John Wick was one of the better action movies, well received both critically and generally. The plot was rather thin, but the action scenes and minimalist story made up for it. The sequel builds on the foundation laid by the prequel and improves on a lot of aspects. The story gets a few additional layers to it as the underground world is revealed to us in more detail with introduction to a few more characters. The action sequences are even better this time, and the director, Chad Stahelski, a stuntman himself, has retained the elements which contributed to the success of the first film.
Continuing from where the first part ended, an Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio pays a visit to John Wick who is indebted to him for a help he took in the past. D’Antonio asks John Wick to honour his blood oath. John Wick declines to help saying he has retired and tells him to find someone else. Santino is livid by John’s response so he burns his house down in anger. John is left with no option but to seek Santino due to some codes which everyone in the underworld community must abide by. Santino tells John that he should kill his sister so that he can have her seat in the high table. Santino later announces an open contract worth $7m to kill John because he knows John is going to seek revenge. In a series of intense action scenes, John brutally kills whoever comes after him. Since John has broken the rules, another contract is released to kill him. In the open ending, John is running away with his dog, from where the next installment may begin.
Keanu Reeves is appropriate for the role of John. His stoic disposition suits the character who just wants to be left alone. He only means business which gives him a certain dark charm. He kills more people in this chapter, as Santino’s sister Gianna calls Wick a ‘death apprentice’ who can never stop killing. It also features the sickening Pencil trick which very effectively sums up the fear which surrounds John Wick. Riccardo Scamarcio has done well as Santino. Technically the film is sound and the overall focus is directed towards maintaining pace and action throughout the film. One thing which can be said about chapter 2 is that it lacks a purpose as it is distracted by various subplots which weren’t the case with the prequel.
John Wick Chapter 2 is at its thrilling best not during the long fight scenes but the build-up leading up to them. The one thing which goes wrong here is too many inconsequential and long fight scenes which could have been avoided. But there is an audience who roots for that and to serve them is the highest priority for the director. Though Derek Kolstad has given us a better story in Chapter 2, sadly it doesn't translate into a better movie as the treatment is rather inept. It appears as if the director is playing safe here, consciously refraining from getting too wound up within the subplots, focusing instead on its USP—the jaw-dropping fight scenes. The result is a film much too congruous to its prequel, limited in scope and lacking in ambition.
The genre lovers are going to drool over John Wick Chapter 2. The violence is visual, action is fast paced and overall a good entertainer so if you’re in such a mood then it is worth a watch.
John Wick: Chapter 2 Trailer (YouTube)
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