John Wick: Chapter 2 review


Alright, everyone settle down, John Wick: Chapter 2 is worth the wait. My non spoiler reaction is 🔫🔪💥💀💥💥💥💥💥💥💥💥💥💥💥💥💀💀💀💀💀💀💥💀💥💀💥💀💥💥💀💀💥💥💥💀💀💀💀💥💀💥💀💥💥💥💥💥💀💥💥💀💥💀💥💀💥💀💥💀💥🔫💀💀🔫🔫🔫🔫🔫🔫🔫💀💀💀💀💀💥💀💥💀💥💥💥💥💀💀💥💥💀🔪🔪💥💀💀🔪😔😍  7/10. Wanna know more? Feel free to read on, but it will contain spoilers.

John Wick: Chapter 2 expands upon the established world of the original film and nicely hints at bigger & badder things to come. As sequels go, it ticks plenty of boxes but falls into a few sophomore pitfalls. In many ways I liken the John Wick franchise to Gareth Evan’s The Raid series; both employ tonnes and tonnes and I dare say tonnes of gratuitous gun-fu/hand-to hand combat, which hey I happen to love, but does tire after a while. With a few niggling gripes that I'll expand upon later, I can happily recommend you get out to catch John Wick: Chapter 2 on the biggest screen available and with the rowdiest of crowds.

Following the revenge-laced antics of the first film, John Wick is in hot pursuit of the item which
started this whole damn mess: his car. After dispatching countless goons, a rather battered and bruised John finally goes home to restart his retirement. But not so fast Mr Wick. Evil comes a knocking in the form of Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). John is given an ‘offer he can't refuse’ but since the plot dictates John needs to be in constant peril, he refuses. D’Antonino rather irrationally blows up John’s house and voila! John is back, again.

Whereas the action in John Wick felt spontaneous and intense, Chapter 2 tended to drag on a wee bit too long, as if the filmmakers were simply feeding us what they thought we craved. The problem being, the baddies have all the menacing presence of paper shooting-range targets. This ultimately impacts the action, since it feels like John Wick is merely walking along, popping a string of stunt men as they get their cue to engage him. 

One of the highlights of the first film was how it portrayed the assassins’ underground community. I loved the rules and regulations which governed their society. Chapter 2 cleverly delves deeper into this world. We get to see the services which are at John’s disposal, everything from tactical-wear tailors to weaponry-themed sommeliers. We also get to see a vast network of international Assassins at work; yes at times it bordered on the ridiculous, but it worked for me.

Performance wise, Keanu easily slips back into the ‘hitman with a heart of gold’ suit he wears so well. Honestly though it's hard to see where Keanu finishes and John Wick begins. Ian McShane and Lance Reddick reprise their roles and yet again are criminally underused. These films would benefit greatly from these guys being let off the chain more often. Australia's Ruby Rose is an interesting addition to the cast as the mute assassin, Ares. Again since this film is mostly concerned with seeing John Wick fight people, I would've liked to see Rose in more action. More time was frustratingly spent showing off her sign language skills rather than her proficiency with a gun. Laurence Fishburne entertainingly heads an assassins guild made up of homeless persons. It's kind of fun to see Neo being reunited with Morpheus, even though their interactions are all too brief.

I would trade half the gun fights in here for a few more emotionally resonant scenes and/or a few scenes which actually went about developing anyone's character, John Wick in particular. It's been two films now and I still don't know much about this bloke, but I feel as though we're meant to know and love him. 

So should you see it? Yes, but I enjoyed the first one more. The film ends on promise of some gonzo things on the horizon for Mr Wick, which here's hoping we won't have to wait too long for.

As always if you've seen the film an agree or disagree with my thoughts feel free to sound off in the comments below.

7 out of 10

- Stu


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