by Nile Fortner
The Boogeyman is back…AGAIN. Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, 47 Ronin) is back as the action packed, brutal, and everyone’s favorite international assassin, John Wick.
The first John Wick film focused on an iconic retired hitman named John Wick (Reeves). When the sudden death of his wife leaves Wick in mourning, he receives a beagle puppy as a gift. One night Wick’s Mustang vehicle catches the eye of some thugs. The thugs steal his car, vandalize his house, beat up Wick, and kill his puppy. This brings Wick out of retirement, and those thugs do not realize they have just resurrected the boogeyman, the most brutal assassin the crime underworld has ever seen, they have resurrected The Boogeyman known as John Wick.
Now John Wick: Chapter 2 follows Wick again. Where Wick is once again forced out of retirement, by a former associate who wants control over the international assassins’ guild. A guild that is bounded by a blood oath. John must travel to Rome, go on missions, and square off against some of the world’s deadliest criminals, killers, and villains.
The opening to this movie is completely bonkers, brutal, and bash*t crazy. From the opening scene, I can tell you that this is one of the best action scenes of the year already. Everything from the stunts, style, and editing are tremendously well done. If you are an action movie fanboy or fangirl, get out your tissues, baby wipes, or whatever and get ready to clean up, because this action packed opening scene is orgasmic to anyone who is a fan of action films.
You can really tell the director Chad Stahelski is truly someone who knows about action films. I actually heard that he was a stunt double on the Keanu Reeves The Matrix film. Therefore, he is someone who knows the art of action. One of my personal biggest problems with action movies today are the stunts and editing. In John Wick: Chapter 2, Reeves looks like he is doing a majority of the stunts. Also, the fight scenes aren’t annoying, trendy, and lazy shaky camera work. You can tell what is happening, who is being hit, the location, and how well everything is choreographed. I have not seen action scenes filmed this well since one of my favorite action films, 2014s The Raid 2.
Speaking of The Raid action films. The first John Wick was like the first Raid movie, where it was more of an action film. Whereas The Raid 2 really peeled back the layers of this world, meaning they showed us some action, but also showed us this world of crime, and that is something I really enjoyed about this film. Actually that would be my favorite part about this film, is the world they set up.
Welcome to the World of Wick
Like The Raid 2, this sequel takes place immediately after the events of the first John Wick. The villain in this movie is Santino D’Antonio, played by Riccardo Scamarcio (Loose Cannons, Burnt). D’Antonio is the one who is responsible for allowing Wick to retire. Now D’Antonio wants Wick back. He wants Wick to go to Rome and kill his sister, so he can have control over the assassins’guild. However, Wick doesn’t want in, but afterwards Wick doesn’t have a choice.
Honestly, I thought the villain was a little weak. He came off like the typical everyday action movie villain. He was a good actor, just his character could have been written a little bit better. He was very white yogurt, meaning very plain in his motive.
The film immediately dives into showing us more of this world of criminals. Even though this world is violent, it is a beautiful looking world. The cinematography, lighting, mise en scene, and overall look of this world are exceptional.
Accordingly, the people who are a part of this crime organization are very cool, stylish, and at times I thought would be a cool world to be a part of. These criminals, and assassins, stay hidden in this deep dark crime filled society. So the film does a fantastic job at expanding on this universe. It really is the rule of narrative, where it is showing us and not telling us, which is a key factor in storytelling. Everything in this world unfolds in action, dialogue, and scenes throughout the film.
One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Wick is preparing to assassinate someone, and needs a suit to be bulletproof body armor. But it is as if he is getting a suit tailored. The tailor asks him, “Do you want Italian style?” “How many buttons?” “The lining and cutting edge?”
Also in this organization, you have no idea who is a part of it. For example, this isn’t a spoiler, the movie literally has homeless people as hitmen. Mainly because this underworld society has so many people, it is impossible to take care of everyone. It is not like they have raggedy cardboard signs reading, “Will work AND murder for food. Anything helps, God Bless.” One moment you can have John Wick in a million dollar suit being a hitman, and in the other moment, your janitor at the local fast food joint Jack in the Box can be a hitman for hire.
