John Wick Chapter 2 Film
Can’t judge a Movie by its Poster…
Yeah, this is the new saying!
I had no idea what this movie involved, other than the Marketing material on the DVD’s cover, and of course, Keanu!
Decided to view it, as one of the Movie Theatre Staff was absolutely itching to see John Wick Chapter 2, which is in one of its Theatrical slots this week. Thanks Dennis! Great movie suggestion. Here is the theatre’s film synopsis:
In this next chapter following the 2014 hit, legendary hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is forced back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.
Really good series!
To give you an idea of the Story
Okay, so I shelled out the money for a regular DVD copy of Film#1. Wow! Despite the blood and violence within the film, this is a great franchise (if you will). Tight script, action-packed, memorable characters, Godfather & Scarface imagery (homage to Mr. Scorsese and Mr. DePalma, respectively). I actually LOL’d while watching the first movie.
The sequel delivers the same formula.
If you’ve read some of my other Hubs, then you know that I like Action-Adventure-Thriller type of movies, and JW: Chapter 2 makes no exception. The closest comparable movie types would be:
- The Mechanic series, starring Jason Statham as Arthur Bishop and a close second would be The Expendables series (Stunt value alone).
- In fact, some of the visual imagery in JW: Ch2 is pulled from a lot of other films, such as The Godfather, Scarface, MI series, Jack Reacher series (the Car Scenes), Inferno and Angels and Demons, The Gauntlet (believe that or not! with Clint Eastwood), Enter The Dragon (the original starring Bruce Lee), and an oldie-but-goodie starring Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront).
- There are elements of a good ‘ole Western, too. Also, I felt like a lot of the smooth cinematography might have some Miami Vice elements, but, unlike Tubbs, you know where John’s armory is coming from!
Summing it up w/o giving it away
Returning characters (Keanu Reeves as John Wick)
Keanu plays our Protagonist, who was a former associate of the Italian family, from the first movie. After asking the head of the family to leave the organization, he was granted one last impossible assignment, which he passed (putting the Boogeyman to sleep). John found a life, married and his wife died from a sickness. This is where the story for Film#1 begins.
- Film #1’s Antagonist and John meet at the local gas station, where the Antagonist wants to buy Wick’s ’69 Mustang, which “is not for sale.” The Antagonist doesn’t take “no” for an answer, and tracks Wick to his house, steals his car and kills his dog.
- If this ain’t enough to bring someone out of retirement, I don’t know what else is.
- Turns out that the Antagonist is the son of Wick’s former employer.
The Story continues in the sequel, and after *quite* an explosive, jaw dropping Opening Sequence (!!), the Opening Credits roll. Loved every minute. And so did all the other participants in the audience, judging by the “Oomps” and “Oh yeah!” grunts. Living carthetically for anyone who would like to bang things up, but knowing that you’d never survive the hit.
There are elements of Roman Catholicism present: Faith, Loyalty, Friendship, Honor by blood oaths and Family, being played against one another, with John caught in the middle of executing a family member’s power struggle. Somewhere in the story, John’s personal struggle becomes very obvious, as the family member makes the assassin suffer by calling in a Blood Oath marker against his sister, who shared a Backstory with John. What’s the price of freedom from the organization? Was it worth it? Will it ever be worth it?
The setting is an Italian family organization, which, in the sequel, the MovieViewer discovers that the network extends beyond New York City, into Rome. And, at the conclusion of the film, the family influence might also extend worldwide.
I believe that Mr. Scorsese and Mr. DePalma would be proud to see films being produced in the modern storytelling vein.
John Leguizamo returning as Aurelio
This is a serious role for John. Aurelio runs a Chop Shop, and helps John in locating his missing Mustang from Film #1's beginning, when the Antagonist (former employer's Nephew) stole it from John’s house, and tries to “chop it” at Aurelio’s shop.
Aurelio returns in the sequel, and is able to locate John’s vehicle again, only this time, the Mustang is part of a much larger inventory, held by the Brother of the main Antagonist from Film #1. <a Sidenote filler: the Brother and Nephew were both killed by John Wick in Film#1's conclusion>
Aurelio starts the Inciting Incident, and this propels the story forward, bringing John out of retirement *again*. Aurelio’s supposed to resurrect (if you will), the ‘69 Mustang from the Opening Sequence.
Lance Reddick returning as Charon the Concergie
He’s the peacekeeper at the Front Desk, and keeps the clientele inline.
Attuned to the the use of superb dialogue, the Story timeline hasn't elasped too far between films, as Charon greets John with "...So soon?"
In the sequel, he’s back and has a slightly more important role to the Manager, who’s played by Ian McShane.
Ian McShane as Winston
The MovieViewer finds out that Winston is more than just the Manager of the Continental New York. His reach is seen in the Finale.
