Say what you want about Keanu Reeves’ acting chops, but the man knows how to commit to a role and own it.
“John Wick: Chapter 2” is the sequel to Reeves’ 2014 sleeper hit, “John Wick.” The original movie, about a retired hitman going on a manhunt for the Russian gangster that killed his dog, became a surprise success for its impressive cinematography and fantastic fight scenes.
My hopes were high for the sequel, so I was prepared to be let down. To my shock, “Chapter 2” did not merely match the original – it succeeded it in multiple ways.
“John Wick: Chapter 2,” takes place directly after the first movie’s events, where the titular character has ended his feud and wishes to settle down again. Unfortunately for him, an unpaid blood oath with an Italian crime lord forces him back into action, leading him to battle against mercenaries and assassins in the heart of Rome and New York City.
The film takes a while to get the plot rolling, but when it does, the action is nail-biting and the plot is peppered with enough twists and turns to keep viewers in suspense. Summer action movie fans will love the intense moments of Reeves breaking necks and landing headshots, while hardcore fans will relish the attention to detail put into the fight scenes. Like in the first film, the character still reloads weapons frequently and gets slowed down by injuries.
The audio had a strong “punch” to it, adding more emphasis to the movie’s scenes. The soundtrack boomed to raise the excitement in the frequent one-versus-many gunfights, while the sound effects hammered home just how hard each strike and slash would hit.
Though “Chapter 2” might appear to be a brainless action movie, it does have some amount of self-awareness and clever world building. The Continental, the shadowy assassins’ guild that appeared in the first film, gets more screen time and development here. Audiences get a closer look at the inner workings of their code of honor, along with the consequences of violating it.
While the movie may sound perfect, it did have some problems with it. The buildup to the main plot felt excessively-delayed, and the stakes get somewhat absurd by the climax. Just how many would seriously be willing to take out John Wick, an assassin with a body count in the hundreds who is most known for killing three men with a pencil? A great deal of people, according to the film. “John Wick: Chapter 2” is rated R for strong violence, some language, and brief nudity. Its runtime is slightly over two hours.
Unless you’re squeamish about blood and violence, “John Wick: Chapter 2” is a must see. It is a rare action film that drops shaky cam and confusing camera angles in favor of fluid sequences and real-life fighting techniques.