This second instalment in the John Wick franchise will have a lot of people questioning the protagonist’s motives.
John Wick Chapter 2 continues just a few days after the first film when Wick is dragged back into the bloody life he left behind.
Rather fittingly this took the form of a blood oath, an oath John made with a “friend” to be able to complete the impossible task that set him free from his life as an assassin. The antagonist confronts Wick to cash in this oath and, according to the assassins network known as the “Continental, an oath can never be denied.
Compared to the previous film, where his drive to get revenge was purely his own, this instalment his hand is forced, and if you look at it that way his motives don’t carry much weight. But you have to keep in mind, the rules of the Continental can never be broken without consequences. The memory of his wife and a distaste for the life of a killer drives him to turn down the blood oath he made.
Wick is then left to deal with the consequences of breaking that oath as the memories of his deceased wife are destroyed in front of his very eyes. If you think the death of his dog was enough to send him over the edge, imagine what this did to sad Keanu.
“You stabbed the devil in the back, what did you expect” sums up the entire movie quite nicely.
John Wick Chapter 2 takes gun-fu to the next level, sorry Equilibrium
But no one really cares about motives in action movies, right?
The uniquely choreographed combat scenes which pushed Reeves’ dedication to making the combat seem realistic and fluid was shot just as well as the first film if not better.
The gravity of John’s actions is also evident in his various conflicts. Unlike most action movies where the lead has an adamantium skeleton, Chapter 2 believes that a punch should result in a bruise or broken bones. When Wick gets battered, his performance is affected.
Jonathan Eusebio, the film’s fight coordinator, did an excellent job of incorporating flashy judo throws and jiu-jitsu ground work into visually appealing stunts. The team succeeded in making almost every fight scene feel like life and death.
Besides the fighting sequences and explosive gun-fu, the cinematography was exceptionally tight and fluid. The various visuals made you feel like you were a part of an underground world. You might be familiar with a number of filming locations, but the shots injected their ambiance with unique Wick-like emptiness.
Most sequels don’t necessarily feel as good as their predecessors, however John Wick: Chapter 2 has successfully expanded on all the questions left unanswered in the previous film, while still giving us enough to look forward to in the third installment.. if there is ever one.
Verdict: With great cinematography, martial arts and a light sprinkling of bullets, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a great addition to the franchise that will leave you hoping for a third instalment.