Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows up on his doorstep with a gold marker, compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston, kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization's ancient code, Wick reluctantly accepts the assignment to travel to Rome to take out D'Antonio's sister, the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate. (1)
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
Chad Stahelski, who co-directed the first John Wick (2014) returns as a solo director with the same writer as the original, Derek Kolstad. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) pits John Wick (Keanu Reeves) against the mean and wicked assassins of the criminal underworld. Once again, Wick proves that he is a force to be reckoned with in this over-the-top sequel that is every bit as fun as the original. Films like John Wick are rarely known for their artistic value but Chapter 2 sets the bar high both in action as well as set design: (Kevin Kavanaugh(Production Design), Letizia Santucci, and David Schlesinger) and cinematography (Dan Laustsen). This film is exciting with vibrant colors that compliment the violence and chaos surrounding Wick. The sound effects are amazingly realistic, even the fist punches and bone breaking sounds will make you cringe with how realistic they are.
One reason why this film is effective is that while many of the creative talents behind the first film return for the sequel. But rather than rehashing the first film – which is the downfall for many sequels – the production team bring John Wick to an international stage and further develop the main character. In the first film, John Wick was simply a highly skilled retired assassin who comes out of retirement in order to exact revenge on those who took something he loved but now, after getting revenge, Wick struggles between living by the code and his desire to leave this part of his life behind him. In addition, the story is multi-layered in this sequel and the idea that there is a secret society of assassins does not feel overused but instead, it is exciting. These assassins are irresistible, luxurious, and lethal; and the fact that just about anyone on could be a potential assassin is thrilling.
Now, the film takes some time to really get going but once it does (after about 40 minutes into the film) it becomes a violent pot of fun. The direction allows for no shortage of surprises and since John Wick can use just about any object to kill somebody makes for some impressive action sequences. The fighting choreography is very complex, which results in a precise and perfect bloody dance. There is one particular scene involving mirror exhibit at a museum that is beyond spectacular. Of course, there is not exactly a very complex story here like a James Bond film but the progression of events and actions of the characters make the film feel less and less like a cheesy rip-off action film.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) is a thrilling and exciting film that falls within a small and rare group where the sequel receives higher ratings than its predecessor(s); like Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), The Dark Knight (2008), and Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980). It has everything a sequel should have and still leaves room for future films, John Wick: Chapter 3 (TBA). Now, the film takes some time to really get going but once it does (after about 40 minutes into the film) it becomes a violent pot of fun and the revenge plan of the villain establishes the fact that everyone is out to get Wick and the intensity of this revelation is all due to the detailed staging throughout the film. This is a world that is not entirely meant to be in our reality but it creates its own and that is what kept me interested the most.
“You wanted me back... I'm back!”
– John Wick
Worth Seeing: 4.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying: 4.5 of 5 stars
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