John Wick: Chapter 2 Screen 17 articles

John Wick: Chapter 2

2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 Poster
  • Laughed at the silencer gag between Keanu and Common. Otherwise intensely disliked this. Prime example of the New Competence—you can see it! but it's all meaningless, weightless. Appropriate that Wick's signature move is a headshot. Felt like the movie's whole purpose was to extinguish thought. Thought of how Michael Mann orchestrates carnage. How his every bullet hits and resonates. This is yet another "visionary" work minus vision. Frankly, it depressed the hell out of me.

  • They just couldn’t leave it alone. The original “John Wick,” about an über assassin who’s reluctantly drawn out of retirement, was a near perfect synergy of simple premise and intricate movement — an action movie that danced. But the lightness and winking quality that softened the slaughter are less evident in “John Wick: Chapter 2,” an altogether more solemn affair weighed down by the philosophy that more is always more.

  • Stahelski offers no sense that the hit man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) and the worldwide hit crowd that he runs with (and against) is in any way tethered to its place and time, that there are any stakes at all in the success or failure of their missions, in their survival or death, beyond their own existence. Both films are mere technical exercises that, by rights, should serve mainly as feature-length advertisements for the real films underlying them: the making-of documentaries.

  • The action is as monotonous as the second Raid film, without the compelling athleticism, but I'll happily watch Keanu lumber through pretty much anything and the paranoid idea that everyone in the world is part of an underground assassination and vague criminal activity club is delightfully silly.

  • Procedural action here quickly grows deadening - as with any beat-em-up video game violence delimited by a set number of potential combos - although the later stretches are marginally enlivened by immersive set design and consistently interesting use thereof. I was ready to be drawn into the busy world of assassins and their ever-convenient assassination enablers..., but the whole thing is played way too somber and serious to not come off as anything but ridiculous.

  • This much plot detail and world-building feels like a distraction from the cleverly coordinated scenes of slaughter. This new film doesn't have the emotional grounding of the original, and it probably dwells too long explaining things we never cared about. But it's still a visceral, cathartic, and — most importantly — gorgeous two hours of kinetic, poetic bloodshed.

  • The action itself is entertainingly surreal. Gunmen take suppressed shots at each other unnoticed through a crowd, and blood splatters and brain matter paint the walls of a gallery like a Jackson Pollock canvas; in the dazzling climax, an art installation of rotating mirrored panels transforms into a funhouse of fate and violence. Wick has become an Orpheus figure, with killing as his art.

  • While I was thrilled by the original film's beautifully-yet-brutally choreographed gun battles, they didn't have the same effect this time—not sure if Stahelski's work is actually less impressive or if the novelty of his approach just wore off. On the other hand, I'm still in love with screenwriter Derek Kolstad's intricate underworld mythology—so much so, in fact, that (without getting into spoilers) I've pre-emptively lost almost all interest in the inevitable Chapter 3.

  • Director Chad Stahleski, writer Derek Kolstad and star/producer Reeves worked together on the first “John Wick” and wisely decided not to bust up a winning team on the sequel. Where the original was lean, even minimalist, this one is a bit more sprawling, savoring character moments and atmosphere and filling in details that were lightly sketched in the first film.

  • Like any good sequel, Chapter 2 widens and deepens the hyperviolent criminal mythology of its predecessor. It’s not satisfying enough that Chad Stahelski and Derek Kolstad... up the insanity of the first film’s bloodstorm of knuckles, blades, and bullets, but in taking the action from the 2014 film’s garages and safehouses to subway trains, stations, and outdoor concert venues, the duo trace the wide reach of the criminal organization that made John Wick the boogeyman of an assassin that he is.

  • I was duly impressed with the fight choreography and Stahelski's willingness to let things play out in continuous shots, rather than use the editing suite to hack the thing to ribbons. In terms of the gunplay, I'm especially taken with a move I haven't seen elsewhere, so I'll just call it the Wick Maneuver: Keanu gets a guy down on the ground and subdues him, then shoots two or three other guys whilst sitting on said guy, and then completes the set by shooting down at the guy he's sitting on.

  • Both movies savor [Reeves'] aging beauty in the midst of simulated combat. The first Wick is a compact revenge story, while the second one extrapolates outward in a widening circle from John’s violent past. Death waits above, below, before, and after every shot in this nihilistic series. It’d be too sad to watch if not for the directors’ obvious love of wryly staged action coupled with Reeves’ movie star resilience. His body is the only comfort here

  • The elegant simplicity of John Wick scarcely demanded a follow-up, but John Wick: Chapter 2 remarkably balances its predecessor's spartan characterizations and plotting with a significant expansion of scale... The movie hinges on these displays of expertly choreographed violence in ways that mark it as the closest an American action film has ever come to the energy, style, and precision of a classic Hong Kong feature.

  • The fight scenes Stahelski dreams up have a rare sense of danger and spontaneity. More impressively, they heighten our sense of Wick’s character: his focus, skill, and utter singularity. The plot is essentially an excuse to draw Wick back into the business and turn everyone against him. It’s a way of showing us how big this underworld is, such that fight scenes seemingly play out in an alternate universe happening invisibly alongside our own. It all gives the violence an irresistible grandeur.

  • It's even more entertaining than the first time around. Picking up a few days after the original film left off, the narrative zigzags around the world with Wick, reluctantly taking what he thinks will be one last assignment, as he alternately evades (in thrilling car chases) and battles (in exquisitely choreographed "gun fu" sequences) hordes of hit men tasked with whacking him. Stahelski and screenwriter Derek Kolstad sharpen the dark humor and seemingly triple the body count.

  • Perhaps the film runs a touch long; like that gun shopping montage, it’s an exhausting full course and the dessert, however tasty, can be excessive — especially with a body count blowing out to ridiculous extremes. But who’s to complain? When Wick eventually retrieves his dog after the punishing run for his life, the pup’s caretaker assures him matter-of-factly: “He was a good dog. I enjoyed his company.” Truer words have never been spoken of a film.

  • One thing that I really like about the John Wick movies that I don't think gets talked about enough is damage and Keanu Reeves ragged sensabilities as a physical actor to "sell" that damage. Even though John Wick can clear a room of assassins with grace and relative ease that same grace is always pressing up against Keanu Reeves rougher qualities.

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