Weekly Review: John Wick – Chapter 2 (2017)

John Wick’s return from retirement brings forth a person from his past and a job that he can’t refuse. Forced back into his old line of work, Wick soon finds himself a target as well.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is a sequel to the 2014 hidden gem, John Wick. Going into this sequel, I had some pretty high expectations. John Wick (2014) is one of my favorite films. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did at the time. The first film is a brilliant blend of perfectly choreographed action sequences and dark humor. I found it absolutely delightful.

John Wick was a pretty great comeback for Keanu Reeves who plays the titular character. It felt like this was the role he’d been made for. Whenever I forced (yes, I said forced) others to view how amazing it was, they were pleasantly surprised by Reeves in the role. He executes the choreography perfectly, and he just really fits.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 11.06.03 PM

When it comes to John Wick: Chapter 2, there is still that level of precision in fight choreography and Keanu Reeves continues to play the part well. There are many scenes that are highly reminiscent of the first film, including a club scene. In the first 20 minutes or so, there are many callbacks to the first film through dialogue that I found completely hilarious. In this way, John Wick: Chapter 2 attempts to keep the same feeling that the first film had, while attempting a completely different story.

In the end, it was the story of John Wick: Chapter 2 that didn’t hit me as hard as I would have liked. The first film had a pretty compelling revenge theme going for it. You wanted to see Wick get payback for what was done to him. In this sequel, we’re seeing the direct consequences of that revenge. It picks up almost immediately after the events of the first film, and keeps moving forward. It’s not necessarily a bad story, it just doesn’t have the same feeling going for it.

This was further demonstrated by what I felt were missed opportunities. There are several scenes where a character is built up to do something totally awesome, but then it all falls flat. Ruby Rose, for example, plays a character that is consistently framed as a force to be reckoned with, but I was consistently disappointed with the action sequences she was a part of. The characters actions just didn’t match that reputation. I felt that with many characters and many situations in John Wick: Chapter 2, I was just expecting something more than what I got.

Like I said earlier, the story isn’t necessarily a bad one. John Wick: Chapter 2 takes us deeper into the world that made John Wick so feared and revered in his field. We get to see him in work mode, where he’s much less gleeful in his task. He’s being forced into it, forced out of his retirement. It’s a much different motivation, and it does allow for some very interesting scenes. I was just expecting more.

The end of John Wick: Chapter 2 opens up possibilities for a third film that could effectively make the series a trilogy. I’m, once again, excited for where that could go. I have predictions for what I would like to see in future films. Hopefully whatever expectations I have will be met.

Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a perfectly adequate sequel to a perfectly entertaining film. If you’re a fan of the first John Wick, you will most likely be entertained by this sequel as well. It has many similarities to its predecessor, while still being something new. Other than the moments where I was expecting more, I did enjoy it.

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