It’s rare to find a sequel nowadays that not only keeps the same elements that made the original so enjoyable, but expands on it. ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ never pretends to be anything its not and from its explosive action-packed beginning to its sequel-bait ending, the film is an excellent action flick from start to finish.
Forced out of retirement by a former associate who holds him to a blood oath, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is tasked with finding and killing a high-ranked target to be free of killing anyone else. Things are not as simple as they seem though and during his mission, things go awry. An all out war breaks out with John’s life hanging in the balance in exchange for 7 million dollars. The story is simple to understand and although seeing the first film will definitely help to understand more of what’s happening here, it’s possible to jump in without and enjoy this thoroughly.
Brutal, well-choreographed action scenes featuring weapons, hand to hand combat and cars always seem to one up what’s come before as the film zips along from one impressive action sequence to the next. There’s some smart touches of dry humour to break up the action as well and overall the film never pretends to be anything its not. It’s an out and out action flick and this tunnel vision helps to avoid muddying the tone of the film with anything like a forced romance or comedic sidekick. The climactic action scenes set within mirrored rooms was really impressive and actually rivals some of the psychedelic action from Doctor Strange last year.
The film itself never strays far from the original, clinging to what made it so enjoyable and that, I think, is why this is one of the best action films so far this year. The action scenes complement a cohesive, simple story weaving it all together with clear character motivations established early on. Keanu Reeves was absolutely born to play these sort of roles and his moody, calculated looks mixed with his no-nonsense attitude really elevates John Wick.
Overall though, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ is a fantastic film that I would recommend to anyone who’s a fan of action films. It’s great fun and the brutal action scenes are extremely well choreographed and always build up to the next that somehow seems to one up what’s come before. The ending teases a third Chapter and although I’m not the biggest fan of sequel bait, it seems justified and I, for one, embrace a third film if its this much fun.
Verdict - 8.5/10