John Wick, The Boogeyman, The Devil, returns for a second chapter in this revenge, gun fu, thriller, and if you think he’s lost any of his edge from 2014 you are dead wrong. Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the tenacious Mr. Wick, and he is leaving behind him a trail of bodies that have suffered from a dying case of bullets to the head.
If you are a fan of the first John Wick, then you are defiantly going to enjoy this movie. Chad Stahelski, who directed the first movie, reprises his directorial role and brings back just as much grit and violence that made the first film so enjoyable. The film is not without a few issues, but overall it is a very fun time at the movie theaters, and I completely feel should be seen in a movie theater with great picture and the best sound possible. You will not be disappointed.
Starting off with the positives; I need to give a shout-out to the cinematographer, Dan Laustsen, who beautifully shot not only the fight scenes in a way that I could actually see what’s going on (no “shaky cam”), but also beautifully captures the backdrops and landscapes of Rhome and New York. There were times in the film where I said, out-loud, “wow, that is a gorgeous shot.” The movie was a visual treat for the eyes. And did I mention no “shaky cam?”
Also, of course, the violence. Such sweet violence. Just like the first film, John Wick is out for blood after he is wronged by someone who has a lot of expendable guys working for him, and those guys are in desperate needs of a few bullet holes in them. And Mr. Wick is the one to administer those bullet holes. Just like the last film, it is very entertaining to watch. There were several times within the movie where I winced, or jumped, or both, due to the action taking place on screen. Also, something I noticed different about this movie that is a very welcome improvement was the sound design. The sound, especially during action heavy scenes, is very clear and loud. You hear every bone break, you feel the boom of the guns, and the vehicles roar in every chase scene. Having this complements the scenes very well, and I believe added to my enjoyment of the movie.
Lots of positives in John Wick: Chapter 2, however, there are some negatives that need addressing.
The acting in the movie isn’t great. Now, in any other movie this would hold more weight in a review. However, great Oscar winning acting is not why you go to see the movie, obviously. You go to watch a high-octane action movie with over the top violence. Also, the first film didn’t have great acting either, so this seems like a minor complaint.
Also, there is an individual character I wish they had been done better. Laurence Fishburne’s character I believe was not fleshed out enough, and, possibly, was miscast. He seemed a little out of place in the film, and it took me out for a bit. The character himself was intriguing, but I do think someone else could have played him better.
Lastly, there was a small pacing problem. There were two times during the movie where we go from high, fast pace action, to slowing way down. I did appreciate it at first because it allowed for more world building, but in both scenes, they did seem to stretch on a little too long. However, once things started ramping up again I was back in and enjoying the hell out of the action.
Overall, as stated already, go watch this movie! It is a great time at the theater to shove popcorn in your mouth and watch over the top violence. The hitman type world in which John Wick is a part of is very interesting and is very immersive. Watching him kill wave, after wave of bad guys with head shot, after headshot, is very entertaining. I’m giving John Wick: Chapter 2 a score of 4/5 on pure entertainment value alone. Go see this movie