John Wick: Chapter 2
7 / 10
- Great stylized action scenes that make it easy stand out from every other action film out there.
- The editing was great; particularly during one action scene, where it jump cuts between two different fights that John Wick has in the film.
- Cinematography was excellent. I loved how immersive the camera work manages to make you feel sucked into the story.
- Fight choreography was great.
- Chad Stahelski does a fine job directing for the most part. While the story and dialogue leave a lot to be desired, and there were a lot of silly moments in this film, I still liked how he managed to direct all the technical aspects to the story (i.e. the camera work and etc).
- Acting was fairly decent. Nothing to write home about, but I liked how the script was geared to each actor's strength.
- The dialogue was horribly written. Granted, it could've been a lot worse, as "Fifty Shades Darker" had worse dialogue, but it still wasn't that good.
- Story is a bit generic. While I did find myself rooting for John Wick for the most part, the story mostly takes a backseat to the action sequences. Although, the cliffhanger at the end does make me curious to see what will happen in "John Wick: Chapter 3."
- Some of the scenes are kind of pointless like the cop asking if John is out of retirement again adds nothing to the film.
- Although the action scenes are fun to watch, it's kind of amazing that all the people in the background that aren't part of the action just act like they don't even notice John and the other assassins shooting each other in public. Seriously, two or more people are shooting at each other in public, yet you expect me to believe that nobody is going to say or notice that s***?
I'll kill them. I'll kill them all.
The "John Wick" films might be arguably the most overrated action franchise in cinematic history, or possibly a stroke of genius at the whim of a couple of mad men. When the first film came out, it was directed by a couple of assistant directors, Chad Stahelski and David Leitchthat, who were more known for coordinating stunts for various movie projects than actually directing anything. However, they both worked on "John Wick", and they somehow struck gold.
Now, I may not love the original film as much as most people seem to, but it was an entertaining movie nonetheless. In fact, I'd easily put it up there with some of my top guilty pleasure films of all time like "The Expendable" series. Both aren't particularly well written franchises, but both feature amazing action scenes that are fun to watch. But to be fair, the stylized action scenes of the "John Wick" franchise is more unique in the way it was choreographed and shot, while "The Expendables" goes the more traditional over the top route that we're used to seeing from 90's action films, with big explosions and cliche one liners.
Both have fairly generically weak stories, with little to no emphasis on character, but they're fun to watch because of their action scenes. "John Wick: Chapter 2" picks up where the last film left off. John Wick continues to hunt down the crime family of the kid, who shot his dog and stole his car. Now that the son of a b***ch is dead along with his old man, John Wick seeks out the remaining member of the family that might pose a threat to him. After killing all of the henchmen, the mafia boss agrees to a truce, so John Wick can go back to his life of peace.
However, things get interesting, when another mysterious figure from his past shows up to hire him to do one last job before retiring again. John Wick refuses, but he may not have a choice. As it turns out, John Wick owes a life debt to a crime lord by the name of Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who granted him his freedom to walk away from organized crime ages ago. Originally, he was content to never call upon that debt, but upon hearing about John's temporary return to seek revenge against those that wronged him, he decides to collect on that favor; in spite of John's protests.
However, John Wick adamantly refuses, which prompts Santino to blow up his house, and nearly kill him. After discussing the situation with his confident, Winston (Ian McShane), John reluctantly agrees to carry out the job to kill Santino's elder sister. Upon her death, Santino takes her place within the power structure of the crime world, while putting a seven million dollar bounty on John's head.
With almost every would be assassin after him, John must use all his resources in order to survive this ordeal. Like the first movie, there's a lot of pointless moments that never go anywhere, and the dialogue is poorly written for the most part. There's another cop asking if John is back from retirement, which never goes anywhere, nor does it add anything to the film. Or around the end, when John Wick says in response to Winston's threat, "Whoever comes, I'll kill them. I'll kill them all." Yeah, this is hardly stellar writing at it's finest.
Hell, they don't even make it a secret that they're assassins either. In almost half the action scenes, they shoot guns at each other in broad freaking daylight. And you want to know what's funnier? All the people in the background don't even act like anything is wrong. You'd almost swear that seeing people shoot each other on the freaking street was a natural thing for them.
Having said all of that, I would be lying if I said it wasn't kind of cool on how well the action scenes were handled. In one particular scene, John is being attacked by a violin playing woman, while simultaneously the scene jump cuts to him fighting a three hundred pound Asian guy a bit later, and then jumps back in between both fight sequences. It's a bit jarring at first, but it's brilliant in how well the scene itself was choreographed, shot and edited, from a technical stand point. And, it definitely helps the film standout from all the other generic action movies out there.
I also loved how well the climax was shot, as John had his final showdown with most of the main villains in a fun house mirror room, where the director, Chad Stahelski, utilized the environment perfectly. Creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that only heightened the suspense further, while creating one helluva a stylized action scene.
While "John Wick: Chapter 2" won't blow anyone away with it's writing like the "Jason Bourne" films have recently, it does feature a lot of unique stylized action scenes that make it entertaining to watch.
If you're yearning to see a great popcorn flick with a lot of uniquely shot action sequences, then I'd highly recommend both "John Wick" movies. But if you're yearning for something more, then you might not find it here.
© 2017 Steven Daniels