A Matrix Reunion for Reeves and Fishburne?
Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix, Akeelah and the Bee) is the head of the homeless hitmen. I thought it was weird in the film how it almost seems like the homeless lifestyle is a cover up. In the film, Fishburne appears to be homeless. However, when he meets up with Wick, he removes his clothes, and underneath he has a fancy silk robe, he goes in his office and it seems like he is living a comfortable lifestyle. Fishburne is an exceptional actor, and has been throughout his career. On the other hand, in this film he seems to be over acting just a tad. There is a line in this movie where he says to Wick, “Somebody PLEASE, get this man (dramatic pause) a gun.” Which he says in an over the top kind of way. Really, when he said that he might as well been saying that while wearing a top hat, tap shoes, and dancing with a cane.
Keanu Reeves is great in the role as John Wick. He looks worn down, beat up, ready to fight, he really is John Wick. Reeves has always come off like a cool, respectful, and easy going guy. However, he has never really been the best actor when it comes to delivering his lines. At times, it seems like he is almost asking his lines. For example, “Why don’t you just give me a gun?”
Also at times Wick might as well be Wolverine. He is shot at, stabbed, hit by cars, and brushes it off like it’s nothing. If anything Wick was probably part of the weapon x program. Which at times comes off just a little cartoonish.
Another problem I had is everyone in this film compares Wick to the Boogeyman. He is a killer, he is Jason Bourne and James Bond times 10. But Reeves never stuck me with that much fear. The opening of the film plays up how Wick is scary, ruthless, and how he even killed people with a pencil. Which reminded me of The Joker’s pencil scene in The Dark Knight. However, even though this guy is killing people with school supplies, I just wish he did more intimidating things throughout the film than just the whole shoot ‘em style.
Common (Luv, Barbershop: The Next Cut) and Reeves have the best fight scene in the movie. It looks like it was all done in one take. Amazing scene, and once again Common plays a terrific bad guy.
In addition, Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) is slowing starting to become one of my favorite female action stars. I like her music/DJ work, and I remember when she mentioned she wanted to try acting. I personally wasn’t feeling it, because few musicians can make that transformation from music to acting in a well done manner. On the other hand, I believe she can actually make a career in cinema as a female action star. She is pretty, badass, and seems dedicated. I mean she has done three action movies back to back already. She doesn’t talk at all in the movie, she uses sign language, and I think that works. Not because she is a bad actress or anything, but it makes the film more diverse and unique.
I know we are talking about a world of death, assassins, and criminals. But one thing I have to discuss is how this is a very diverse movie. We get men, women, different races of people, different cultures, Ruby Rose has proudly come out as a lesbian, and this is the type of cast be should be seeing in 2017 and beyond.
So these are my Final Bitchin’ Buddha Thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 2. This is a rare kind of sequel. It
- Doesn’t force a love interest for our main character.
- It expanded the world.
- It wasn’t a complete copy and paste from the first film.
- It took advantage of a new location, and a new location added to the story.
Action movie fans will love it. Common and Reeves have the best fight in the movie. In addition, Rose and Reeves have a fight in a hall of mirrors. That reminded me of the movie Enter the Dragon, so there is a lot of throwback sequences to older action films. This world they created is stylish, fun, has mind blowing stunt work, unlike the first film no animals were harmed in the making of the movie, and is everything a sequel should be. Is it better than the first film? I believe they are both equally brilliant. I believe John Wick: Chapter 2 earns a…
4 out of 5 Hairpieces!
So that’s my opinion on the movie, what is your opinion on the flick? Did you love it, hate it, or in the middle? Also, who do you think would win in a fight out of Jason Bourne, James Bond, and John Wick and why? I’m curious on who you guys would pick. Well, like what Rose’s character in the film said to Reeves, I’m saying to you all. Until next, I’ll be seeing you.
Thank you all for reading, and or viewing, I hope you all have an amazing day as always, and remember don’t just get down, but get Boogie. 🙂
John Wick: Chapter 2, starring Keanu Reeves, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Roddick, Franco Nero, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane. Directed by Chad Stahelski.