I really liked this character.
There are a slew of other characters and location shooting
But, you’ll have to see the Movie to see who and what they are!
The locations were really well-scouted, and moved the story along quite well. Just when the Audience thought it was dragging out on-screen, there pops in another surprise to, not only the Plot, but an essential ingredient to the overall Story.
I felt Screenwriter Derek Kolstad might have been using the Five-Act structure instead of the Three-Act structure, and perhaps that’s why there seems a point in the film where some of my fellow MovieViewers were actually bored. The only difference is the Five-Act structure “insert[s] two further act breaks in the second act of the traditional ‘Hollywood’ paradigm. The first and last acts remain identical in both forms” (Yorke, Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey into Story, 33). Mr. Yorke also notes that the Five-Act structure gives writers the control over their middle section, and “used wisely, it imposes a much stronger structure, creates regular gripping turning points that increase narrative tension.”
Thank you deeply to the Property Master for using consistency from the first film, which was released in 2014. I really appreciate it, as I didn’t have to point out inconsistencies.
Video and ADR editing were also well done, as was the Musical soundtrack.
Some Assassin Lingo
When I referred to this film having a tight script, I really meant it! Thanks to Derek Kolstad, you know how to phrase it.
- I have a dinner reservation for....
- Same owners who still operate The Continental?
- There’s been complaints about the noise coming from your room… (nothing I can’t handle)
- F*** the management…
- Your membership has been revoked.
- This is for you, courtesy of the management, especially after what happened last night.
Here is some new terminology for the Sequel:
- Accounts Payable – make sure you consult your local Accounting Textbook, so you understand the metaphor when it’s used in the movie. I believe I was the only one in the theatre who was chuckling at the metaphor, but you already know I’m an MBA, so no fair!
- I’d like to speak with the Manager…
- “Freshening up her makeup” takes on a new meaning.
- Would you like a Business or Social suit? Day or evening wear? What about the lining? Shall I put a rush on this?
- What about dessert?
- And, Mr. Wick, please enjoy your party…
- I suggest you both get a drink at the Bar.
- Discover the meaning behind a “Professional Courtesy.”
- And, lastly, Being Ex-communicated…
- I really enjoyed all of the actors’ performances. Thank you to the Casting Directors.
- I can understand why the Stunt List was quite extensive, and there was an On-set Medic and Safety Crew. Thank you to everyone who made this film a success. I don’t like seeing films dedicated to our fellow Filmmakers who come by the wayside during production, especially if it was avoidable. Some of my male friends are stuntmen in the Film Biz, so I do have an on-going concern for everyone’ safety.
- Nice Grip Work in the Opening Sequence, as the camera glides along the water inside the Warehouse. Great job from my FirstRowSeatDeadCenter! With the digital filmography, it looked like the water was moving ever so slowly in the dark.
- Some of the cousins and uncles thought that the volume was really loud, especially since we were in the Front Row during the 122-minute presentation. I found myself explaining post-film that it’s the Dolby Digital 7.1 audio system that shook everyone’s leather reclining seats. Their eyeballs were wide-open. Guess they didn’t think that a theatre showing could rock ‘n’ roll.
- Apparently, I was one of the Very Lucky Ticket Buyers on Valentine’s Day, as all matinee shows of JW: Chapter 2 were SOLD OUT. Note to Lionsgate Entertainment (if you are reading my Review): please make more theatres available in the Oahu, HI demographic. There were all ages and genders at this showing, and certain Aunties&Uncles couldn’t see the film on this day, because it was sold out during the daytime. During my mid-morning viewing, it felt like I was at a Private Film Screening for a seating capacity of 75 people at the Ward 16-plex.
And, everyone stopped eating & drinking, the Action was *that* riveting throughout the film. In fact, the Auntie who was seated to my right, visibly cringed during the much-anticipated Pencil scene.
Meaning behind the Film
Seeing this film back-to-back with The Lego Batman Movie, there is a strong theme in recent filmmaking. Namely, the importance of family values, behavior rules, societal effects, and the Protagonist’s choice determining his destiny. Not much different from a certain Marvel superhero, whose film debuts next month! <hint, hint>
I’m really looking forward to the next Chapter, if it’s the intention to produce another film.
Which one was better?
What ya think about John Wick Chapter 2?
A Big Aloha
Thank you to my fellow MusicMaker Josh for the new Coca-Cola tune, shown in the Promos, right before the F+C pre-movie show. I really like the new tune!
Thank you to the Filmmakers, for giving me a new reason for re-following Keanu Reeves. Why can’t the James Bond/Jason Bourne characters have action packed sequences like this one?
Thank you to the audience members who stayed and watched the Ending Credit Roll. This really means a lot.
Until the next film review, Pam