Review: John Wick: Chapter 2

johnwickchapter2
So many guys killed!

To criminal syndicates and Mafia across the globe, John Wick is a name to be feared. Death’s emissary they say. Before, he massacred a crime lord’s entire operation because they stole his car and killed his dog, now those in power see Wick as an asset again; out of retirement. Now he is asked to do one more hit on an extremely important individual in the criminal underworld. But will it really be the end?

The sleeper hit of 2015 John Wick inspired huge cult following and showcased lead star Keanu Reeves’ awesome skills and prowess in stunt work since The Matrix in 1999. It was a glossy, high-intensity bulletstorm; relying on a thumping soundtrack, gun and combat choreography and so many expensive suits.

John Wick: Chapter 2 recaptures its predecessor’s captivating choreography to a tee, this time with Rome as a backdrop. Director Chad Stahelski returns along with Reeves and Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and probably a whole team of stunt men!

Seriously, Keanu kills so many gangsters in this film. They literally throw wave after wave after wave of gun-toting killers at him and we get to see each of them dispatched with near flawless execution. I was reminded of The Raid 2 while watching John Wick: Chapter 2; it is the oldest method of writing a sequel in the book: the same again, only bigger and “better”. Quotation marks because both with this and The Raid 2, I felt a little exhausted watching it! There’s simply so much action and continuous killing that it almost blurs together.

I was a little concerned immediately too; the film opens with a motorbike/car chase. Well shot and paced, but the sound mixing with the blaring soundtrack was totally overwhelming, neither music or sound effects could be distinguished from each other. Far too loud.

But despite this I still had a good time watching it. A testosterone-fueled gun-porn (Reeves literally goes to a gun merchant and asks for a “tasting” and we get a slew of gun jargon that would make Arnie blush) that indulges the most guilty of violent pleasures. Keanu is great in the role; a seemingly reluctant super-hitman who despite his demeanour sends thugs and Mafia bosses into a fearful frenzy. It is a fantastic juxtaposition.
The story is paper thin: consequences of your actions and revenge. But the John Wick films are inherently refreshing in this day and age with their simplicity.
It really makes all similar western thrillers and action movies pale in comparison. Your Takens, your Statham movies etc. John Wick has similar caliber to Eastern action movies.

It should also be noted, and not understated, that Keanu’s dedication to his own stunts is self-evident here. Wow! The man gets wrapped around the the front of cars, thrown into windshields and tossed down (very real) outdoor stone steps head-over-heels. It is great to see such a fantastic action star back in these sorts of roles (albeit painful to watch!)

Overall it is a glossy killing spree, full of bulletproof suit jackets, hand-to-hand combat and bullets to the brain. Keanu plays the role of a reluctant old hitman impeccably and everyone else has the appropriate steely-eyed silent villainy one would expect.

If you like action movies you must check out both John Wick movies.

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