I was worried after seeing the posters and trailer that John Wick: Chapter 2 would just be a rehash of the original, maybe someone else would steal his car and kill his new dog, I remember saying “if another fucking dog dies” I will walk out. Thankfully the plot is pretty original and does what all good sequels should, builds on the existing universe to tell a new story.
The plot picks up almost immediately after the events of the first John Wick movie, John (Keanu Reeves) has just murdered the little bastard that killed his dog (a parting gift from his dead wife) and stole his car (something that holds fond memories of his time with his wife). In the opening scene he retrieves his car, the only way he knows how, high octane ass-kicking. After returning home, John is greeted by an old friend, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), it turns out that John gave him a token, (basically I’ll do any one thing you ask) years ago and Santino has come to collect. John of course refuses and que explosions, gun-fights and martial arts, I won’t go into much more as I don’t wish to spoil.
(all that’s missing is an explosion!)
I really love the characters in this movie and the John wick universe as a whole, they are well written and they’re all given enough personality and charm to keep them interesting, but enough remains hidden to keep them a mystery. It goes without saying that Reeves delivers the same awesome performance he did in the previous movie, a wronged man out for revenge, who lets his gun do the talking.
Ian McShane’s character “Winston” the hotel manager is a particular favourite of mine. He houses some of the world’s most deadly people but can silence them with a word or a sharp look. Riccardo Scamarcio as the bad guy Santino D’Antonio, was a joy to hate, he was equal parts devious and stupidly cocky, and Scamarcio made the character come to life with every word that oozed out of his mouth.
(It’s such a punchable face)
What I liked
First off, it’s an original movie. Not a remake, reboot or based off a book or comic, an honest to god original script, hopefully this will lead to Hollywood taking more risks on original work.
The thing I liked most about the movie was the world that has been created. It is a neo-noir world filled with well-dressed assassins, who have their own currency, shops and hotels. Most of who view their profession as nothing more than business, rarely are there any hard feelings. For example, after killing a high profile target John clashes with her bodyguard, they fight to the death but once they both reach “continental ground” the fight stops and they go for a drink.
The fight choreography is also amazing, it was a great blend of “Gun Fu” and martial arts, and I felt that the fight scenes really stood apart from other movies. While gun-fu and martial arts are nothing new to action movies, in this it felt like a fresh take on both of them, Reeves does a great job imposing his own spin on them, making them feel original.
What I disliked
To be honest there was very little to dislike about John Wick: Chapter 2, the only thing I disliked was the casting choice of Ruby Rose who played the character of Ares. Ruby Rose is an abysmal actress, and I make that statement based solely on her performance in this movie. She appeared awkward anytime she moved, and she did this weird open mouth face thing where she wouldn’t close her mouth. The only saving grace of the character was that she was mute; I however have a sneaking suspicion that the character was originally meant to talk but Rose was so awful they said “Fuck it! Make her mute, I’m not listening to this bollocks!”
(Ugh! Just so awful!)
In this reviewer’s humble opinion John Wick: Chapter 2 is a great action movie with a surprisingly gripping story to it, some great characters and a host of amazing actors, it is definitely worth your time.