Mike Torchic’s review published on Letterboxd:
The moment that shit got real in this film was when John Wick says on the phone to Abram, "You have my car" and then hangs up. You see Abram cower in fear at the mere thought of John Wick, knowing death awaits. John Wick Chapter 2 was as perfect an action movie sequel could be, upping the ante in every way.
We once again follow the titular John Wick, Baba Yaga, the boogeyman. He's not great at retiring, as seen by the body count. Once again he's brought back into the game, this time by a debt he owes to Santino D'Antonio. You can pretty much fill in the gaps from there. The film was everything I hoped and more. For one, the action was amped up to eleven. If you thought the body count in the first film was high, you ain't seen nothing yet. Every other minute a guy was getting shot, beaten or bruised, sometimes all three at once. This film solidifies Wick as a killing machine. Another thing I liked was how the film delves deeper into the world set up by the first film. The first John Wick film set up a world where Assassins are on every corner and they have a secret society tied together by the continental hotel. This film shows that this is a global affair, and that there are more Assassins than you may think. The film, despite all of the blood guts and gore flying at you, manages to tell a competent story. While it's not the strongest story, it still does what it has to do and provides motivation for all of the blood spilt. My hope for the third film is that it expands more on this mythos and provides some greater stakes for Wick's motivations. That being said, I still enjoyed the story and seeing as how it ends on a cliffhanger, makes me want part 3 even more.
Reeves KILLS IT as John Wick. Wick is probably Reeves's best role since Neo in the Matrix films. Reeves kicks ass, takes names and still has some emotional bits that seal the deal. It was also nice to see a mini Mattix reunion, seeing as how Laurence Fishburne is in this film. He's not in it for long, but he gives us a charismatic performance that only he could give. Plus, it was nice to see Reeves and Fishburne back doing a film together. Common and Ruby Rose play two badass Assassins that have some great moments. The acting was great all around, and I hope many of them return for part 3, that is the ones that survived.
Chad Stahelski once stated that this is an action movie for action movie lovers (at least I think he did) and John Wick Chapter 2 proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Everything, from its look to the stunts makes this an action fans wet dream. The John Wick franchise is probably the best modern action film franchise, and this film solidifies its status. One thing I absolutely loved was the cinematography by Dan Lausten. The film has a certain vibrancy to it that makes it stand out from the rest. One scene in particular that I loved was the hall of mirrors scene. Throughout all the action there's still this neon feel that tied the scene together. Another thing that I praise the film for doing is limiting the shaky cam and quick cuts during the action scenes. Throughout all of them you know that it's the actors, not stuntman doing the majority of the action scenes. It's brutal, bloody and a delight to see. I absolutely can't wait for part 3.
Like I said before, the action scenes in this film are glorious, mostly due to the stunt work. The majority of it was done by the actors themselves, which really showed the level of commitment these actors had to the film. Stahelski, himself a former stuntman, knows his way around action scenes, and you can see that copious amounts of detail were put into the choreography. It plays out like a dance, except there's much more brutality involved. The stunts alone are worth the price of admission. I think that the stunts are a major factor that separates John Wick apart from every other action film, and this film wholeheartedly proves that.
I also really enjoyed the score to this film. It's bassy and loud when it needs to be and also provides a feeling of unease. Whenever you hear the theme you know Baba Yaga is gonna kick some ass.
Overall, John Wick Chapter 2 was all I could've hoped for and then some. It's safe to say that this film is My favorite of the year so far. Bring on chapter 3!