Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"John Wick 2" is better than the original. Startling, action-poetry in motion



John Wick gif comp. John Wick came out last year. A simple revenge story action flick starring Keanu Reeves that's executed with such a style and grace... and for all those wick lovers out there you can play as him in payday 2 and get kicked from 80% of in game lobbies because people hate fun.

"John Wick" was a visceral, well-made B-movie. It is very hard NOT to enjoy what Keanu Reeves and the directing duo of Chad Stahelski/David Leich did in 2014 with the action genre. The story itself was simple: A low-key, but lethal hitman gets brutally beaten up by gangsters and, more importantly, his dog gets killed, which flicks off a switch in his head to exact the ultimate revenge. On a $20 Million budget it made $86 Million at the Box-Office, but, more importantly, it became an enormous hit on streaming services and home video. 

Who doesn't love a movie about revenge? What Liam Neeson did in "Taken" was clearly an influence, in fact it's turning into the most influential action movie of the last 15 or so years.  This "Chapter Two" is actually a better movie than the original "John Wick" and doesn't run into the same problems the "Taken" sequels had at their disposal. the sheer sense of repetitiveness. Everyting in "John Wick 2" is done more ambitiously, but more importantly, better.

The two most important qualities an action movie must have at its disposal, safe for a great, visually gifted dirrector which this film does have, are a) a protagonist you care about and b) an antagonist you despise. "John Wick 2" has both.

There is so much going on in every action-fueled frame of this film that it deserves repeated viewings. Stahelski has stuffed his film with the kind of jolt I didn't expect. The action fees like poetry in motion, a ballet of bullet-riddled choreography that has to be seen to be believed. It has actually achieved the impossible: Made me look forward to the next film.

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