Wednesday, February 22, 2017
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (2017)
Directed By: Chad Stahelski
Written By: Derek Kolstad
Cinematography By: Dan Laustsen
Editor: Evan Schiff
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Common, Ruby Rose, Franco Nero, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Peter Serafinowicz, John Leguizamo, Peter Stomare, Claudia Gerini, Tobias Segal, Thomas Sadoski
After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.
Now going into this film you know exactly what you are going to get. The film is over the top ridiculous action that becomes addictive pretty soon. Even as it tries to take a break at first between the action set pieces. It feels like a graphic novel come to life and well directed
The film instantly hooks you in the opening scene. As it begins with a bang.
Now I am not a fan of the TAKEN films, but I can understand it's audiences love of the film. That is the same love to have for this series of films. Now that it seems it will be more a series.
Even while taking it's time to build up it's silly story and plot. We are rewarded with ice the top extreme action in S the second half of the film that goes above and beyond the beginning with extreme action of gun-fu and hand to hand combat.
Keanu reeves is just as cool as ever in this film. There is something fascinating about him and doing his own stunts and action at 52 years old is equally impressive as he doesn't look his age. Not to mention it seems about every 5 - 10 years he comes out with an actual good and memorable films that makes you forget the failures in between. Even as some are more noteworthy than others. Though here seems to be an attempt on his part to try different types of roles. And experiment more with his own image and style.
One of this film's strengths is that with this film it builds it's own world. In the first film we got more of a glimpse that was close to reality. Here the world not only goes international but we see how it works behind the scenes and learn some more of it's distinct rules. Seeming like most of the world is either run by gangsters or are gangsters and killers themselves. As this world is extreme. To show you how hyper-realized it is it even has a concert/coronation for a female mob boss getting a promotion to one of the seats at the world gangster table. Which seems to go by culture.
We find out how the organization works more. As part of it we see a scene of how a hot can be taken out. Where a call is made and turned over to a switch board and it seems 1980's computers. While all the women who work there and it's only women. Seem to be more modern with their tattoos and piercings yet styled and dressed more like 1950's dames and debutantes. They have constant files on different underworld figures and assassins.
Which shows off the films beautiful design and style for an action film that doesn't call attention to itself outright.
The director Chad Stahelski returns to make this film. This time on his own and is a Former stunt coordinator. He was a stunt man in the Matrix trilogy, in which Keanu Reeves played the main character..in fact he was Keanu Reeves stunt double in the MATRIX films. So that the film feels grounded, When it comes to the action scenes, It feels more organic of course there is a stunt team behind most of this, but it doesn't feel like a XXX type action film where they do all the work and the actors are just there for close up's it feels like the noted lead actors are actually in the thick of it. Immersed more into the action and this film the fully has a lack of cgi effects and doesn't seem built around them or dependent on them.
Though still a bit silly. The vengeance makes more sense this time around and not so much of an informed punch line. Though the film and the situation saves room for ridiculous over the top reasons and reactions.
For instance Despite the number of kills and public gunfights, there was no cops seen throughout the film besides Jimmy, who happens to be the only cop in the first film too.
The fight sequences Keanu Reeves has versus common. Remind the audience a little of the fight sequence from THEY LIVE, Between Roddy Piper and Keith David. Though this film is more vindictive and are classic fight sequences of their own right. -The fight with the henchwoman played by Ruby Rose ends up being a little disappointing, but made to feel important and matter overall.
This sequel leaves room for returning characters. Who are more open and able to do more and help add to the story.
The villain whole repulsive and hateful. Doesn't feel as strong and comes across as a punk. Who can't handle his own dirty work.
The film manages to shock as it has a nihilistic outlook and ending. That set's up an impossible sequel of sorts. That will definitely raise the stakes.
This is the rare time that I enjoy an action film outright. Then again I am so used to them I usually enjoy either over the top yet somewhat contained or chaos reigns with style or just general good film making being involved.
This film feels bigger and better than normal. Sure somewhat silly in story but rich in action and character. As this film plays more for the audience and fans. As it shows an appreciation for them like most sequels giving the audience more and bigger.
It shows care went into the film and the workers are shown an appreciation. As everything seems done with a certain amount of devotion to craft. Now while the film won't get you emotional. It will get you hyped up.