When “John Wick” was released in October of 2014 it was a considered a sleeper-film by many critics. The $20 million budget film received a Certified Fresh rating of 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed nearly $90 million in box office sales. It was no surprise this revenge-thriller would get a sequel.
In the first film, retired assassin John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, lives a normal life until the son of a Russian mob boss breaks into his house, steals his car and kills his dog, given to him by his late wife. After burying his dog, Wick thrusts himself back into the criminal underworld he once left behind, stopping at nothing to get his revenge on all those involved.
“John Wick Chapter 2,” which premiered on Feb. 10, follows Wick as he is forced to go on the run after discovering that someone from his past has placed a bounty on his head. What follows is a nonstop thrill ride leaving you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.=
The sequel surprises audiences by continuously expanding upon the foundation created in the first movie. Writers left bread crumbs about the secret underground criminal society that Wick was once a part of. The sequel reveals the rules they operate by, and who’s a part of the society. Still, viewers are shown just enough to leave an aura of mystery behind everything. These elements add complexity to help make the story fascinating the further it goes along.
The action scenes in “Chapter 2” are some of the best ever put to film, each sequence building upon the last. Extensively choreographed fight scenes with the assistance of practical effects makes each sequence feel visceral. Whether it’s Wick getting in a shoot-out with dozens of guards in a dimly lit tunnel, a knife fight on a subway train or fighting off two foes with nothing but a pencil, every scene is memorable.
Reeves was born to play the character of Wick. Even with some of the cheesier lines of dialogue, he is able to sell it and make them sound cool. Despite Reeves being in his 50s, he still does most of his own stunt-work in both movies. It intensifies the action and makes scenes more impactful knowing he’s not a stunt-person.
While the action can get gory, the scenes still mesmerize audiences with its choreography and beautiful shots. All scenes consist of primarily long takes with the action centered on the screen, viewers never lose focus of what’s going on. The film is like watching a violent ballet.
The only issue with “John Wick Chapter 2” is that it ends. It leaves you begging for more as soon as the end credits start to roll. Without official confirmation for a third film, who knows when we’ll see Wick again on the big screen.
“John Wick Chapter 2” is a rare sequel and a worthy successor to the first film. It improves and builds upon what made the first one great, leaving us a with a sequel that’s actually better than the original. “John Wick Chapter 2” is a must-watch, for action-movie junkies or even people who like watching good films.