John Wick Chapter 2 Review

“John Wick Chapter 2” is the second installment in the new John Wick franchise.  Directed by Chad Stehelski, the films stars Keanu Reeves in the title role, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Common, Lawrence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan, and John Leguizamo.  “John Wick Chapter 2” picks up within days of the first film, with John Wick seeking revenge on the men who killed his dog and left him for dead.  Now, he’s going after his stolen car.  But John Wick is about to be thrown back into the shadowy world of assassins with a contract and a price on his head.  And John Wick, aka the “Boogeyman” will kill all who stand in his way.

When I had originally heard about the first “John Wick” film I didn’t care to see it.  It didn’t look very appealing but it was one of those movies that surprised the hell out of me.  I really loved the originality and the cool slick action that the first film delivered.  The screenwriters and director created this mythology set up in this universe with “The Continental,” a worldwide networking hotel for assassin’s and mysterious figures all over the world.  The movie had gunfu and insane amounts of action violence.  “John Wick” was a great time.  In regards to the sequel, I was pretty skeptical from seeing the trailers and although the movie was praised by critics, I found it to be a snooze fest.  I know a lot of people liked the sequel but to me it felt bland, too much like the first one and repeated a lot of the same beats which is what usually happens with sequels.

Now for me personally, I felt like “John Wick Chapter 2” was completely unnecessary.  Now you could say that almost all movie sequels are, but sometimes I think great movies, really great movies leave the door open for a potentially greater sequel; “The Godfather Part II,” “The Dark Knight,” or any of the “Star Wars” sequels.  But sometimes movies can be great and not need a sequel.  This is exactly how I felt with “John Wick.”  But unfortunately this is not the Hollywood way.  Hollywood needs its sequels to start big potential franchises and I get it, they want to make money.  After all that’s why it’s a business.  But after seeing “John Wick Chapter 2” I can say that this movie just didn’t really go anywhere where the first one went.  A lot of the action set pieces while entertaining felt hollow and not as original as the first.  I found the plot to be all over the place and kind of dull.  The movie really kicks into gear with the third act when John Wick has a price on his head.  That actually was entertaining but the entire lead up to him trying to kill this Roman woman was completely slow, boring and just not interesting.

I am all for action, but if the action doesn’t serve the story then the movie to me becomes pointless.  With this film, you could tell that they were just trying to one-up the action from the first film and it didn’t make any sense.  The first movie was a small and simple revenge story, but what was the motivation for Chapter 2?  John Wick is trying to get out of the system?  I guess but why is that even remotely compelling?  I couldn’t really find anything in part 2 that really sold me as a moviegoer.  I don’t need every film to have an amazing story or some hidden meaning for analysis but I do need my movies to make sense and have a clear sense of motivation.  And if they don’t have those things then give me compelling characters.

Speaking of characters, the only real win with this movie was Keanu Reeves as John Wick.  He was born to play this part.  I loved him here and in the first film, but it’s not saying that much because Keanu Reeves barely has any lines.  And maybe that’s why he’s perfect here.  Because he doesn’t have to act.  I do give him mad props however for his stunt work, most of which he does himself.  And I did kind of like the little “Matrix” reunion with him and Lawrence Fishburne who played Morpheus.  But like the “Matrix” films that warranted unnecessary sequels, so does “John Wick.”  This isn’t a horrible movie but it really isn’t all that great and to me it felt very forced, run-of the mill and pointless; especially after that first one which I loved.

“John Wick Chapter 2” hopefully will be the closing of the franchise but I know Hollywood and they have at least 2 to 3 more planned in the future.  Die hard action junkies will get a kick out of “John Wick Chapter 2” and will be clamoring to see guns a blazing rather than weak BDSM in “Fifty Shades Darker.”  “John Wick Chapter 2” has some mild brainless action entertainment and a story so boring and exhausting that leaves more room for dessert.  I guess we will have to wait for Chapter 3 in the near future; yawn.

Grade:  C-

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