John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 ★★★

Perfect headshot cheat: ACTIVATED!

The original John Wick had little right to be as good as it turned out, and it concluded with seemingly little room for a sequel. Bereft of the emotional momentum centralising the first film and perhaps more concerned with breaking the record for cinematic headshots, I have the nagging inkling that when all is said and done and we look back over the official trilogy for the John Wick story, Chapter Two may be remembered as the slightly awkward stepping stone to get from a comparatively modest A to a speculatively apocalyptic C.

The story aside, however, mega plaudits to Keanu Reeves for evidently completing about 96% of his own fight scenes; greatly contributing towards the most cogent verisimilitude, this is one of the greatest action performances I've ever seen. Of course, praise is also due to the cinematography and editing for allowing numerous combat sequences to play out in wide shots with minimal cutting - getting away from the frustrating Paul Greengrass-borne rapidity that paints over films of a similar ilk (or those which try, at least). Simply put: John Wick: Chapter 2 features some of the most outrageous yet logistically restrained action sequences since The Raid films (2011-2014).

However, while this sequel allows the alluring criminal underworld communicated in the first film to bloom into something multifaceted and wonderfully expansive and establishing that Wick can actually get hurt, general logic for the real world no longer seems to apply. Sure, the film occupies a sort of comic book/heightened reality world, but there are one too many moments - often pertaining to the action pervading public places - that had me not so much suspending my disbelief beyond rational limits as questioning whether the events had suddenly transposed to 'The Matrix' where nothing actually matters. Speaking of: Laurence Fishburne has a magnificently tongue-in-cheek cameo.

All in all: spectacularly okay / moderately brilliant.

Liam liked this review