The first John Wick is the definition of a sleeper hit. When it dropped in 2015, it looked like another generic revenge movie, but it turned out to be a terrific, action blast. John Wick: Chapter 2 is bigger, bloodier and builds on everything that happened in its predecessor. You better believe it: the second chapter is even better.
As shown in the previous film, John Wick lives in a world with its own rules. Criminals run riot, cops don’t enforce the law, and everyone adheres to a strict code. John Wick: Chapter 2 picks up a few days after the events of the first film where John Wick tracks down his stolen car. From here, a visit from a nasty crime lord sees Mr Wick go on a rampage against his will, having been bound by an unbreakable “blood oath”. Chapter 2 isn’t a recycle of the first movie, as it explores the mythology of the criminal underworld in more detail and the result is never-ending action.
The gunplay and fights are infinitely satisfying. While the combat is gritty and brutal, it has a quirky undertone. Many action movies demand you to get on board with the overblown plots and stories, but that’s not the case here. What separates John Wick from the rest is its style and in how it doesn’t take itself seriously. While watching this movie won’t do much for your brain, it’s a stunning action film. There’s always a new location, different characters and more surprises from John himself, as he shoots and smashes his way past various bad guys.
There’s a lot to absorb in the world of John Wick. It’s very detailed, never contrived and it’s funny, too. Most of the laughs are tension reliefs, but we don’t see the jokes coming like we don’t know who John Wick is going to fight next. And of course, Reaves is insane as the title character. I didn’t think he would play another hero quite as memorable as Neo, from The Matrix trilogy, but boy was I wrong. It’s a role he’ll be remembered for in years to come.
Still, even an action film as stylish as this can become tiresome. There was a point towards the end where I’d had enough of all the shooting, shooting, shooting. But that’s okay. I’d already soaked up all the heart-racing action to last me a lifetime, and I’m sure you will too.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is a FUN movie. Sure, it’s one dimensional and hasn’t got a lot to say in terms of an actual storyline, but it’s a relentless, incredible shoot em’ up. Bring on Chapter 3.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reaves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne
Run Time: 122 minutes.