John Wick Chapter 2 (REVIEW)
Written By Jacob Chimilar
The first movie was a sleeper hit that genre fans loved. I dug it even as someone who isn't a big fan of pure action movies. Chapter 2 picks up not long after the first and finds John still on the job, when a man comes to cash in on a favor John owes.
If you saw the first movie you know exactly what you are getting into with this one. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you want. It feels like John Wick just with some lesser stakes. He isn't in it for revenge, he is in it because he has to be and that takes away a lot from the film. It's just another job for him. He doesn't want to do it but he made a promise he can't go back on. Dropping this movie in with the set up of the first one I think would be the better movie as there is more background to enhance the world John Wick inhabits and half the fun of the first one was finding out just how connected John Wick is. In this one it is a lot less fresh I feel. The mystery of just how much of a bad ass this guy is, is gone. You know he can bring the carnage but it's not out of love, but obligation and that just isn't as compelling.
That said the action is pretty fun. Better than some other films but it could have used some more variation. It is a LOT of gun play and not as much hand to hand combat. The mix of the two proved to be the best of the bunch. Anyone can fire a gun, it's the creativity of how that gun is used that makes things exciting. Superhero films like Civil War and Deadpool were both masters of visually stunning and creative take downs and while John Wick doesn't have powers he is a very capable human being who I felt had more tricks up his sleeve than this movie showed. That said it was interesting to see him get bruised and beat up and still be so formidable as to ward off all those that crossed him.
As with the first film the lighting and direction were great, creating a consistently engaging visual experience. The gun shots were big loud and thumping to where my seat vibrated a bit on some of the bigger guns going off. Watching him gear up was fun and the last half proved to be a great time. It was just the first half that didn't really do much for me. The stakes just weren't as high. Once things got personal, that's when it got interesting and the violence more creative. If I had to choose I'd say the original is the better movie but this one has a more fleshed out universe.
If you enjoyed the first John Wick, chances are you'll find things to like in this one. I just found that without the mystery of just how much of a well connected bad ass John is and revenge plot no longer in play it loses it's edge and by extension my interest. There are some fun sequences and funny moments that made John Wick great but it is bogged down by being about 20 minutes too long and with a story that's middle felt a bit too "well we need to do this to get to the good stuff later". That said it does expand on the universe and gives us some cool action sequences and that subdued Keanu charm that made the first so much fun.