On top of effectively expanding the world, the film also manages to be a great action flick in and of itself. The story itself all makes relative sense, you care about the characters and what they’re dealing with, and the action/fight sequences are shot and executed to near perfection. Much like the original, Stahelski and company do a great job setting the stakes for the film and giving you reasons that you should care what the different characters are doing. This is something sorely missing from most pure action films today. In a film that is so steeped in that world to so effectively break through the barriers to go from an “acceptable” action film to just a “good” film is impressive.

As I’ve mentioned, but avoided digging into, the action in this film is gripping, intense, and wall-to-wall amazing. There are few films with as high a ratio of action to non-action than John Wick Chapter 2, but every moment of it is treated with care. The fights are all so well shot to show you exactly what is going on, the gun shots have force and consequence, and you feel, as an audience member, the pain of every injury inflicted because of how visceral it is. We don’t get nearly enough action this well shot and constructed. So many major blockbusters could learn a lot from the John Wick franchise in this respect (and hopefully will as it becomes more popular).

Though John Wick Chapter 2 is really really solid, it’s not a perfect film. One action area that could use a bit of work is their car chases. The sound design and geography of them is fantastic, however, the way they are shot felt like it was trying to avoid showing everything going on so they could cut corners (something they didn’t do in the hand-to-hand combat and “gun fu” moments). In a film as impeccable about its action as this that is disappointing. The only other nitpick I have with the action is that injuries to John Wick have extremely time limited effect on him whereas they have extensive impact on the goons he takes down. This made it feel a bit unbelievable in a bad way. I also thought that there are a few plot points later in the film that felt a bit hokey, even in the world that has been established.

Overall, I think John Wick Chapter 2 was stellar and an extremely enjoyable movie. The film was exciting and engaging and did everything I wanted it to do in terms of a sequel attempting to expand the universe and create levels that may have been absent (or unrevealed in the first). It’s really hard for me to say which of these films I like better, but the one thing I can say for sure is that I badly want to see a third chapter!

Ryan’s Score: 8.5/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment