John Wick: Chapter 2

  • Directed by Chad Stahelski
  • January 30, 2017 (Los Angeles premiere) / February 10, 2017 (US)

John Wick is forced back into the life of a killer to fulfill a blood oath that had originally set him free.

The plot of John Wick: Chapter 2 is pretty basic. John Wick has to kill all the bad guys because he made a promise and his marker gets called in. That’s it! In other words, John Wick’s (Keanu Reeves) past comes back to haunt him. And the more the movie goes on, the more the world he left behind entraps him until by the end there is no escape. Sequels!

You watch the John Wick films to watch John Wick kick ass in well-choreographed, intense scenes in a film (which ever one it is) with heavy doses of cool and style. John Wick is an unstoppable force of nature. He shows up on the scene and takes out everyone that comes at him. That little tidbit there taps into a fantasy many if not all have about being an unstoppable force should the situation require it. And it also helps to draw the audience in.

One of my favorite moments in Chapter 2 is not any particular action scene, but rather when John goes to The Continental in Italy and he’s using the hotel services to prep for fulfilling the blood oath. John goes to the Sommelier (Peter Serafinowicz) but rather than be involved with wine this sommelier is the hotel’s weapons dealer. Yet the whole exchange is treated as a high-end wine tasting. The whole exchange borders on surreal.

Characters that can return do return but are not forced in with larger presences than necessary because they were previously in a popular film. Aurelio (John Leguizamo) for example comes back but only long enough to get custody of John’s car in order to fix it. Charon (Lance Reddick), the concierge at the Continental Hotel in New York, comes in and does what is logical for his part in the story. Winston (Ian McShane) gets his relationship with John expanded upon but only so far as it pertains to what John is experiencing. There are no long heartfelt exchanges between he and John that ultimately add nothing to the main story.

This is a movie done without an eye toward pleasing the egos of the actors but rather towards crafting a satisfying narrative. The film industry needs to take a lesson from that. Craft towards telling the story rather than pleasing the growing ego of somebody that got a good review. It’s something that ultimately serves the end product better.

New to this series is Lawrence Fishburne as The Bowery King with a connection to John Wick’s past that even Wick is unaware of. Normally such things are rather annoying and meant to throw things into chaos of what is ultimately a repeat of the first film. It makes sense without coming off as forced. It also for the second time in the film Wick is known to have demonstrated a certain level of mercy to people. The first in this film was when he stabs Cassian (Common) in such a way that should he remove the knife he’ll die, but if he keeps it in he could seek help and live.

As hinted at The Bowery King received a neck wound that required him to keep pressure upon it. Anyway The Bowery King’s addition also makes this world a lot weirder yet strangely logical. As with the last one, Wick functions in a hidden world that’s open and all around us. It has its own rules and its way of functioning that’s not weird but rather has a unique logic.

Our villain Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) is the jerky brother of Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) and plans on using John to kill her in order to get her seat at the High Table which is a council of twelve powerful crime bosses. Santino is all plotting and power hungry while there seems to be a bit of honor and a penchant for theatrics with Gianna.

Chapter 2 is a movie you could watch with the sound off and thoroughly enjoy. First of all the acting conveys a story that can be visually followed. Even if you didn’t know what they were saying you would have a strong idea of what was going on. You would understand what was what and where somebody stood based on body language and expression. But also it’s just beautiful to look at. It has a style to it all whether you are in The Continental or the city streets.

Most importantly there are no real dead spots in the narrative. Aside from an establishing shot when the setting moves there is action of some type on the screen. Either combat or what’s generally going on contributes to the overall narrative. Character development comes with plot development and the plot is always developing.

This is not all cool action though. If it had been it would have been an entertaining yet forgettable diversion. What makes this stand out is the logic of the world in which John Wick exists. Even the casual viewer can follow what goes on here. They give you enough in-story information to understand what is what and how actions will be impacted or what the impact of actions is. Nothing is out of left field or just thrown in. It all makes sense, and her procedures naturally.

Each character is unique. You can tell them apart when you think on the story. Nobody blurs together because they are bland and indistinct. John is different than Cassian and Winston is different than Charon and so forth. Each brings something special to the table. Each character presented is necessary for things to unfold as they do. Remove one and things would change.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a fantastic addition to the John Wick series as well as the action genre. It built upon what came before while managing to be just as good as the original. For fans of action movies this is a must see!

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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