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"John Wick 2" feels like a video game

The sequel to Chad Stahelski’s 2014 film, John Wick, brings back the same level of action and stunts in John Wick: Chapter 2. The movie follows John Wick, played by Keanu Reeves, as he ties up loose ends after the events of the first film. The introduction is filled with a menacing Russian mobster smoking a massive cigar as he describes the horrors that John Wick has committed. As he basically describes the entire events of the previous movie, John Wick brutally murders almost all of the mobster’s soldiers. These opening events serve as a taste of the tone and style of the movie and serve no purpose to the rest of the film. A problem with the beginning scene is that it is filled with references to the first movie and focuses a little too heavily on comedy. There is comedy in the rest of the film, it is much more spread out.

The main plot of John Wick: Chapter 2 takes place when Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) forces Wick to murder D’Antonio’s sister so that he can take a seat in the secretive ring of black market leaders.

The sequel continues the same trend that was set up in John Wick. Very little of the dark mysterious world is described, though of the rules and aspects of this mob world is shown, and the same rules from the first film still apply: no killing on continental ground, these are hotels across the world that the black market uses and blood oaths must be respected. This is a big part of why the story behind the John Wick movies is so great; this rich world building can bring in much of the audience to learn more.

This insane story seems to come out of a video game, where there can be so much depth to the world yet a player only experiences one story. The similarities between video games and the movie continue in the insane action sequences. While I found this movie relied a little too heavily on the action scenes, I was still fully engaged and thoroughly entertained by the skill that Stahelski has developed after working as a stunt coordinator for so long. It seems that the goal with the John Wick movies is to get an audience to come for the action and then stay for the action. There really is not much else getting in the way of this movie. While some other action movies may try to get away with jumpy, annoying action sequences, Chapter 2 does nothing of the sort. The camera stays still and does not cut as Wick shoots and punches his opponents often to brutal deaths.

There is not much else to say about John Wick: Chapter 2. The acting and writing is not interesting, but it is not trying to be. Keanu Reeves might have said 30lines in the entire film, maybe 60 lines total in both movies. The plot itself is not complicated with additional side stories that play too large of a role in the film; the story is John Wick being forced to kill someone and then taking his revenge. It is simple and to the point. Chapter 2 is just a bunch of action sequences that are linked together by just enough story to get the audience from point to point.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is the same type of action movie as it predecessor John Wick and also Mad Max: Fury Road. These movies know exactly what they are and does not try to be anything more than that. They are spectacle movies, similar to some of the first movies ever made where there was no plot, no characters, just something to dazzle and amaze an audience. What makes these movies modern and different is the incredibly deep world behind the main characters. Combined with amazing action sequences, these movies become some of the most fun, pure entertainment movies around. John Wick: Chapter 2 is the perfect movie to destress to when midterms roll around. The only things holding Chapter 2 back are the very weird intro and the odd decision to include much more comedy than needed. I suggest watching the first movie before coming to the sequel. If you like the first, then you will like the new movie.

Grade: B

mvalenti@theeagleonline.com


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