Neil Godbole ’17
When I eagerly plopped into my seat in the theater last night, to say I was excited would be an understatement. I had just rushed to the showing, nearly late for the beginning, and I had been forced to awkwardly ask a couple to stop making out so they could vacate the seat I had reserved. I had been through all of it, and here I was. As the initial shots played I had to try hard to contain my excitement in little more than goofy and idiotic grins. When I watched the first John Wick last year, my reaction to the opening few minutes had been the exact opposite.
There I was, watching just another dumb action flick which would no doubt have bad acting and cringe-worthy dialogue when I should have been writing a paper. I was in for one heck of a shock. The first John Wick is filled with incredible choreography, realistic-yet-insane gore, and most surprisingly, an emotional plot with believable character motivations. Also, it had an insanely cute puppy. So, cut back to last night, and my squealing as the first few minutes of John Wick: Chapter 2 played out on screen. Action movie sequels are generally seen as cheap imitations of their predecessors (just ask John Wick himself, or rather Keanu Reeves, who starred in what some might argue as one of the worst action sequels ever). The movie had to meet all of the expectations of the first film, and also wow audiences in completely new ways.
So, with all that said, how was the movie?
While the plot of the film wasn’t as emotional or as simple as the first, the premise is still easy enough to follow. Aside from action, what made the first Wick great was the incredible world building it went through. It showed audiences a secret, shady part of New York filled with killers and assassins who live by ironclad rules and codes. This film expands on that unique premise, as Wick is forced to navigate a labyrinth of murderers and the confines of this unique world in order to find out once and for all if he can ever truly just live in peace as a retired man.
As far as acting goes, Reeves puts on a great show as he makes Wick’s “man of few words” character as engaging as possible. The movie also features Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne who are always a joy to watch and acting powerhouses in their own right. Action wise, this film’s choreography is truly second to none. With incredible hand-to-hand combat, driving, and of course, shootout sequences, John Wick 2 builds on the first film’s reputation for ultra-violent, super-high-octane, edge-of- your-seat action. The film is also well paced, as it strikes a satisfying balance between the aforementioned gore-fests and quieter, nuanced, character-driven scenes.
The first John Wick was a good movie in part because, well, no one expected it to be good. I can happily say that while there isn’t the same “surprise factor” for Chapter 2, if you loved the dark, tense, and noir feel of the first film, you will really enjoy this movie. Also, there is another very, very cute dog. I give this film an 8.5/10 (and a 9/10 for the first one).