Sunday, 14 May 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) - Film Review


*Originally written February 18th, 2017*

I'm really glad I saw John Wick: Chapter 2 twice before reviewing it. My first time watching it I wasn't in the best mood, it had been a long day and Wick was my third film of the day, by the end of it I was just bored and wanted to go. Thankfully, I saw it again the next day with a clearer head and LOVED IT. Not as much as the first, but I still liked this a lot, it expands the world greatly, ramps up the action and delivers a surprisingly emotionally impactful ending.

Taking place 5 days after the first, Chapter 2 opens with an overlong prologue of Wick getting his car back after the events of the first. It wasn't bad at all, it just felt pointless and served no purpose other than to reintroduce a character you already know. Cutting this 15 minute scene really could have made for a much shorter and tighter film.

After the prologue, Wick is forced back into the assassin world due to a blood pact he made. He soon finds himself in Rome for a hit and things go south. It's much more in depth and less simple than the premise of the first. I appreciate them expanding the story, but it lacked the emotional pull of the first.

John Wick with more neon
But what you all care about is the action. Nothing is as memorable as the club scene from the first, but they really ramp up the action this time. It's a stylish, beautifully choreographed dance of "gun-fu" that is electric to watch. It even felt more violent and gory than the first, really delving in to some gruesome injury detail. The camera work is gorgeous, no shakey cam bullshit. It also has the best pencil scene in a film since The Dark Knight.

On top of the action. This is a gorgeous looking film filled with beautiful neon lighting, interesting sets and locations. The museum finale set-piece was awesome. It reminded me of the finale of The Man With the Golden Gun.

Keanu Reeves is still fantastic as Wick, a role he was born to do. I really love that he does most of his own stunts too. The character of John Wick is a man of few words and Reeves really managed to still do a lot with that. It's a shame that Reeves is pitted against such a boring villain this time, who is somehow outshined by Ruby Rose (An actress I usually hate), who plays a mute bodyguard who talks through sign language. It was a pointless character quirk, but it was fun and made use of those beautiful subtitles.

John Wick and his new dog
While we got a glimpse into the assassin world in the first John Wick, Chapter 2 really delves into how this world works and just how big it is. I did find it got a bit goofy at times, but I realize that John Wick takes place in a world so very different to the real world. It feels like a comic-book at times. It even made way for a cameo from Laurence Fishbourne and he was brutal. That guy is rarely good, I even found him to be the worst part of The Matrix and he nearly derails the whole film with one scene.

The ending really surprised me too. I know Chapter 3 was planned before the second was even in production, but the ending of this really sets up an interesting third, it was even kinda emotional seeing John Wick in the place he is at the end. It helps that Tyler Bates score is also once again wonderful.

John Wick: Chapter 2 wasn't a strong as the first for me, but it was still a stylish, fun and effective orgy of violence and action that greatly expands the universe. Give me John Wick Chapter 3.

9/10 Dans

John Wick: Chapter 2 is out June 12th on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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