John Wick: Chapter 2 – The Beautifully Flawed Art Of Violence
Immediately following the events of the first film, John Wick is approached by a member of the underworld and must repay a debt sealed with a blood oath. After doing so, he finds out there is a sizable bounty on his head and mayhem ensues. This R rated action-crime-thriller is directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad. It has a runtime of 2 hours and 2 minutes and stars Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Laurence Fishburne and more!
It’s perfect, yet broken. Amazing and underwhelming at the same time. The plot is both fast and slow. It’s a masterpiece while somehow serving as a parody of its canon. There’s just enough mystery with too much lore. Paced well with an off kilter plot. Muddled subtext with excellent exposition. That’s a spoiler free as I can get for now. If you haven’t seen the film read no further!
I’ll get this out of the way first because it made me almost burst out laughing in the theater. Common and Keanu sound funny as Hell speaking Italian. As for Common, The truth is he was wasted- that’s not to say he wasn’t entertaining. He held his own as an adversary for Wick and his scenes are some of the best in the entire film- if not the best. But he, and I really can’t stress this enough, should’ve been the final boss instead of wasting him on the badly weighted second act.
Then we’ve got, Ruby Rose. She channels her inner Crispin Glover (Charlie’s angels : Full Throttle) and her character is about as pointless as her gratuitous ass shot just before her anti-climactic defeat. Seriously I have no idea why they felt the need to randomly sexualize the character for no reason out of nowhere. Especially considering that earlier in the film they had a woman strip off her clothing and it was done tastefully. For me she was nothing but another dud in a film full of them. Flat, unthreatening and unimportant. The attempts at creating a mysterious character fall short and she just comes off as if she was shoehorned in because Wick has a female adversary in the first film – who’s character was far better utilized – and her fight with Wick was phenomenal while Rose’s “Fight” was nothing short of …. “Meh”.
The beauty of the first film was that Wick was seemingly untouchable by bullets and in the mess that is Chapter 2, they give him a fucking bullet proof suit!? Really? What the hell! You removed the sense of danger. Lame! You got him rushing around like The Phantom of the fucking Opera; cowering behind his impregnable coat. Blah! And the bad guys in Chapter Two conveniently have aim comparable to storm troopers when it serves the scene.
Keanu does his best, but the grace we saw in the first chapter is fading. His movements seem stiff and slowed, But hey the guy is 52 years old so we’ll give him a break. The fighting and gunplay was the most redeemable aspect of the film, but it’s not as good and doesn’t feel as organic as the beauty of chapter one. That’s not to say it isn’t good. In all seriousness, if this does take place right after the first film: I get it, Wick never really rests – so the movement being slowed can be explained away with a simple – “He’s been beating the crap out of people/ having the crap kicked out of him/ getting hit by cars for like a week and a half – who wouldn’t be a little stiff.”
The truth is, the mystery of the underworld was part of the original films beauty and that’s smashed to shit in Chapter 2 – in fact we’re beat over the head with the history and process of it. All that should’ve been in the first film – then maybe this could of had the breathing room it needed. It might of had the chance to outshine it’s predecessor like Terminator 2 did for the franchise back in the 90’s. Mystery is cool, telling us too much is not. A joke isn’t funny if you have to explain it. The utilization of the homeless people was a cool aspect. But when it’s mixed with the already heady amount of mythos in the film and then all that’s coupled with the ending, it makes me really question wether or not literally every person in the world part of the underworld? Lol what’s the point?
I’m waiting for the 3 hour fan edit once the 3rd film comes out. Split the bank of content into a three part film sectioned off into its respective chapters and be done with it. That would be awesome! As I said in the opening, Chapter 2 feels like a parody of its parent film and I beg of the creators don’t let this go the way of the aforementioned Terminator franchise or worse yet Taken or even worse Fast and the Furious. Not saying that the properties mentioned are bad, but they have become caricatures of the original films, and because I loved the first chapter of the John Wick saga – I would hate to see that happen to this story.
Produced on a budget of $40,000,000 the film has grossed over $58,000,000. At the time of writing this article the film has a rating of 8.3 out of 10 on IMDB based on the votes of nearly 40,000 members. I think that after the film has completed its theatrical run the rating will come down a bit and it will most likely rest around a 7, just like Chapter 1. I however, give the film a solid yet completely respectable 6.5 out of 10. It just wasn’t what I wanted or expected it to be. But hey – what do I know.
I realize this review makes it seem like I absolutely hated the film. You’d be surprised to know I liked the movie. Well a little more than 60 minutes of It. It pandered at the worst possible times and the narrative was delivered as a glue covered mess. To be brutally honest (as if I’ve not been thus far) I should’ve just waited for Netflix. Would I watch again? Yeah, but I will probably fall asleep during the middle of the awkwardly paced first act. Yep, go on youtube just to watch the fight clips when the blu-ray comes out. Save yourself about an hour of suffering. The parts of the film that i enjoyed i absolutely loved but what I didn’t like i found tedious, unnecessary, god awful and unbearable.