“Death’s emissary has returned.”
The walking embodiment of nightmares, John Wick returns for yet another tale of brutal vengeance. In the first chapter, John wreaks havoc upon those that stole his car and killed his dog, the last gift from his recently departed wife. In chapter 2, Wick is retrieving his car and extending a show of peace in hopes of returning to his once tranquil life. This of course can’t happen, nobody wants to see John Wick water his plants and pick up dog shit. We want bloody mayhem and believe me when I say, Chapter 2 is bloodsoaked bedlam and what a fun time it is.
I’ve read of comparisons between this franchise and another equally amazing combo of ass-kickery, The Raid and The Raid 2. The Raid is a much more contained, straight to the point action extravaganza. The Raid 2 sought after a larger scope of the criminal underworld established in the first. The John Wick films operate in a very similar manner. We see glimpses of another world in the first chapter but nothing is fully explained, just Keanu Reeves being the badass that he undeniably is. With Chapter 2 we find our anti-hero of sorts being forced back into the world he swore off and with him we follow into an amazing hidden realm of hired assassins and those that assist in the act of contract killing.
This time around the world of The Continental is widened from New York to Rome and beyond. It establishes a wide range of people from contract creating to clean-up crews to gun suppliers who act as more of a fine cuisine chef rather than a gun toting sociopath. Despite the dark nature of these characters’ work, the humor is plentiful and placed throughout for the perfectly timed chuckles and flat-out guttural laughs.
With this new chapter, the filmmakers didn’t try to reinvent the wheel they constructed the first time around, they simply expanded upon it and inflated it to epic proportions as it nearly bursts at the seems with gun-fu, kung-fu, car-fu(?) and just all around awesomeness. John Wick: Chapter 2 is an amazing, worthy follow-up to one of the best action films of recent memory. For me these films are right up there with Mad Max: Fury Road. I know, controversial. You can tell me how wrong I am, I don’t mind. But at the end of all these aforementioned films, including The Raid films, I was left in awe. I was amazed at the visuals and stunt performances by people I can only deem to be completely crazy, awesome, but nuts.
John Wick 2 is a wonderful example of a sequel done right. It maintains the look and feel of the first with amazing lighting, cinematography (NO annoying shaky-cam here!), beautiful stunt work, wonderful performances from the cast and a story that may not be as emotionally compelling, still has the ability to feel logical (in this world of absurdity) and unquestionably entertaining.
Long, uncut shots allow the audience to see Reeves, not his stuntman, REEVES, doing these insane stunts. Ranging from fishtailing in cars, hand to hand combat, and of course the much heralded gun-fu, the art of beating the shit out of someone and then shooting them as a sort of insult to injury finishing move. It’s him. It’s Reeves and there is zero attempt at hiding his face to conceal some inability to do even the most basic of things… like climbing a fence (Olivier Megaton, Taken 3, I’m looking at you).
If you love the first as I do, then I can’t recommend Chapter 2 enough. It’s exactly what you want it to be and so much more. John Wick kicking ass and taking names, what else can you really ask for?
Rated R For: strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity
Runtime: 122 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Laurence Fishburne
Directed By: Chad Stahelski
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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