John Wick cannot be killed. He is bulletproof. He is Babayaga.
Chapter 2 is the second film in the John Wick series. It doubles the intensity of the first film. Multiple characters spoke of John Wick killing three men with a pencil, and this is the film we see him do it. It is insane, because the filmmakers increased the chaos and carnage to 11 in this movie.
It ups the ante to 11, and the outcome is truly spectacular.
After returning home from reclaiming his car from Abram Tarasov (brother of Viggo from the first film), he is approached by a former friend, Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio with a blood oath that originally got John Wick out of the assassination game. He is asked to kill Santino’s sister Gianna so he can claim her seat on the high table of assassins. It’s an impossible task, and only John Wick could complete. Complications arise during the attempt, I won’t spoil it, but the outcome is mesmerising. John Wick is unstoppable tour de force.
Imagine facing insurmountable odds, then multiplying that threat by 1o times. That is what John Wick faces in Chapter 2. Director Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Holstad (who also co-directed the first film) up the ante in the film. Moving the location to Rome and seeing John Wick in a new light. He has a new suit of which the internals have been lined with bulletproof lining to absorb the insurmountable amount of projectiles sent in John Wicks direction. It is impressive to see him take down so many people, and only come out with a scratch. Then again he was the One in The Matrix.
John Wick is a machine, a number of times he is run over shot and stabbed. It is insane because he comes back faster, harder and stronger. How does the psychology of a man become this resistance to pain,? Maybe it’s the lifestyle he was accustom to and the reason he returned to the world of assassination.
Did I mention the stunts in the film, Jesus they were incredible. As you probably know from my previous John Wick review that Director Chad Stahelski was Keanu Reeves stunt double from The Matrix Trilogy. Meaning the stunts are insane. The amount of hand to hand combat that Wick has to do throughout the film is a testament to Reeves. During gunplay, he switched between Judo and Jujitsu as that uses his centre of gravity against the opponent and dragging them to the ground instantly. It is brutal and at the same time a very effective way of engaging another opponent, especially in his bullet-resistant suit. Wick also has to engage combatants in knife combat, in a scene on the subway in Rome he comes across Cassian (played by musician Common). They are both skilled, but thanks to John Wick being the badass he is, he takes Cassian down effectively still keeping his honour with a former friend.
Did I mention the return of an old friend. Lawrence Fishburne is in the film. He plays the Bowery King, the man who looks after all the assassins on the street. He plays the character so well, that I felt I was watching Neo and Morpheus on screen. It was lovely to see the pair on screen once again.
The same kind of cinematography is achieved in this film but on a larger scale thanks to the international time frame of the film. Large scoping vistas of New York and the intimate catacombs of Rome showcase the ability of Dan Laustsen whose former DOP (director of photography) work was on 2006’s Christophe Gans film Silent Hill and 2015’s Crimson Peak. He does a fantastic job of showing that John Wick is a small fish in a very large assassins guild pond.
Tyler Bates brings us the frenetic and somewhat upbeat score for Chapter 2 with echoes of more orchestral cues to connote a sense of humanity for the reasons John Wick undertakes. Le Castle Vania showcase their new music called John Wick Mode which encompasses the vibrant and eclectic beat that you would connect with such a movie, it keeps the heart and most importantly the mind always thinking: like John Wick in the scene.
The overall film is a delightful return to form for Keanu Reeves, it is good to see him back and enjoying the high life with John Wick: Chapter 2. I can’t wait for the Final Chapter.
The unparalleled hyper action is the reason I returned to the underbelly of John Wick. Its incredibly violent and that’s why I love it (and the fact this is technically the return of the One).
I think this is a contender for my film of the year 2017. John Wick is a force to be reckoned with.
Should you watch it: HELL YES