Film Review: John Wick – Chapter 2

This is a follow-up (obviously) to the surprisingly successful John Wick, which casts Keanu Reeves as a jaded, retired hitman out to retrieve his stolen car and avenge the death of his beloved dog (just go with it). What set this film apart from other urban shoot-em ups was the blistering action sequences. It was a bit like watching a martial arts flick with bullets. It wasn’t big on plot, but John Wick was an immensely enjoyable film – for me anyway.

So when I heard there was a sequel… Well that’s two Christmases back to back.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 follows on from where the first movie left off (so it’s just as well that Keanu Reeves doesn’t appear to age). Our anti-hero has found his car (sort of) but now, less than an hour later, he finds he has to pay back a favour to an old friend. And this is where the trouble starts … again.

Okay, that’s the gist, and I have to say I was probably a little bit disappointed. Probably because it was so similar to the first one (what did I expect; it is a sequel after all). The script was creditable, and Keanu delivered his character with a  sense of polite menace that worked really well. The set up was intricate, so that went some way to keeping the plot interesting, though it did slow down the whole film as the back story was delivered in large uncomfortable clumps rather than being woven into the whole story. I think the really problem with the film is that scenes became a little repetitive. John stumbled and shot his way through one set piece after another, and after a while, that clever ‘Gun Fu’ sequence really started to look very similar to the others that came before it. I think I was about ninety  minutes in when it occurred to me that I was watching a multi-level computer game: each level becoming harder than the last for John to get through. The only real difference here is the audience didn’t have control of John’s gun arm.

In general, it was a good effort for a sequel, but it really needed tightening up a little: less of the repetition, and more plot. The dialogue was okay though (Keanu Reeves never says very much on screen does he?). I’m going to give it six out of ten.

 

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