“John Wick: Chapter 2” stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane. Released on February 10, 2017, the film has John Wick going on the run when a bounty is placed on his head.
The film is directed by Chad Stahelski, and it is a sequel to the 2014 action thriller, John Wick, which is also directed by Stahelski. This was on my list of the most anticipated films of 2017 because as usual, I like action movies, and from the looks of the marketing, it looks like it could be as good as the original. John Wick was a surprise hit with critics and action fans three years ago and because of that, the filmmakers decided to turn it into an action-packed franchise. While I didn’t see the first movie in the theater, I did manage to see it at home, and I got to admit, it was very entertaining. Most action sequels tend to fall flat compared to their predecessors because they focus more on entertaining their audience with the action rather than delivering a solid story to go with the action. Does this one suffer the same fate as the other action sequels? A little, but it knows what made its predecessor work and stuck with it.
Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the title character, who comes out of retirement once again to take on a dangerous mission. Reeves once again embodies a man who is not only badass, but also vulnerable as well. He really wants to leave his violent life behind, but somebody has to pull him back in. His magnetic performance is one of the qualities that really made the original and its sequel thrilling. Scamarcio’s portrayal as the film’s antagonist was pretty menacing, but not enough to make him memorable. The film also features Reeves and Laurence Fishburne (who plays an underground crime lord) in the same scene together for the first time since the Matrix trilogy, which was worth a watch to those who watched the Matrix films. The film did a great job at maintaining the style and tone of this violent world that its predecessor was known for thanks to its cinematography and Stahelski’s flawless direction. The action sequences in the sequel are just as eye-catching and violent as ever, and they’re more stunning than the ones in the original. What made the action work in the John Wick films is that the editor allowed the audience to see what was going on between Wick and the bad guys without relying on the quick cuts that most action films are known for. Not only that, but it also didn’t rely on making the action as over-the-top as it possibly can (That’s the Fast and Furious’ job). I think that newcomers in the action genre business should take a look at this and the original as examples on how to make a proper action film. My only problem with the film was the story itself. The story in the predecessor was a revenge tale that was well-told in terms of a strong main character. Here, the story is just an average on-the-run thriller that didn’t really offer anything new to the table. The film also has some slow parts, but it knows how to make them as engaging as the action itself.
Overall, despite its average on-the-run storyline, “John Wick: Chapter 2” still offers the same ingredients that made the original work. Keanu Reeves was great as the title character, the action sequences were stunning and well-shot, and the style and tone were handled marvelously. I happened to like this one a bit more than the first film because of the action, but in terms of the story, the original still reigns supreme. If you love the first film or you just love to watch action films, you’re going to like this one a lot.