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John Wick: Chapter 2 - Film Review

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by Adrian Kmita (subscribe)
Writer, Photographer, Producer & Osteopath. A Sydneysider traveling the world solving life's puzzles. twitter.com/AdrianKmita
Published May 15th 2017
The Boogeyman returns in the amazing Gun Fu action epic
John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves reemerges once again as the infamous "Boogeyman" in John Wick's aptly titled sequel, John Wick Chapter 2. The highly anticipated sequel received much of its international release a few months back to incredible acclaim. An extremely odd release strategy however finally sees its Australian cinematic debut on May 18th. In short, it is well worth the effort. The sequel has already doubled its previous box office with $92 million stateside and $165 million worldwide.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

The original John Wick was a supremely pleasant surprise for many viewers with Keanu Reeves returning to the screen after a seemingly lengthy hiatus. The first film featured a simplistic and yet compelling plot, with Wick seeking a unique brand of revenge following the killing of his pet puppy left to him by his dying wife.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

John Wick Chapter 2 picks up where the last film left off, as Wick returns for the vintage car that was stolen from him in the first instalment. The opening sequence features action and stunt work that has to be seen to be believed. It is breathtakingly beautiful and brutally impactful all at the same time, as the plot is propelled forward with blistering velocity.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

John Wick's tremendously imposing and entertaining reemergence raises the attention of some of his former associates, who see his recent actions as an open invitation to request his services once more. Conveniently cashing in a blood oath, crime boss Santino D'Antonio forcefully persuades Wick to assassinate the head of an international crime family. The caveat is that Wick's next victim also happens to be D'Antonio's sister, another former associate. The result has incredibly bad implications for Wick, who soon becomes a mark for many of the best hitmen across the globe.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

Chapter 2's plot is simplistic yet again, however the film remains incredibly entertaining, as John Wick continues to find himself in a plethora of amazingly difficult situations. The pressure only grows with each minute of screen time, proving to be a masterclass in not only "gun-fu" but narrative drive as well.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

The opening sequence to John Wick Chapter 2 is an absolute highlight. It is a marvellous spectacle to say the least. Not only does it feature intricate gun fighting martial arts choreography, but an abundance of automotive practical effects as well. Combined they simulate a brutally beautiful ballet. As the plot progresses, Chapter 2 also seems to go for the record of the biggest body count to be seen in cinema. If it doesn't beat the record, it gets incredibly close. Yet the creative cinematography and shot selection make each moment better than the last, as the film unfolds like a comic book come to life.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

Keanu Reeves provides a charismatic performance once again in the sequel. While his acting chops have always been debatable, his star power is undeniable, stealing each moment he appears on screen. His dry delivery also provides a lot of humour, as his character navigates the incredibly creative world that has been constructed for him. There are lavish international hotels for hitmen, as well as sommeliers recommending matching weapons and ammunition for each possible scenario. This is not a metaphorical description either. Last but not least, Reeves' stunt choreography is impeccable. More John Wick is definitely most welcome.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

The main heel in the story Santino D'Antonio, played by Riccardo Scamarcio, conveys a kind of poetic nature with his performance. He is the kind of heel who hits the hero with a chair and subsequently rolls under the ropes, pleading to the referee of his lack of involvement. This is all while the hero is lambasted by the referee. In short, he is tremendously unlikeable. It is great writing and a well-executed performance.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

Veteran thespian Ian McShane also makes his presence known with a brilliant cameo as the manager of the fictional New York Continental hotel. He is formidable and tremendously articulate as always. Laurence Fishburne also features in a fun and nostalgic cameo. The character and performance are slightly over the top, however Reeves and Fishburne's unique history make the inclusion a worthy addition. His introduction also conveniently serves the plot. Lance Reddick also makes a most welcome return as Charon, the Continental hotel's concierge. His brief performance is wonderful, providing much-needed levity amongst all the chaos.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

Australian personality Ruby Rose features quite predominantly in the film, posing as one of John Wick's most formidable villainous threats. However, posing really is the most apt description of her role. She really has little to offer aside from aesthetics. Her demise is also disappointingly quick and underwhelming, barely offerings a whimper following a long and unnecessary build up. Her character however is unique in its inception, as the creators choose for her to have absolutely zero dialogue in favour of utilising sign language. In effect, she literally is a maniacal mime. The concept is creatively executed, however Ruby Rose's depiction offers little, with the gimmick seemingly disguising her lack of acting ability rather than actually being a creative choice. The previous film's inclusion of Adrianne Palicki was undeniably a much better casting.

Part time actor and rap personality Common also makes a brief appearance as Cassian, a hitman passionately on John Wick's trail. His vendetta is justified, yet anything memorable about his character is primarily supplied by Common's stuntman. In short, his performance leaves little to be desired. A better casting would have given the character much more value.

John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2

In summary, John Wick Chapter 2 is an absolute must see in the cinema, even in spite of its incredibly delayed Australian release. The film provides a brilliant cinematic experience for audiences to consume, displaying excellent creative filmmaking. The creators, including director Chad Stahelski and cinematographer Dan Lausten, deserve a tremendous amount of credit. In short, John Wick Chapter 2 is a fabulously entertaining spectacle. Get your tickets immediately.

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*Adrian Kmita was invited as a guest
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Why? The anticipated sequel to the modern action epic.
When: At cinemas everywhere from May 18th.
Where: At cinemas everywhere.
Cost: Price of a movie ticket at your local cinema.
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