JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 Is Another Dose Of Incredible, Precise Action
Yeah, he's back


The first John Wick came along and shot audiences in the head with its clear, precise action. This wasn’t a scrappy guy who bumbled around and used whatever he could to take down bigger, badder threats, as tends to happen in most action movies. This was a force of nature plowing through hordes of bad guys, and no one stood a chance.

John Wick: Chapter 2, thankfully, continues and, in some cases, improves upon what we got in the first movie. Chapter 2 literally takes place within a week of the first one, with a cold open featuring Wick trying to retrieve his car. Soon, he finds out that a blood oath he took in the past, a blood oath that led to him marrying his wife and retiring in the first place, is calling him into action. Thus sets off a series of brutally violent sequences.

Immediately, Chapter 2 builds upon the excellent world building of the first movie. In John Wick, we learned just what we needed to know for a revenge tale. There is a world of assassins and mobs, they have a certain set of rules. There is an entire economy that uses specialized gold coins. There’s The Continental, a hotel where business (read: killing) is strictly forbidden. We only got a peek into that world, but Chapter 2 swings the door open.

We learn a bunch of new stuff about this world, and the brunt of the first half of Chapter 2 is all in service of building that world up. At the same time, because we learned certain stuff a movie ago, like how no business is permitted on hotel property, the film decides to have a little fun with that knowledge. This is how you world build in a series of movies. You gradually introduce information, and then you use some of that information to create great moments.

Once Chapter 2 is up and running, it flies with some of the best action since the original movie. The choreography is as crisp and clear as you remember it, filled with full-body shots of groups of actors fighting. The filmmakers know and trust their actors, and it doesn’t hide them behind a series of cropped shots of elbows flying. It lets us actually see what’s going on, and it’s welcome.

The actual set pieces range from great fun to mind blowing. The opening sequence, for instance, uses a car chase as a precursor to an incredible fight scene in a single location. I don’t want to mention more because you need to experience the glee of seeing it unfold for yourself. Further on, the film decides to have brutal fun with a shotgun. I’m not sure if another group of filmmakers has had this much fun with a shotgun.

One of the wonderful things about John Wick was that it used other people to slyly build up our protagonist. That same trick is pulled off here, though in a slightly different way. You don’t need to know that Wick is a force of nature anymore, you know that. Instead, you need to be warned that this force of nature is uncontrollable.

Keanu Reeves, once again, is perfect as Wick. His cold efficiency is on full display, and his dryness is undercut with a cold fury. It’s almost as if he resents or — at the very least — has come to terms with reverting to who he was. It’s interesting work, though it will be overshadowed by his incredible action skills. Laurence Fishburne injects the movie with a splash that’s almost jarring. He’s more full of life and emotion than practically everyone else, but that’s about what you expect from a dude who commands an army of hobo spies (yes). Ruby Rose and Common match Reeves’ action chops, and the fight between Reeves and Common is one of the more brutal and tense you’ll see this decade; I guarantee it.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is everything you want from a John Wick sequel. It expands the world building, it’s beautiful, it’s got brutal action and it’ll leave you ready for another chapter of incredible, precise action.

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