GUEST CRITIC #20: John Wick: Chapter 2
As busy I get from time to time, I find that I can't see every movie under the sun, leaving my friends and colleagues to fill in the blanks for me. As poetically as I think I wax about movies on this website as a wannabe critic, there are other experts out there. Sometimes, it inspires me to see the movie too and get back to being my circle's go-to movie guy. Sometimes, they save me $9 and you 800+ words of blathering. In a new review series, I'm opening my site to friend submissions for guest movie reviews.
Meet Emmanuel Noisette of Eman's Movie Reviews. He is an emerging film critic tackling both written and video reviews. His YouTube channel is must-watch and automatic subscribe material. Emmanuel is a colleague of man with the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle (CIFCC).
Eman's Movie Reviews, with its 13,000+ Facebook followers, seeks to give the average moviegoer a quick, spoiler-free review of a movie to help people know if a movie is worth their time and money. Emmanuel encourages people to comment on the reviews and share their thoughts before or after seeing the films. He also humbly asks that no spoilers be given out, out of respect for others who have not seen the movies. His method is giving you "The Good," "The Bad," "The Reason," and a rating of the films out of 10.
Shameful as this sounds, I have not seen the first "John Wick" and I was not a place to catchup before "John Wick: Chapter 2." Eman is a big fan of the first and the second one impressed him greatly. See his review below.
Keanu Reeves has found his new franchise. One of the best things about "John Wick 2" is that it adds to Wick's "Chuck Norris-esque legend". Of course I won't ruin it, but you actually get to see one of the rumored legendary John Wick moves, and it's amazing (and disturbing) to see. I think part of what makes his depiction of Wick even better is that he's committed himself to really training for most of the action you'll see in the film. Given the fact that Keanu is the one that's actually doing a lot of the action and fighting scenes, it really helps make the action that much more authentic. (You can see a video of him training here)
Speaking of action...Wooow. They clearly raised the bar compared to the first movie. There are lots of guns. I mean it's practically gun porn to a certain degree. This almost felt like watching a video game with the amount of weapons and ammo that were used. The fighting also took a bit of a leap. There's a lot more hand to hand combat; more specifically, judo and/or MMA style of combat. The fighting choreography definitely made this movie stand out, and so did the great cinematography from the director.
In regards to the plot, I enjoyed the fact that the film didn't over complicate things. It's an action flick. Deep plots shouldn't be expected, but there was a bit of an expansion in the story. We come to find out a little bit more about the mysterious assassin organization. What I really appreciated were the many rules of this organization's universe. The rules play a major role in what Wick and others can and cannot do. I thought that the interesting rules were a great way to maintain a bit of intrigue and keep the plot compelling. The ending of this film....perfect!
Another interesting highlight was the inclusion of a bit more humor. Throughout the film there are a couple of instances of humor that help in breaking up the intense action sequences. One of those can be seen with Wick and Common's encounter even in the trailer. Speaking of Common, he did a wonderful job as playing another assassin. His moments on screen with Reeves were probably the most memorable.
There's a guest cameo made by a familiar actor in the film. Unfortunately the trailers ruined it, but it doesn't necessarily hurt the movie at all. It's just that it would've been such a great surprise had no one known going into the film. If you have seen the trailers, and the guest surprise cameo, well then it's not really much of a surprise anymore.
One thing I was really looking forward to was more of the "Gun-Fu" (it's actually called "gun kata") that made the first "John Wick" so unforgettable. Rather than going for more of it, they included more of the hand to hand combat and mixed martial arts. I just think the balance was off, and I would've preferred more of the gun-fu vs hand to hand combat.
Most action movies don't really care about making things realistic at all, and this film took that aspect a bit further. With all of the crazy chaos and shooting, not once do you see any collateral damage and/or innocents being hurt or wounded. I get it, it's an action film, and your focus should be on the main characters. However, given the fact that a lot of the action happens in public places, I just think that there was an opportunity to address this in other ways. (Similar to the damage left by Superman in "Man of Steel.")
"John Wick 2" is a great example of a sequel taking the best parts of the original film, and taking it to a new level. It's action-packed and then some. If you're an action junkie, then this will definitely be something for you to plan your night around. If they decide to make a sequel for this, I'm a little worried about what direction they take it in, but I think it still has a lot of promise.
I may catch some heat for this but: "JOHN WICK 2" IS THE BEST ACTION MOVIE OF THE YEAR! Yup. I said it. You wanna fight? I'll deal with the consequences later if need be. Go see it. Turn your brain off and enjoy!
The Rating: 9.0/10
Thank you, Eman! Let's keep this going. Friends, if you see a movie that I don't see and want to be featured on my website (and get a fun fake biography written about you), hit up my website's Facebook page and you can be my next GUEST CRITIC!