Yes. he’s back, and he’s on a rampage again. The first John Wick film was a surprise for many people who went to check it out. We all laughed, thinking that this would show us just how washed up Keanu Reeves is. Oh, how wrong we were. John Wick ended up surprising everyone.
From the amazingly choreographed gun kata/ gun fu scenes, the endless head shots, and the amazing world-building made this an instant cult classic. I was lucky enough to see John Wick Chapter 2 in theaters a few months back, but only got around to this review recently. Here’s what I thought.
The world building continues
Yes, they go even deeper into the world beneath our world. We explore more locations of the Continental Hotel in other places around the world. I guess they run a franchise? We are also introduced to a bunch of interesting new main characters, as well additional factions within the underground sub-culture of hitmen.
The most impressive thing about the world building in the film is that they manage to convey the enormity of it, while getting into (some of) the details of the new parts of the world they are introducing us to, all within a run time of just over 2 hours.
That’s pretty impressive, considering that many shows on TV fail to do the same with seasons spanning anywhere from 6 to 20-odd episodes.
The best part about the new world is the introduction of the character played by Laurence Fishburne, known as the Bowery King, a sort of underground king of vagabonds. It’s a cool concept, but it’s also just cool as hell seeing Fishburne and Reeves share the screen again, like this epic reunion of The Matrix.
The character is exceptionally eccentric, and throws us into the crazy world beneath the world we live in. Worldception. Yes, I said it. I must say that some of his lines were a bit ridiculous, but for some reason we all just allow this kind of theatrical shit with the John Wick franchise, and you know what? I’m okay with that.
This is another character I’d love to see explored in more detail in future installments, or even in supporting material. Someone give us a John Wick graphic novel, please! I mean one that doesn’t just showcase the films, but perhaps a series that explores more of this epic universe. *Editors Note: They are not developing a John Wick TV Series that will be a prequel. Say WHAT? Prayers have been answered.*
The baddies have more depth
I have to single out Common’s character here. He plays Cassian, the bodyguard of a woman at the centre of a much bigger conspiracy in this world of hit men (and women). We get to see someone who’s just like John, fighting for something he believes in, even if he’s not on the same side as our protagonist. It would be cool to explore this character in more detail, if you asked me.
Another thing to note is how we see the lines kind of blurred when it comes to morality. I mean, come on, we’re talking about the morality of a group of people who kill other people for a living.
So I guess we can’t expect too much; however we can view this in relation to John, who we (for some weird reason, since he’s the boogeyman and basically the devil in the hit man world) empathise with. The morality of characters in the universe is based on how they treat John, and we definitely get an understanding that this operates on a spectrum.
The action is super creative
I don’t feel like I need to mention this. The thing everyone was looking forward to the most was how the next chapter would pan out, not necessarily in terms of the story (I mean, that’s definitely important), but our fascination was around what they would do next in terms of the fighting and shootouts.
As I mentioned at the top of this review, the thing that attracted most people to the first installment in this franchise was how well the action was shot and choreographed.
Everyone is in on this. Keanu Reeves trained like an insane person to make sure he could do everything that John Wick can do (for the most part). On top of this, the people behind this film have been working in stunt coordination for ages, and this shines through in the direction and the cinematography.
Where a conventional director would take certain movements for granted, or (god forbid) go with the shaky cam effect to showcase action, the creators of John Wick Chapter 2 continue with their clinical approach, filming the action with as much precision as John Wick executes head shots.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed John Wick Chapter 2. I’m looking forward to the next installment, and I’m keen to see how much they plan on growing this world into the future.
See it/ Don’t see it?: Yeah you should see this. It’s bloody, it’s action packed, and it’s crazy. So make sure you see this with someone who’s up for the crazy journey.
You can watch the first trailer for John Wick below:
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