John Wick: Chapter 2 – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

John Wick: Chapter 2 – 4/5 –  An action movie that came out of nowhere and surprised the hell out of me was one known as John Wick.  A fairly unknown action film starring an aging star; it surpassed expectations and became one of my favorite action films of all time.  As expected from the fan appreciation, it spawned a sequel.  In terms of action movie sequels?  They haven’t always been that great (Taken 2, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back).  Every so often, one does surpass the first by infusing a different setting and expanding the lore in a way that it becomes even more exciting (The Raid 2, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation).  This sequel falls in the latter.  Expanding on what this ‘World of Assassins’ is; John Wick: Chapter 2 is a gratifying sequel that will have any fan of the first yearning for more headshots and gore.

Premise:  After coming out of retirement (again) to repay a debt; John Wick becomes the target of a large bounty.  Betrayed by a friend, The Boogeyman seeks his vengeance the only way he knows.

At the heart of the film is John Wick.  Playing the titular character for a second time is Keanu Reeves.  Billed as the ‘ultimate’ assassin (aka The Boogeyman); Reeves brings about the action character we all want to see.  From his attitude, subtle charisma (physical and monotone delivery) to his overall stunt/choreograph work; you feel the personification that is John Wick.  That singular cheesy blend of cliché and action tropes creates a nostalgic like feeling that brings about true satisfaction.  Reeves isn’t expected to give a ‘tour de force’ kind of performance with emotional layers; he is here to spit out one-liners and kick some ass.  On that one-dimensional note; he delivers.  For the rest of the secondary cast, it’s a ‘whose who’ kind of lineup of reoccurring characters and new comers.  You can refer to the full actors/actresses list at the film’s IMDb page.  In short, they complement the story, action and overall ‘World of Assassins’ that was gazed upon in the first.  No matter if you’re referring the hotel known as The Continental, the various assassins sent to kill John Wick or the ruling families of this ‘underground’ world; you feel completely immersed in everything.  It is predictable, comical and somewhat bordering on mind numbing at times; but it’s the interactions, cliché feeling and abundance of action that keeps you enthralled on everything else.

The story is as basic as the first film.  The only difference is that this one further develops the John Wicks ‘backstory’ (as to why he got out) and the overall complexity of the World of Assassins.  From this, you have your typical ‘introductory’ element that triggers the main character into a new story/journey.  This leads into a linear path of the following:

Ominous ‘helpful ploy’ to help a ‘friend’ > the friend ‘backstabs’ the main character > main character seeks revenge.

This is a common element that happens in many older spy/action films.  In fact, you can expect certain ‘things’ to become obvious and the predictable ‘outcomes’ to be right on point.  Even for the plethora of action and spy tropes; what makes this film stand out is the main character (John Wick), the world and the unique stylized action.  These three engrossing elements helps bring that enjoyment factor to something that would be average on the surface.  It is a high octane rush of headshots, one-on-one combat scenes and intense death melees that will have you screaming for more.  No matter if it’s the epilogue montage of John Wicks return, the ‘Assassin Mission’ that brings him back into the world, the onslaught of Assassins trying to kill him or the final trail of dead bodies in his revenge; you feel the prowess of everything happening.  Once you reach the climax; the intensity brings out a riveting sensation that completely drowns out any technical or simplistic faults that the film has.  Once this leads into its ‘ambiguous’ closure; you feel the that rush of wanting more.  Hopefully, there will be more John Wick.

The visuals parallel with the action.  Focusing on the creation of epic, insane and sometimes outrageously unbecoming kill shots; you get a film that puts forward the art of action.  A lot of other films will combine realistic scenes with the use of CGI, quick cuts and shaky cam to create the sense of veracity.  John Wick: Chapter 2 focuses solely on the choreograph nature with technique, style and weaponry at the forefront.  No matter if it’s the ‘Gun-Fu’ application from the first film or the onslaught of hand-to-hand combat; you feel the raw detail of every punch, kick, hold and impact of the bullets.  The music helps complements everything that has been mentioned; but it doesn’t add superb value.

John Wick: Chapter 2 delivers everything that you wanted more from the first.  If you’re a diehard of nineties action films or any old school ‘Hong Kong’ cinema; this is one for you.  It is worth the full price; a fun action film for everyone.  Don’t bring kids; it is rated R for a reason.

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