Back in 2014, Keanu Reeves took the world by storm with the surprisingly epic John Wick. The film was amazing, and fans clamoured for a sequel. Well, I'm thinking he's back. John Wick: Chapter Two is finally here, refueled, reloaded and ready for some more action.

The first John Wick was not only one of the best films of that year (coming out of nowhere and blowing everyone away) but it's just one of the best action films in recent years, perhaps even ever. It was violent, emotional, beautifully directed and just everything you would want out of a great action film. It's no surprise that a sequel was highly demanded, and quickly greenlit thereafter. 3 years later and the retired hitman is back out of retirement for Chapter 2. And, to think the first high-octane thrill ride could not be topped, director Chad Stahelski (taking this film on solo, after his John Wick co-director David Leitch departed) has done just that: made an action film that is on-level, if not superior (and more insane) than its predecessor in every way.
John Wick: Chapter 2 opens up in a grand fashion, with a truly terrific action sequence, taking place a mere few days from where we left off in 2014. Our eponymous badass, John (Keanu Reeves), is still tying up the loose ends of his killing/revenge spree from the first film - upon those that killed his dog and stole his car - and he does so in typical John Wick fashion. It's a thoroughly thrilling scene that really sets the bar and the tone for what's to come. Just when John is ready to return back to his quiet life of retirement, he quickly finds himself pulled back into this criminal underworld and his old life when he must honour a debt that he owes. Upon completing this task though, John finds himself in more danger than ever when a large bounty is placed on his head.

As I mentioned, the film opens with a big, epic action sequence. It really sets a high bar for what we can expect from the rest of the film, visually in the action choreography but also tonally too. Thankfully, the film lives up this bar throughout. This is some of the finest action sequences I've seen in a modern day action film; Chad Stahelski is a master when it comes to directing the action, and it's all so beautifully helmed. The action is visceral, unflinching and just truly relentless - Stahelski doesn't hold back, and he directs it all so seamlessly, with gorgeous handheld camera work and wide shots displaying all the action in its beautiful brutality (none of that shakey cam stuff). The stunt work is equally as impressive; all the more so considering a large majority of it is Keanu Reeves himself, engaging in some truly entertaining and impressive hand-to-hand combat and even more awesome gun-fu. Action aside though, the direction is just generally so slick;Stahelski really knows this world and knows what he's doing and he injects a unique style and intensity into the proceedings. The cinematography is remarkable too, with so many beautiful, neon-soaked shots dripping with vibrancy and colour.
Of course, Keanu Reeves is as badass and awesome as ever. The role of Wick fits him like a glove, and he just embraces it and embodies the character so perfectly. Reeves isn't known for his emotional, dramatic acting yet this lack of attachment from the world is perhaps what makes John so brilliant; besides, Reeves is convincing enough for the small dramatic scenes that are required of him. For 52 years old, the actor is still so great and on-form in all the action sequences - which are all actually him. It's rather impressive. The supporting cast are all great too, and everyone looks like they're having a blast, from the likes of returning players such Ian McShane and John Leguizamo to newcomers Common, Ruby Rose, and Laurence Fishburne - yes, this Matrix reunion between him and Reeves is definitely one to revel at on the big screen.

Similarly to its predecessor, however, John Wick: Chapter 2 is not without fault and my only real flaw with this film is that the first act drags quite a bit. Understandably, there's a lot of story setup necessary but - especially coming off of the nail-biting opening - it can't help but drag quite a bit in all the exposition. Once the film gets to Rome, though, Stahelski really cranks things up a notch and the film really gets going. Although, aside from pacing issues in the first act, Chapter 2 is a superb sequel in that it is able to match - and even surpass once the ball gets rolling - its predecessor. This is a non-stop thrill ride, that has visceral, violent and stunning action in abundance - seriously, the headshot and body count is through the roof. It's easily some of the most fun I've had watching a film in a while; I was on the edge of my seat with a massive grin slapped across my face for 2 hours. Everyone kept asking in the first John Wick if he was back... oh, he most definitely is. And it's awesome. Bring on Chapter 3.

VERDICT:

Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves have done the impossible: topped the already insane John Wick, with a sequel that's even bigger, better and so much bloodier with John Wick: Chapter 2.





About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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