By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 – One of the Best Filmed Action Movies to Date

John Wick: Chapter 2 serves as an exploration of the universe that its predecessor provided beautifully with its intense underground narrative that brought us the character of John Wick or better known as Baba Yaga. The original served as an intense introduction to John Wick and the world that he exists in. The sequel takes those intriguing qualities of this environment and continues to provide information to it. The narrative follows John Wick who after the events of the original film he decides to try and leave it all behind once again. An old friend named Santino D’Antonio who helped him retire the first time requires a favor from John that he turns down. This answer provokes Santiago to then destroy John’s house embarking him on an action and blood filled journey that left me catching my breath and smiling from ear to ear.

John Wick is easily one of the most intriguing and incredibly blood pumping action films to recent date. It created an entire world with its fascinating interactions between assassins, and the enchanting businesses that help serve these characters on their missions like the Continental. The sequel continues this by furthering the world building of John Wick, and by filling the remaining run time of the film with breathtaking action. There is so much to tackle in this masterpiece of the action genre, and I’ll start with the filmmaking for now. The direction in John Wick: Chapter 2 is done brilliantly. Chad Stahelski directed this film without his former co-director David Leitch who served as an executive producer while he worked on other projects. Both of these men are action junkies and former stuntmen for films like Fight Club and The Matrix. These guys love good action movies, and they displayed that passion in the first one.

In the sequel, Chad Stahelski continues to demonstrate this love as he provides some of the best filmed and well-choreographed action I’ve ever seen on the big screen. The talent and pure grit of work put on display are jaw-dropping. The shot design of the film is so well thought out in how it presents the response to the viewer. Using long takes and shot models that portray the gritty tone as well as the action. Keanu Reeves is also a big proponent of this because he does not only describe a character that is badass but is a badass in real life. He shows off in this film with an incredible array of gun skills, unarmed combat skills, and an overall exhibit of how badass this guy is. The other actors involved also present their own time and effort that was put into to learning their choreography and skills. But, Keanu is head and shoulders above them as you can comprehend the time and effort he has put into to becoming a real physical actor that does not require stunt doubles.

This film continued to surprise me with its narrative qualities as well. The film continuously kept you guessing and intrigued with the plot developments of the screenplay. The world building was enjoyable as I got to learn how these assassins get their weapons and how they get their attires for their missions. I found this so enthralling due to its ingenuity and furthering inquiry about how this world was built or founded and how the world interacts with the separate worlds of the police and our world of normality. The only flaws I found with the John Wick: Chapter 2 was I felt the tone from the first one was lost a bit in the sequel. The first one felt more like an independent film with a gritty mood, and the second one feels gritty still but loses some of that independent style. The motivation is a little lackluster at the same time. Because John Wick doesn’t choose to go back on this journey, he’s forced too because he has too. The emotional resonance is not as strong as the first, but it still provides some connection that I could get behind.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is one of the best action film sequels to date. The pure onslaught of talented filmmaking put on display as well as the exhibit of the stunt team’s skills is exceptional. The flaws of its diminished tone and reduced emotional resonance are essential, but not harmful to the overall stigma and urgency. Keanu Reeves continues to provide reasoning to put him into the upper echelon of action stars, and Chad Stahelski continues to provide momentum for his success in Hollywood both in his box office success and critical reception.

Rating: 4/5

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