One of the best and most surprising action films in recent years was 2014’s John Wick, and with this sequel yet again directed by Chad Stahelski, he proves that the John Wick franchise will go down as one of the most memorable action film franchises in years.
Following the events of the previous film, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is now making a return to his job, only to find out that somebody has put a large bounty on his head.
When John Wick was released back in 2014, it took myself, and the rest of the world by complete surprise, mainly because action films up until then, had not been that impressive in years. Stahelski went in and directed one of the most intense and entertaining action films we could have possibly hoped for. It also had a lot of emotional moments, as Reeves’ Wick was a character that you felt immense sympathy for after the fate of loved ones. When he went out for revenge during that film, you genuinely wanted him to win.
Unfortunately, the story that is present in Chapter 2 is not anywhere near as compelling as the story in the 2014 original. In the first film, he did not go out killing people just because – he did it because a group of people went out their way to kill his wife, his dog, and stole his car in the process. Whereas in this film, it is not really a revenge story, as he is simply trying to find the person who put a bounty on his head, which has been done many times before in film.
Something the filmmakers did manage to improve with Chapter 2 was the amazing action sequences. The first motion picture did have some brilliantly choreographed and well thought out scenes of action, but this sequel improves upon it drastically. From the opening scene, the audience is thrust right into the chaos that is Wick’s world, and it is gripping to see. Chapter 2 is basically every action film fan’s dream come true.
Additionally, the camera work by Dan Laustsen is gorgeous. His work on this film is truly amazing, and it is honestly one of the best looking action films I have seen in such a long time.
Also Reeves’ acting is exceptional this time around, as well. Reeves has proved countless times that he is extraordinary in front of the camera, and Chapter 2 is no exception. Laurence Fishburne, who portrays The Bowery King, is also excellent here, even if his appearance is brief.
The biggest flaw with Chapter 2 is unfortunately, its ending. It honestly baffled me how lazy and goofy the ending of this film truly is. When I was watching it unfold before my eyes for the first time, I could not believe what I was watching, as it was one of the worst endings to a film I have seen in a long time. It was essentially a deus ex machina.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is an extremely entertaining thrill-ride with excellent choreography and beautiful camera work, even if its ending is disappointing.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence throughout, some language and brief nudity
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Running Time: 122 minutes