John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review
John Wick: Chapter 2. It stars Keanu Reeves, Ricardo Scammarcio, Ian McShane, Common, and Ruby Rose and was directed by Chad Stahelski. John Wick: Chapter 2 picks up shortly after the events of Chapter 1 and follows John Wick, once again played by Keanu Reeves, as he gets sucked back into the hitman game thanks to some of the rules and customs of the assassin underworld. As a result, while simultaneously exacting revenge and trying to survive frequent assassination attempts.
John Wick: Chapter 2 wastes no time, immediately jumping right into an action sequence as soon as the film begins. Whereas the first movie allowed us to see the emotional motivation behind Wick’s vengeful actions. This film doesn’t afford us that luxury, picking up mere days after the conclusion of the first film. There are hints of Wick’s emotional drivers early on, but this sequel doesn’t have nearly the emotional core. That the first film had.
What it does have, however, is action, If you thought the original film was action-packed, you’re in for a surprising treat. This movie takes all the things, That made the action in the first film great and cranks them up to eleven. After person with an array of different weapons. We still get plenty of Wick’s signature gun-fu fighting style that’s just as impressive as ever, but we also get quite a bit more car action in this one. As the body count rises. We also finally get to see Wick go toe-to-toe with some equally skilled fighters in a series of knock down drag out brawls. Just like the first movie. Each of the major fight sequences offers something different which really keeps the fights interesting.
Different locations with their own unique challenges, different tactics, and a whole bunch of different gear and weapons throughout the movie. While the first film featured a fairly simple and straightforward plot, Chapter 2 introduces a little more complexity into the mix. You can still boil it down to a set of deceptively simple story points. This film takes the world-building and mythos of the original movie and runs with them, ramping it all up to an international scale. If you were at all intrigued by the assassin underworld and all its customs and codes. You’re going to enjoy this sequel. The world as well as the introduction of other entirely new aspects.
The system’s formality that we get a peek at in the previous film is on full display here. As Wick moves seamlessly through this assassin world, reconnecting with countless old associates, it becomes clear just how important the rules and customs are to maintaining order in this world. Without some semblance of organization and control, the system would break down and devolve into ruthless chaos. The rules dictate everything and those who ignore the rules must face the consequences. The expansion offers interesting insight into the world of John Wick, but it does cause the story to broaden perhaps a bit too far. One of the things that set the first John Wick apart from other action films was its simplicity.
It was slick and stylish too, but it focused on a plot with a singular goal and never lost focus. I wouldn’t say Chapter 2 ever quite loses its focus, but it does widen it. We get plot points that tie directly to the first movie. We see Wick actually performing his hitman duties. There’s an entertaining Matrix reunion, a make-it-home-alive subplot, and of course, some more revenge. Chapter 2 really does ramp everything up. Best of all, the action is awesome. By the end of the film, you’re thoroughly entertained, you’ve got the set-up for Chapter 3.
That’s right, a fuc… Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one is the action. That should come as no surprise if you saw the first John Wick movie and here the action is even more impressive. This movie features very few moments of downtime and transitions from action set piece to action set piece with ease. Wick’s fluid gun-fu fighting style is just as entertaining and mesmerizing as ever and his tactical skills are on full display here too. It’s such a clichÈ to say, but this really is an action thrill-ride from start to finish.
The second pro is the expansion of the assassin underworld. The glimpses into that world of gold coins and dinner reservations were some of my favorite things about the first film. This movie really pulls the curtain back to reveal even more of the inner-workings of the underworld. Blood oaths, assassin-catering tailors, an old-school switchboard call center, and the Continental di Roma. In addition to the tangible things, we also get a little more insight into the rules. That govern this world and just how important it is to follow those rules. Just like with the first John Wick film. I don’t have much to say as far as cons go.
My lone issue with Chapter 1 is still present in Chapter 2. I guess, I can still say the visual style of the subtitles is a little distracting to me. I don’t mind that they’re embedded in the shot. The arbitrary highlighting of certain words with a different font and color has become a bit of a pet peeve for me with these movies. I’m gonna give John Wick: Chapter 2 3.5 out of 5 paws. This movie takes the simple and straightforward story of the first film, expands on it, broadens it to an international scale, and ramps. The action up to a whole new level. I would recommend John Wick: Chapter 2, obviously to fans of the first John Wick film.
It doesn’t have the same emotional underpinnings, but we get plenty more of that awesome. Wick the cool slick style that permeated the first movie. And if you wanted to see more of the assassin underworld. This movie’s got you covered. Even if you haven’t seen Chapter 1, you could probably still come into. This movie and have a basic understanding of what’s going on. There’s a little bit of exposition at the beginning that kinda summarizes the first movie, but really this is about the action. You could watch it on mute and still be entertained by it all. If you liked John Wick: Chapter 2, I would recommend the Hotel Artemis.
The story’s a bit different and the action isn’t as well-done, but it features a hotel sorta similar to the Continental. So, if you liked the rules aspect of John Wick and want to see it utilized in a dystopian setting, this one’s for you. I’d also recommend The Warriors for its straight forward make-it-home-alive plotline that’s mirrored in the second half of Wick 2. Alright, a couple of questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen John Wick: Chapter 2? If so, what’d you think of it? How does it compare to the first film for you? And number two: What’s your favorite action sequel? Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going.