After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.
I watched the first movie a few years ago (really weird but according to my databases I never reviewed the movie; which is weird because I could’ve sworn I remember typing up a review of the movie here *ponders*) and was pleasantly surprised at just how good it was. I’ve watched it a few times since and it’s definitly one of my favourite action movies. So naturally I was very excited to watch this movie.
MASSIVE SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the movie (or the first movie)!
I was a little nervous that this movie wouldn’t deliver–you know, the sophomore slump and all–but this movie was in form from start to finish. A bit slower than the first movie as the world in which John operates in is expanded and built upon, it’s nonetheless a fascinating watch, drawing John deeper into the fold once more. The first movie was pretty simple in that he’s drawn back into a world of killing and revenge after gifts from his late wife were taken from him (by a douchey son of a mobster, played convincingly by Alfie Allen). The motivation there was pure; here, obviously, the writers were presented with the challenge on what would draw John back and keep him there in the dark. I thought it was a convincing reason, tying back once again to his initial motivations on leaving and the impossible task he was set to do in order to retire (which, by the way, I don’t ever want to know the specific details of the impossible task and how John went about it. It feels like a myth, you know? I’d rather not know see it on-screen, keep the mystery). And the reason is complicated too as it draws in quite a bit of politicking going on in the Underground world.
It was great that they did start off the movie with a tie-back to the first movie, wrapping up a loose thread or two whilst reintroducing the audience to the world and to the character. There were lots of throwbacks to the first movie and references, lines, and stories mentioned in the first movie (lmao at the Viggo’s brother’s description of John Wick being exactly the same as Viggo’s…as well as the pencil story. I thought the latter was especially amusing in being reinterated as…erm, well, you’ll see later in the movie).
The cast is solid here (ahhh! at The Matrix reunion here) though I missed a lot of the cast from the first movie. Keanu Reeves continues to deliver as John Wick and whilst my favourite acting scene from him to date is still from the first movie (God, the chills I get when he says “And your son took that from me, stole that from me, killed that from me.”) I really felt for him throughout the movie. The details about the Continental and how it operates is of course expanded upon and I really enjoyed the change in venue, going to Rome for a bit. John Wick really is in a hard situation here as he is drawn deeper back into his old life and it becomes increasingly clear that he doesn’t have very many allies. Granted, everyone is out for themselves in the assassins world, but nonetheless I really felt for him and where he ended up at the end of this movie. I’m excited to see where his character starts in the next movie (because you know there’s going to be a next movie) and how far Baba Yaga is going to go to avenge himself and survive.
Perhaps my only complain about this movie? Only one song from Le Castle Vania in the soundtrack? But I appreciate how the soundtrack builds up from the first one (a solid soundtrack, btw) and adds some classical in there to reflect where John goes and stuff.
Overall I really enjoyed John Wick 2. Whilst the first movie is still my favourite this movie was still solid from start to finish, builds on the world we are introduced to in the first movie, and really left me excited (and worried) as to where the character is headed. I highly recommend these movies if you’re into action movies because they are fun and intense and very well filmed.