John Wick: Chapter 2 - 2017
John Wick is back and now with double the budget, in this rare sequel that delivers on high expectations. Keanu Reeves once again head shoots his way through countless of goons as he tries (and fails) to leave the assassins's life behind for the second movie in a row.
I honestly came in to this movie worried, since John Wick (2014) was a surprise hit (and it's always easier to surprise your audience, than to meet expectations), flaunting an original story and building a unique and intriguing world, complete with its own rules and lore. So three years later, here comes the same crew (writer/director/star) to deliver on more world building, fast pace killings and more one liners (this movie is flat out hilarious).
The stunt work in this movie is why I scratch my head at the thought of knowing that there is no Oscar Award for stunts. The degree of talent needed for all the planning, practicing and actually executing this high paste stunts, is so crucial (specially in an action movie) to the success of your movie, just like sound editing/mixing, make up and hair-styling and costume design, all current categories of the Oscars.
Along with the stunt work, this movie benefits from incredible sound mixing and editing. The gun shots in this movie are loud and visceral, forcing the audience to react to every single gun shot fired through its entire run time.
Keanu Reeves, just like Tom Cruise, knows the benefits of having the movie's star doing most of it own stunt work. Letting the camera stay in the moment, shooting the action without having to cut away, or having to shoot the fight scenes almost 100% over head, helps the audience believe in the action sequences they are watching. We see Keanu do everything from stunt car driving (the opening sequence is... incredible), hand to hand combat, to their trademark gun fu.
I mentioned above that this movie was able to build even further the world they created back in 2014. This time around we get to see an amazing (and hilarious) sequence of him shopping for guns with the Hotel's Seminole, as they treat guns as wines pairing them along with the full course meal that awaits him later on that night.
This movie not only delivers on the action, it also delivers on the visuals, as they set various action sequences in beautiful unique places. One sequence happens in a mirror exhibit at the museum, drawing a lot of comparison from Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon. They took an iconic visual set piece and modernized it for a younger audience upping the action and the visuals. For my younger readers that haven't seen Enter the Dragon (and you should), please enjoy below:
Overall this is a great follow up, I still love the original more but it doesn't take away from the fun experience I had watching this movie. The two hour run time was a blast and I cant wait to watch it again. This movie gave me eveything I wanted and more, and this is why I love movies.
Watch John Wick: Chapter 2... don't watch the shades of grey anymore, make it stop.