MOVIE REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2

Everyone’s favourite dog loving retired hit man is back in his next adventure.  We start this film closing up the business of the previous movie, he really wants that car back, and will take it back in any condition.  So he’s off to the chop shop and so begins one of the biggest body counts that could be put down to one man who I’ve seen in a long time.  After his business is settled an old employer shows up to claim a blood marker, the one John gave to him in order to leave the life behind, and John doesn’t want to fulfil his duties.  The former employer wants John to kill the head of the High Table, and when John refuses and has to deal with the fall out from that decision.  It leads him back into the work he left behind for love.

The first John Wick movie took everyone by surprise, even the studio heads, who thought it was another straight to DVD release from The One, Neo himself, Keanu Reeves.  Little did they know that this would be one of the better action movies that came out in many years.  The training and respect that Keanu gives to this character is beyond dedication.  The film has an element of cool that doesn’t need to try to be there, it just is, and that makes for entertaining viewing.

Here a lot of the cool from the first movie has been replaced by a massive body count, nearly straight from the start of the film.  There are a lot of the references and elements from the first film that are still around, along with some returning cast members.  Which adds to the world building that they are hoping to give us.  I wish that they had just left the film at the one, there was no need for a sequel at all.  Through the whole film the one thing that kept popping into my head was Transporter 2, I don’t know what it is, but that dreadful sequel just came back into my head.

I want to say that the performances here are great, mostly, with a few exceptions.  It’s nice to see Common have a little more of a role than he’s normally given and he shows that he can kick major ass.  This year I’ve seen Actress Ruby Rose in three films and if I never see her pouty face in anything else I’ll be happy.  She has no talent and must be the niece of someone high up in the studio.  Keanu isn’t the most expressive actor on the planet but he fits into this character with such ease that it’s a pleasure to watch.  The world around them, in which it seems there are millions of hit people, is building to what we can only be a lead in to John Wick Chapter 3.

I don’t want you to think I’m all down on this film, like a ginger step child, no far from it.  I think this is still one of the better action films that we’re going to see this year outside of spandex.  The depth that we got from the first film, the character development, is just thrown to one side in response to the public need for a higher body count with each movie.  I laughed through the product placement moments, this movie brought to you by the NRA and their weapons of death, giving us a sales pitch on all the latest pistols and rifles out there.  It’s nice to see Hollywood not pushing alcohol or cigarettes any more, just guns, lots and lots of guns.  The training that the cast goes through to make the gun fights look more ballets than your usual shooty shooty action movie is so appreciated that you wouldn’t believe.  I love pointless action movies but I think that this is the problem that I have.  The first film was not pointless it was deeper and more driven, this feels like a quick cheap fix rather than the sequel that we deserved.  I would rather this than another Bond movie but that’s just me.  I hope that if or when we see John and his Dog again it’s a deeper more fulfilling moment of cinematic joy.

Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane

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