2014 gave us an explosive blast with the surprising action flick that is JOHN WICK. 3 years later, and a million clamors after, The Boogeyman returns for his second outing. In his long-anticipated comeback, he’s reloaded, and is better than ever in almost every sense there is. John Wick: Chapter 2 sees Keanu Reeves’ bad-ass action hero reappearing in the scene with his signature deadpan attitude. Only this time, virtually every single aspect that made the first film so fun to sit through is amplified in greater magnitudes. The kills are remarkably more brutal, but all the more satisfying to watch. Definitely, the R-rating that it garners is justified, and without a doubt pays off largely. Hardcore violence is executed relentlessly, without a single dose of remorse, and it brings in heaps tons of magnificent entertainment consisting of all the goods that would make one leave the theater feeling gratified and confident for the future of the action genre. With the show-and-tell nature of this sequel and the original, they prove that they are not just merely astonishing treats for fans of gun-toting entertainment as they are not less an original creation than they are a blueprint to be followed by succeeding attempts at creating modern masterpieces like it.
As ridiculous and generic as their premises may sound, it’s in directors Chad Stalhelski and David Leitch’s creativity of the execution – the balancing of substance that compliments style, and the fantastic experience that they bring through their unique vision where both Chapters 1 & 2 of John Wick succeed the most. But quite notably though, their boldness to create something game-changing becomes even more noticeable here as they pull off an Aliens which only furthers what they have introduced us three years ago. It’s safe to say that what they have delivered is something genuinely special. That’s where the bang for your buck comes in plain sight, and you couldn’t feel any more grateful for a blockbuster in doing that than this one had done. Its set pieces manage to outdo the lucidly intoxicating sequences that we loved in the original as the film takes place in Rome which John Wick turns into his personal shooting range inclusive of excessively gritty action of taste and class. Regardless of the longer run time that spans for 2 hours and 10 minutes, seeing Reeves do the same things over and over again never feels exhausting as he chains us to our seats and gives us the permission to engage in a wild bullets ‘n fist extravaganza that is undeniably a sensory delight to be sighted. Indeed, his rustiness hasn’t shown, and it only goes to show that he ages like fine wine. Delivering twice the coolness of what he had exhibited in his films prior to this that molded him into who he is right now.
That being said, belittling it is too big a mistake for one to make. There aren’t any nauseating sequences to get irked by nor do the stunts look dull. Every firecracker of a scene keeps a graceful composition, almost to an artistic level, and they produce a visage so entrancing that you just can’t stop getting excited for everything that follows next. In unison, everything onscreen simply flows with fluidity, and with it, we can clearly see the move of every character which helps build a certain element that would give the film a distinct identity through certain artistic stylization. Literally every swift blow, every bullet fired and every bone crunching could be felt, and it creates for an experience that is so figuratively and literally loud that you could very well be part of what ensues. Another notable behavior that makes it quite unforgettable is the competence of every other action scene that gets pitted against the other – upping the ante and raising the stakes in a manner that gets us constantly thrilled as it takes the film to a height of intensity that we just can’t help but internally applaud for embracing how vigorous it could get. How this new chapter is capable of doing that is a question worth answering as the answer that follows stem from the filmmakers’ sheer will to deliver yet another explosive action fest that would redefine how the game should be played.
It’s this type of filmmaker-audience relationship that really works out to a degree that guarantees pure cinematic wonderment, and it shows in this sequel’s relatively bigger budget that doesn’t blow it all to achieve cheap thrills and meaningless tension. Instead, what it gives is exactly what we want point and blank, and inclusive to that is a better story to work side by side with all the violent commotion. Significantly, it’s better-written, makes sense, and fantastically digs deeper into the world that had been built; making it look and feel bigger than it was before. Aside from the expansion of its cinematic geographies, John Wick’s character arc also grows, and is placed with an equal amount of light – giving the opportunity for our hero’s story to shine just as much as the killings that he executes does. We are taken to John’s past, and rediscover the curse that has been stalking him. Vengeance recurs to be a key player, but unlike one thinks it would, the film feeds off of this character motive in a manner that doesn’t feel too reminiscent of the last outing. Instead, it turns out to be a true follow-up where his vulnerabilities are exposed. While he does still look cool at doing the things that he does best, him feeling an amount of fear and pain on the inside gives the film a slight edge since it provides the titular character with a personality that doesn’t just make him look like an unyielding killing machine. From beginning to end, we are given time to enjoy and see where his saga would go, and it accomplishes every single task that you’d desire for it to do. New doors are opened in its final seconds, and because of what we got to sit through, we are crossing our fingers that it would only introduce us to another sequel that would triple the killer kicks and punches that the franchise has pulled. So, in conclusion…is it a great sequel? Yes. Could it very well be 2017’s Mad Max: Fury Road? Hell yes.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is now showing in Philippine cinemas, and is distributed for local release by Pioneer Films. Rated R-16 by the MTRCB.