By: Samar Khan
John Wick reinvigorated my love for action films along with the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road in the past few years. The film resonated with audiences because it didn’t try to bite off more than it could chew; we got a tale of a grieving hitman who takes revenge on a mob family that killed his dog. Simple plot with impressively high-end action sequences and stellar choreography throughout made the first John Wick a surprise hit in 2014. Less than 3 years later, its sequel improves on an already fantastic -and simple- foundation and gives us yet another action classic.
BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS
Just as with its predecessor, John Wick: Chapter 2 has an extremely simple premise that is not convoluted and ties in perfectly with plot points introduced in the original film. For fans of the first film, you may recall an early plot development where some characters mention that John Wick completed an “impossible task” to get out of being a bad guy. Well, the sequel addresses that “impossible task” as the man that made John Wick accomplishing said task possible shows up to ask for his repayment. Cue a tale of double-crossing and revenge and bam, you have John Wick: Chapter 2.
The Plot. Not every plot has to be complex in order for a film to succeed. The creators of the John Wick films understand this and deliver a plot that is just as simple as the first film with how easy it is to understand and for how it makes the film easy for even series newcomers to jump into.
The Acting. Don’t get me wrong, nobody will be winning any Oscars for their role in this film but every single person that shows up plays their role well. Keanu Reeves returns as our titular star and uses his stoicism to enhance his “badass-ery”, complementing his fantastic martial arts skills that the director allows him to showcase on screen.
Riccardo Scamarcio. I had zero idea who this gentleman was prior to watching this film but I am definitely a fan of the Italian star. Following in the footsteps of Michael Nyqvist and Alfie Allen‘s sublime turn as the villains of the original John Wick film, Scamarcio delivers a villain that is equal parts smooth and cowardly. In other words, he delivers a performance that encapsulates the best of both villains from the first film and somehow makes it his own.
The Soundtrack and Sound Mixing. Man, oh man, what a fantastic soundtrack. From the song playing in the opening chase sequence to the wonderful score overlaying the numerous action sequences to the fantastic tune that plays in the final scene of the movie, the sound was on point. Couple that with how legitimately realistic each gun and vehicle sounded as well as how believable the sound of numerous bones in the film breaking shows that the creators of the film paid careful attention to detail here. Seriously, this is an underrated quality of great films and video games that deserve more recognition.
Fight Choreography. If one were to put almost any actor not named Keanu Reeves into this film, the film would not work because of the numerous cuts and edits that would be necessary to mask the deficiencies of a lead actor or stunt double. The John Wick films succeed because Reeves has a background in martial arts and performs the majority of his own stunts, which reduces the need for excessive editing and allows the audience to stay firmly immersed. Here’s to Reeves returning for John Wick 3.
The World Building. A lot of people were worried that a sequel to John Wick would fail because the film creators would focus on the details of Wick’s past and ruin the mysterious aura of said past by not being able to live up to expectations. Thankfully, that was not an issue as the film focuses on expanding the world but provides more glimpses into the intricacies of the “John Wick Universe” (the hitman network and the Continental Hotel hitman chain are two examples of these additional details that flesh out the world).
Ian McShane. His name should be enough to sell you on this film.
Waiting for John Wick 3. I’d rather not wait 3 years for a sequel but if it will be as great a sequel as the second film was, I’m all for waiting.
Limited/Wasted Cameos. While not a real gripe in terms of how it affected the film, additional time being devoted to Laurence Fishburne‘s Bowery King (and his gleefully playful dialogue with Reeve’s Wick character) or to Claudia Gerini‘s character would have been appreciated.
We here at The Film Lawyers are proud to award John Wick: Chapter 2 with a grade of B+ (8.0/10).