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John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the premier place to see all of the latest box office releases in style and comfort! This weekend you can treat yourself to a triple feature with The LEGO Batman Movie, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Fifty Shades Darker! To see all of the showtimes, you can click right HERE!

John Wick: Chapter 2 is finally here, and I’m so excited to talk about it! I love the first John Wick, and Keanu Reeves is one of my favorite action stars of all time. I think that my favorite thing about the first film was the world building. With the entire assassin network, the way they’re treated, and, of course, the Continental Hotel, John Wick could be the next big action franchise where we spend the entire time exploring the lore. David Leitch and Chad Stahelski co-directed the first film, but Stahelski was taking Chapter 2 on all by himself. They’re stunt coordinators who proved that they can direct the heck out of the action in the first film, so I was expecting nothing less in this one! Let’s talk about John Wick: Chapter 2!

John Wick: Chapter 2 is directed by Chad Stahelski and stars Keanu Reeves who is back as the well-dressed assassin, John Wick. This time, it doesn’t take the murder of a puppy to get Wick back in the game. Another member of the Continental Hotel shows up at Wick’s doorstep and demands that Wick follow through on a gold marker, a favor-based tradition among assassins. At first Wick is reluctant, but once again, he is pushed a bit too far and has to reenter the business to prove that he’s not great at retiring.

After the first film, I think we all agreed that we needed to explore the world in the sequel. Luckily, that’s the best part of this film. If you wanted more of the Continental Hotel, go see John Wick: Chapter 2. It fully jumps into the world it has built for itself, and it introduces so many more pieces to this intricate society that only make the film more awesome. I really don’t know if we’ve seen an original action franchise with mythology as fascinating and interesting as we see in the John Wick franchise. It goes so much further than the top layer of assassins. We see all of the tiny details of the organization that make you realize that this world is so creatively thought out and brilliant. While it revisits many of the concepts of the first film, it introduces many, many more, and it’s so easy to be mesmerized by every single piece of it. Next, Keanu Reeves was born for this role. Everyone who says that Keanu Reeves is a bad actor needs to watch both John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2. He’s not a bad actor, but he is in quite a few films where he doesn’t fit. This is where he fits, and this is where he excels. You can tell that he’s comfortable in this role performing stunts and action sequences. You can tell the difference between Reeves, who was tailor-made for this, and Ruby Rose, who looks uncomfortable in action sequences. Rose looks like she has no interest in hand-to-hand combat or using firearms whereas Reeves looks like he’s having the time of his life, and it makes the action amazing. Reeves performing his own stunts only makes it easier for Stahelski to direct the action. Every sequence is so well-directed and so well-edited. You see every move made from beginning to end. You see the beginning of a punch, then the landing, the placement of the landing, and the reaction of the victim. It’s great to slowly see exactly how Wick’s fighting style works. We know he has a weakness in his hand-to-hand combat, and when he picks up a gun, he’s untouchable. There is an action sequence in a nightclub-like environment that is very similar to the nightclub scene in the first film, but it might actually be better. If you’re a fan of action John Wick: Chapter 2 is made for you with extremely competent direction and clarity, and it’s the second time I’ve been left wanting more after a John Wick film. This doesn’t flop and make me realize that John Wick is a one-hit wonder. This makes me realize that John Wick has the lore, characters, and imagination to become the next great action franchise.

As far as problems go, I only have a few. I mentioned earlier that Ruby Rose looked uncomfortable performing in action scenes, but she wasn’t the only one. I felt like there were a few characters who struggled with the action and looked out-of-place, and Chad Stahelski was the only reason they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. He did a great job of directing and editing around those struggles, and when in doubt, he could always cut to Keanu Reeves. Next, this story is a bit flatter than the original film. The best aspect of the film was the exploration of this world, and while that was amazing, the story is just serviceable. It didn’t go as deep as the first movie, but it gives us just enough to latch onto and follow. Finally, this movie jumped out of reality a bit further than I wanted it to. I still bought the world, but this movie takes a few moments to another level as compared to the grounded, well-made action that we see in the first film and a large portion of this one.

Overall, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a blast of an action movie with great world building and development through an amazing character. John Wick is an assassin who is killing assassins. He’s not the boogeyman. He’s the guy you send to kill the boogeyman. Through all of this, he stays so likable, and Keanu Reeves gives an amazing performance. He was born for roles like this, and he’s so comfortable in every scenario. Chad Stahelski directed the action so well, and everything is tailor-made for Reeves. He’s having just as much fun as the audience is, and it shows. There are a few characters who look out-of-place and uncomfortable performing action sequences, and the story isn’t as depth-driven as the first film, but it gives us exactly what we need, and John Wick has the potential to become the next amazing action franchise. I’m going to give John Wick: Chapter 2 an 8.3/10.

We’re finally out of January, and it’s showing. We also have a little movie called Fifty Shades Darker out this week, so January may have an encore on the way, but I’ll settle for two great movies in The LEGO Batman Movie and John Wick: Chapter 2! Let me know what you’ll be seeing this weekend in this box office battle down in the comment section! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm