Before he is the leading face from The Matrix, Keanu Reeves made his name from top billing action films such as Point Break and Speed, two of the most iconic action films in the 1990s. Although I don't think he is a good actor, but I can't deny his dedication to his role in his films.
The first John Wick film was a sleeper hit, it did not gather much attention until late into its box office life, but it was a damn fine action flick. John Wick is one of the action films in recent times, along with Mad Max: Fury Road, to try to restrain themselves from doing too much, no bombastic explosions, physics defying stunts, unkillable protagonists and etc.
I usually don't review sequels by showing the originals as I think films need to be viewed individually, while comparing one or two aspects of the originals. However, I can't help it but to embed a clip from John Wick, as it is just to awesome! The film spent the first 30 minutes to build up John Wick's character, how he was the bona fide hitman in his heyday. John Wick is not a man to be messed around, as paraphrasing characters in the movie, "He killed three man with a fucking pencil". So the first action scene after 30 minutes is such a huge pay off for the character, that sheer ruthlessness and precision are on display, and that's just the first action sequence! However, John Wick is not invisible, he can be beaten, that's what makes the film so intense as you never know how hard he's going to take.
John Wick: Chapter 2 looked like an extension to the first one, and it delivers. It essentially begins where John Wick left off, where Mr. Wick applies his finishing touch to his previous work. He begins to meet with his former accomplice to work on a job and well, shit happened. Due to this, John Wick starts off another rampage to get to the bottom of it.
While John Wick did not contain a excellent storyline by any means, the story itself was justifiable enough to drive John Wick's reason to go for a killing spree towards his enemies. Chapter 2, however, fell short in terms of story, Wick's continuation of rampage was slightly off in terms of execution. It was not bad by any means, it just kind of bland in comparison. I felt it could be a little better, but not a big minus, just that the drive was not as strong. One thing I like about John Wick and Chapter 2 is that it is a universe filled with notorious crime lords throughout the films, yet it did not felt the movie flooded you with needless expositions and character building.
However, Chapter 2 did get the key of John Wick right, the action sequences. The film followed the previous recipe of restrained actions, realistic stunt works, steady camerawork and a match up of similarly strong henchmen and villains to go against John Wick. The action sequences are throughout this film, from start to finish. It did stutter in some parts of the film, but not anything significant once the film got back the pace again. Most of the scenes were so restrained that even film students with rules applied by their lecturers can pull off, but the execution was so good and slick, that me and the audiences got all the thrills by just watching it. One particular sequence that stood out for me was that long brawl of John Wick and fellow hitman Cassian (played by Common), seeing them made the scene so clear cut of who is fighting who and both of them going against each other is immensely satisfying, not to mention that the scene ended in quite a humorous way.
I do want to point out, however, that I felt that the film's ending was a bit unrealistic, in terms of the execution. It is regarding the world of crime lords, it did felt a bit overblown, for me at least.
|Neo & Morpheus reunite in John Wick: Chapter 2|
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a slick and fine sequel to John Wick. It is so well-made because the film did not try to outdo the first one and kept itself from doing over the tops sequences like many action films do today (Fast & Fu *COUGH* Fast & Furious). The film kept itself grounded and simple, and it resulted in one of the slickest and most entertaining action film in recent years. John Wick is the spiritual successor to Die Hard for the 21st century.