John Wick: Chapter 2 is already the best action movie of the year and I’m pretty sure nothing is going to come close.
Plot: Keanu Reeves returns in the sequel to the 2014 hit as legendary hitman John Wick who is forced to back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.
Review: I don’t think I’ve anticipated a movie as much as John Wick: Chapter 2 for a long time; with the amazing reviews it’s been getting so far I was even more pumped as I walked into the theatre. It wastes no time getting going with a barnstorming opening scene that introduces our hero in classic fashion; then after that it slows down for about half an hour where there is little in the way of action but it builds up plot and characterization.
Moving the action to Rome was a wise choice as it makes every scene look like a work of art and is a nice change of setting from New York. I really must say that this is arguably the most beautifully shot action film you’ll ever see. The set design was impeccable and I can’t think of any other action movie which made my jaw drop to the floor by sheer looks alone.
The John Wick movies really are a masterclass in action cinema and should be the template for any future filmmaker on how to do it right. There is no shaky cam, no (noticeable) CGI and the fight scenes are all coherent; the highlight being a man-a-mano fight between Keanu Reeves and Common which looked extremely painful. This doesn’t skimp on hard R violence either with numerous headshots, stabbings and the best pencil scene since The Dark Knight. My audience seemed to love it as they clapped and cheered during many of the kills which always adds to the entertainment factor.
The story is quite unpredictable and expands the world of the assassins giving us more insight into the world of the Continental (which is what I was personally looking for).
Riccardo Scamarcio is a suitably hateful villain too as Santino D’Antonio, a former colleague who John owes a debt too and turns his world upside down.
Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King is one of the best additions to the cast as you aren’t quite sure just whose side he is on and I can see him having a bigger, more pivotal role in Chapter 3.
It’s not a question of whether there should be a third movie but we now NEED one as the ending sets it up perfectly.
Keanu has totally nailed the character of Wick cementing him as the best action hero of the past decade with ease. Despite the huge bodycount the movie still has heart too; sure, Wick is the invincible badass but there are a few scenes of him reminiscing with his wife which remind us that he is in fact a human.
I didn’t know that Franco Nero was in the movie which was a fantastic bonus as he is one of my favourite actors and he’s another character I expect to see more of in the future.
The climax is a fitting tribute to Enter the Dragon as Wick takes on numerous goons in a hall of mirrors which action fans will adore.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 is already the best action movie of the year and I’m pretty sure nothing is going to come close; it’s the most visually stunning genre movie you’ll ever see but also manages to keep the bodies dropping at a satisfyingly high rate as well.