“John Wick Chapter 2 excels forward from the previous outing and then some”

John Wick: Chapter 2” is the second instalment in the Lionsgate produced John Wick movie series directed by Chad Stahelski and stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, Claudia Gerini  and Ian McShane. The film revolves around former assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) following the events of the first movie where he tasks himself with the assassination of Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) after he blows up John Wick’s home, for anyone who is familiar with his talents after the first movie, this kind of escalation really doesn’t sit well with Wick and audiences can probably fill in the blanks on what happens next. Throughout the film, Ares (Ruby Rose), a mute enforcer and assassin for Scamarcio’s character and Cassian (Common), a bodyguard for Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) act as physical antagonists for Wick.

First off, it cannot be stated enough times just how much Reeves infuses life into his character and makes him really work on the big screen. It ranks this as one of his much better roles throughout the years and puts it up there with Neo from The Matrix. Reeves’ performance made you feel a lot of different feelings throughout his run on the big screen. Audiences will find themselves chuckling at some of the film’s humourous moments such as preparing for some of the action set pieces throughout the film along with his various interactions with supporting characters and antagonists. As well as that, audiences can find themselves feeling a sense of triumph as well as a sense of fear towards other action sequences and foreboding with the organic sequel set up as we follow Wick throughout the movie. Coupling this with the cinematography of Dan Laustsen as well as choreography by Eric Brown, Jonathan Eusebio and many others involved, it creates a tight action movie that can embody a fun revenge fantasy.

Compared to the first movie whereby the action was rather streamlined, the sequel wastes no time in trying to overwhelm Wick as he goes around the world and he barely catches a break. If I had to compare some of the smaller action sequences to any other particular movie this year, I would suggest the recent release of Fox’s Logan. Both films tend to appeal to a similar audience and both pretty much check off the lists one from that audience would want to see in a film like this. In Logan, you are reminded why he is the top dog, here you are reminded why Wick is also the top dog of this movie and it takes the background legend of the “Babayaga” that was built up in the previous movie by various characters and actually takes the time to show you why.

A new feature the sequel provides is that compared to the first movie, the sequel provides more note-worthy characters that Reeves’ plays off of who are more easily remembered. Having Ruby Rose and Common in the movie provides interesting and unique character interactions. You feel a sense of history between the connections present. Wick sells this well especially with his use of humourous sign language interaction with Ares for example.

Another new feature this film provides is a big sense of world-building that felt organic compared to other franchises out there both throughout the movie and towards the end of the movie. The cinematography and effectively puts you in the rollercoaster ride where you see the world of assassins unfold around you. It also in way could serve as a future basis for other movies should Lionsgate want to expand this universe without force. I particularly found myself enjoying and raising my eyebrows at the final moments of that movie where we see just how many people could be out for Wick’s head in future movies. The acting provided by extras as well the camera angles that zoom itself backward coupled with the tracking shots really do give a sense to what could be next and it’s rather scary for all of us in a good way.

Overall, John Wick Chapter 2 excels forward from the previous outing and then some. The movie sets up a world around Wick providing more note-worthy characters and introduces world-building without feeling too forced. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Score: 9/10

John Wick Chapter 2 is in cinemas now.

Photo: StudioCanal