The first film was great. But when you have such an awesome and promising first attempt, the second usually never quite lives up to it. Even big name, big budget films are rarely an exception to this sequel problem. Thankfully, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2‘ is an exception and it is just as great as the first film.
Picking up right after the first film, John is recruited by crime lord Santino D’Antonio, who coaxes him back into the business by way of an unbreakable oath made long ago. And so John Wick is still not retired and is drawn into a game of assassins, double crossing and the hard rules of the Continental. The story is a little more complex this time around but remains simple enough that you don’t have to concentrate too hard on it. John does one job then has to deal with the fallout of that before heading out for revenge again. It’s quite straightforward but expands on the underground assassin club residing at the Continental and really opens up the world.
We learn that there are some heads of the High Table who run the organisation, there are rules and oaths, codes and honour. It really is a fascinating underground world and learning more about it is really interesting. Keanu Reeves is back as Wick, just as stoic, just as badass. Once again he’s on top form here and really makes the character his own. Ian McShane also returns as the head of the Continental and is just as good as he was before, both as a friend to John but also a strict boss. Riccardo Scamarcio plays Santino as an arrogant bad guy, one that feels John Wick should do his bidding and help him achieve his power. Ruby Rose plays his mute henchman and she’s alright, but probably the weakest actor in the film. Common plays a very honourable bodyguard whilst Laurence Fishburne plays a crime lord who knows a lot. Everyone is pretty great in their roles and all work well together.
But good as it is, we don’t come to a John Wick film to see the cast. We come for the awesome gun-fu action sequences. And boy do they deliver! There’s extended sequences where John kills an army of guys to escape, a cool car chase, John killing even more guys with numerous headshots and some really creative kills. It’s all so amazingly choreographed and well shot by director Chad Stahelski that it just flows like an expert level video game player moving through an easy level. It all just looks so damn awesome! Plus with a cool score by Tyler Bates, this movie is just one big bundle of joy.
‘Chapter 2‘ isn’t exactly an improvement on the first, but it is a great extension of it. It does what all good sequels should do, in that it doesn’t try too hard to outdo the original, but just to further the plot elements and bring the same great stuff along to the party. This is such an enjoyable film to watch and is so awesome. Here’s hoping for a Chapter 3!
JACK’S SCORE: 4/5