John Wick was a bolstering attempt at creating a fascinating action film which was as spellbinding in terms of action as it was in terms of its visuals. I was in love with the fascinating gun fights and the hand to hand combat. The mythology associated with the killers was also extremely interesting and amusing. The plot though based on the murder of a dog was appealing enough and realistic enough to justify the mayhem that ensues. So when John Wick 2 was announced, I was pumped. I was expecting a lot from this film and that at many junctures is a downfall of a film. The biggest question for me now was whether this film could reach up to the level that its predecessor had determined for it.
John Wick Chapter 2 starts off from where the first installment left off. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has already avenged his dog and is now after his car that was stolen. He tracks down the car to the brother of the Russian mob boss whose son had murdered his dog. He gets his car back after some breathless chasing and hand to hand combat. There isn’t much to this portion as it is there mostly to show the action sequence mentioned above and introduce Wick for the second time in style. Post this fight, Wick is visited upon by a man who holds a wager from him. This man had helped Wick in his impossible feat which let him retire and now wants him to kill one of the leaders of the assassin’s congregation as part of his wager. This is the price he must pay for retiring and then coming back. Wick refuses at first but is then forced to do the man’s bidding as it is imperative vide assassin law. Once he has carried out the assassination, he is ruthlessly targeted by the guards of his victim and also by the man who had put the assassination contract out to Wick in the first place.
This is a gorgeous looking film. This film is so well shot and so well envisioned that you can practically save any frame of the film and use it as a wallpapers. I was in love with the way the film looked and was shot. There are multiple sequences that are neon lit and have at least a million different hues to it. Now imagine a high octane action sequence unfolding in under such lavishly lit ambiance. Yes! If done improperly it could go have gone horrendously wrong but in this case, it’s exactly the opposite of going wrong. The action choreography and the manner in which it is combined with the atmosphere and lighting is spellbinding. Very rarely bloodshed and mayhem look this artistic. I was particularly impressed by the amount of finesse and clear visibility that the director achieves even in the dimly lit night sequences. Not only is the action totally comprehensible, it looks terrific.
Speaking about the action sequences, this film takes all that was best about John Wick and amps it up. I loved the first chase sequence which was extremely physical. A lot of it was CG but it was done so well that you could not really make out which part was on camera and which part wasn’t. But I can bet that a lot of it was also on camera. The hand to hand combats were just as good as the first film if not better and you also got to learn a lot more about the congregation of the assassins. The film also travels to a number of different locations and the USPs of these locations can be easily spotted in the film. It’s hard not to notice the costumes of this film. While the assassins follow a strict pattern, the characters around them can be seen wearing a plethora of different fashion statements. They wear their fashion on their sleeves if you know what I mean.
John Wick chapter 2 boasts of many interesting characters. Apart from Wick himself who is played with subtle charisma by Keanu Reeves, we have Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King. Seeing Fishburne and Reeves share screen space brought back memories from their acclaimed Matrix series. Fishburne has an important part to play here too and he is never in dearth of charisma. I also liked the character played by Common. He plays the chief bodyguard for Wick’s victim and he takes the assassination very personally. He has a past with Wick and the two can match each other move for move. Ian McShane as Winston was great. He was likable in the first installment and he is likable here too. Riccardo Scamarcio as the principal baddy was the only weak link. But the fact that he didn’t have to match Wick physically made the matter a little less worse.
John Wick Chapter 2 is one of the best action films to have come out this year so far. It’s pure, it’s physical and it’s raw. They kept the story simple and the characters limited which helped you concentrate on the action without thinking too much about the plot. The action is pretty and the film looks gorgeous overall which will only increase its appeal. Everyone who loved the first installment will love this one too and for those who haven’t seen the first installment may just acquire a new taste after watching this film. John Wick Chapter 2 is a must watch.
Rating : 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)