Review By Darren Chan Keng Leong (Singapore)
John Wick: Chapter 2 is worth every single cent as I must say that Keanu Reeves plays a very complex character each integrates nicely in a film plot that will keep the audience at the edge of their seats. The film picks right up following the events of John Wick where assassin Jonathan Wick retrieves his seized 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Coupe owned by Abram Jan Tarasov (Peter Stormare). Abram sends his lackeys after John and a bloody fight scene entails. John’s muscle car takes heavy damage following a frenzy of knocks and heavy fire fight.
The fight scenes are better choreographed as it shows that John is not all that invulnerable and that he still gets wounded. This adds realism to the film as John struggles to stay alive throughout the course of the film. It is a hero’s fight for his own life and to most importantly protect his new pet dog. I already have a strong feeling that Abram will be back in the next instalment to seek revenge over the killing of his brother and uncle from the first film.
The film also sheds light on John’s past when he is visited by Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). This scene plays a crucial role in the film’s storyline development as it gives some hint of a back-story which is essential to understand more about John Wick’s character. It is introduced in the form of a blood oath marker that John had made with Santino in a desperate bid to leave the assassins secret society.
John had made up his mind to retire and leave his past behind in peace. I hope that the story behind the blood oath marker would be explored in the sequel which is already in the works. John refuses to honour the oath and politely asks Santino to leave in saying that he cannot help him by accepting the marker. In retaliation, Santino destroys John’s home with a grenade launcher. This violent act leaves John broken as his home was where he shared fond memories with his wife who had passed on. Broken and shattered by this act, John and his pet dog are thrown back into the life to hunt down Santino in a bid for vengeance.
Director Chad Stahelski did a brilliant job in making the film excel in the areas of cinematography and continuity. The fight scenes were brutal and it shows that John is an expert assassin in utilizing the environment to his advantage in planning the best strategy to take out his opponents. The audience is also briefly introduced to the High Table who are crime lords. We might be getting to see the whole gang in the next film. This sets up more bloody scenes as John Wick will have to go through them to get his life and freedom back. The film also introduces us to the accessories that John Wick uses such as his preference for tapered and tactile suits on top of an arsenal of weapons. Keanu Reeves which actually visited a gun range to train for his role in this film which to me is impressive as it shows that he is truly committed to the roles that he portrays.
The thrilling action of watching John outwit the numerous villains in this film is very satisfying and the way that he takes them down is a bloody and at times gruesome mess. The soundtrack helps to enrich scenes and brings out the fun that is similar to that of a real life video game. However, the guns still need reloading which is great and the dialogue between Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne as an underground crime lord adds as a nice homage to The Matrix films where the two of them worked together. John Wick is indeed the Baba Yaga (Boogeyman) to all villains out there which is why one should not call a person out of retirement.
I must say that John Wick: Chapter 2 is worth watching and it is a nice follow-up to John Wick as it carries forward story elements that connects both films together in a seamless plot. Director Chad Stahelski has also dropped hints in the film as to where we might find John Wick next. I hope that the sequel does step up its game of putting John in more precarious and thrilling scenes. I also do hope that he gets his car back and that his dog survives the next film too. Keanu Reeves has bagged himself a film that would define him from other action films in the market. Overall, both visually stunning and action packed, it is a trigger happy film with a heart and soul that makes it a film and its predecessor films that I would re-watch again.