I hope you’re prepared for nerdgasming, because this post is going to be little more than a neon sign flashing, “GO SEE THIS AWESOME MOVIE RIGHT NOW!!!” It is rare to come across a sequel that one-ups its predecessor, and when that happens, it is truly a sight to behold.
Stuntman/director Chad Stahelski (who also directed the first film) returns with even more visual style and intense fight sequences to boot. I cannot understate how incredible these action scenes are! This is due to: brutal R-rated hand-to-hand combat, impeccable stunts, camerawork that doesn’t cut or shake around, and sound mixing that packs more punches than the characters do. The violence in this movie is akin to that of a 90s action flick without the cheesiness or over-the-top setting. Many people will disagree with me on that aspect, but John Wick 2 makes a great effort to validate the 100+ body count (among other improbabilities). When characters hear “John Wick,” they shudder in fear or, if he’s in their presence, treat him with respect rivaling that of Pope Francis. He’s one of the best assassins the crime underworld has ever seen. It would only make sense that people fear him.
Speaking of crime underworld, John Wick 2 has a stronger story than the first. I always thought the dog’s death was a flimsy motivation, and they remedied that by expanding the incredibly interesting criminal world in this movie. We got hints of this in the first movie, like the cleaning service, golden coins, and the hotel. Hey wait, I just figured it out! Literally as I write this review, it dawned on me. They intentionally teased at the underworld in the first movie so the audience would gain interest for future installments. Do you know what that means? A franchise film released in the last seven years didn’t beat you over the head with sequel-baiting exposition! Excuse me, I must sob with joy.
The narrative may not be as solid for some (although the motivations in this movie are logical). Come to think of it, the runtime is too long, and the characters are slightly generic. But for what John Wick 2is, I wasn’t expecting Inception, just some kick-a** thrills and Keanu Reeves proving that he can act. John Wick: Chapter 2 gets Guy’s Guru Grade of an A-.