The Boogeyman has had a lot of different forms over the years from grotesque features, grossly deformed into the vision of nightmares to a man with slicked back hair and a… depressed look on his face? No, I’m not delirious my friends, but the reference I made is to the codename of John Wick, the legendary assassin of 2014. After a thrilling, and complete conclusion, one may have thought Wick’s journey ended there. Obviously, Hollywood did not think so and thus comes Chapter 2 of the action adventure and whatever, random target that is assigned. Robbie K here, and today we take a look at John Wick: Chapter 2. Let’s get started!
- Dry sense of humor
- Visuals and special effects
- Stable camera work
- Lots of action and excitement
Summary: There isn’t much in regards to John Wick, so finding a like outside of action, but one component is the dry sense of humor this film has. Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a man of few words, but the few he speaks are worth a good laugh. The writers win points for a dialogue that is both pun filled and classy, timing them at key points to maximize laughs while sticking to the stoic nature of our players.
Yet the humor is just an added bonus to what is John Wick’s strongest feature, the action. All the reviews are in agreement that Wick is back with more action than ever imagined, as this one-man army unleashes a storm of well-placed bullets, knife slashing (and sometimes pencil) stand offs, and Marshal Arts punches. Wick’s skills with a pistol (among other weaponry) are intense displays of choreography, proving that you can coordinate extras dying to imaginary wounds in an exciting way. The hand-to-hand combat also gets points, not quite as developed as the 70s and 80s movies, but still an enjoyable element to mix things up. Helping support all the action is impressive special effects, which adds the extra flare and touch that gets our hearts pumping (e.g. explosions, crashes, and comic book bashing sounds). You can guess there is plenty of blood to go around too (for you gore seeking fans), which adds more to the chaos and violence at hand that somehow… adds a bit of satisfaction to the mix. But even better, is the entire film has stable camera work that keeps you scoped on the action without making you vomit due to vertigo. Overall, this exciting package gets two thumbs up in its etiquette, design, and impressive work on the action.
- Keanu’s acting (at times)
- Simplistic story
- Overstepping boundaries at times
- Some fights a bit blocky
- Unorthodox presentation
- Slower parts a bit…too slow
Summary: While we never expected an academy for this performance, there are times where Keanu’s acting is a bit too lax. His lines are meant to be serious, but come out awkward, effortless, and sometimes bored at the unoriginal dialogue. While this certainly isn’t a big weakness, there are moments where this acting took away Wick’s awesome factor, or made me chuckle unintentionally.
Acting aside, the story is another limiting factor that Wick really needs some fine tuning on. Yes, I know story isn’t the main theme of this series (hence why I make a genre rating people), but movie overall this film’s plot is a little less put together than its predecessor. A random guy shows up, tells a vague back story to establish a weak connection, and then becomes another revengeful chase across two cities. All the convoluted (shallowly explained) relationships and teases did nothing but make more targets for Wick and did nothing to add to the story for me.
Finally, while the action is indeed awesome and well done, there are still a few limitations that hit this quality. First, those who aren’t fans of repetitive gun play and headshots, need to skip this film…because that is a majority of the action. But outside of repetition, the action sometimes oversteps the boundaries of realism. A car mercilessly being smashed (and smashing) yet still running, a number of injuries that magically heal, and the inaccuracy of other assassins are just some of the eye-rolling moments of this film. In addition, some of the fist fights get very blocky, have awkward pauses, or lack the edge (music and sound effects) that make the fighting less exciting and more we just extending screen time. Another component I didn’t like was how they reduced Wick’s fighting of other assassins to a messy set of montages that seemed out of place and were lackluster compared to Wick fighting off nameless extras. Such missed potential for memorable rivalries, and more diverse fights. And even more missed potential, was the slower parts not taking time to advance a story, or establish better character dynamics, which made for some dragged out moments.
Wick’s journey of revenge and killing is certainly more exciting than his last ordeal. The emphasis is on the action, with a majority of the film geared towards the stunts, effects, and violence, so adrenaline junkies strap up and hit the theater. However, if you are looking for the complete package of story, dynamics, and balance, then this film isn’t the right one for you. Wick still lacks a lot of other qualities in the movie overall category. Worth a trip to theater? Yes, as the special effects and excitement are made for the theater. But if you can’t handle extreme violence then skip!
Action/Crime/Thriller: 8 (for the action)
Movie Overall: 5