After the success of the first film, a string of excellent movie posters and positive early reviews I was quietly confident that I’d enjoy ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’. With Keanu Reeves returning to the role and many crew members behind the scenes sticking it out for this follow up the odds were certainly staked in favour of a decent action movie sequel.
If the opening action sequence was anything to go by you’d have to say that ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ was a success. Immediately audiences are treated to what they loved so much about the first film, top quality action. Along with the energising theme music for Mr. Wick it seemed that our newest favourite action hero was back with a bang. Much of the action is very well choreographed and often it is brutally entertaining. However, it encounters a problem that wasn’t present in the first film. I found that I couldn’t enjoy the action as much due to the context it finds itself. The narrative for this chapter of the John Wick story was just too silly for me. I understand that progression is important in sequels. It’s a shame that this one gets the focus all wrong. There is an initial storyline that sees Wick come out of retirement once more. This made sense and set up the film to be quite an interesting watch. However all hopes of this begin to fade when the exploration into the organisation of the ‘Continental’ becomes the centre of the story. It’s involvement in the first film worked well due to the simplicity it held. Unfortunately this time round the continued featuring of this in the story only discredited the film as a whole, as it descended further and further into lunacy.
The cast don’t do a great deal to help the film. The only actors who emerge unscathed from this ordeal are Ian McShane and the criminally underused John Leguizamo. Both of these actors manage to pull off the dialogue they’ve been given in the script. The same can’t be said for the likes of Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose or Common though. Each of these performers falls victim to the cringe-worthy dialogue forced upon them. The narrative and script were so interwoven into the action sequences that they couldn’t help but detract from their quality. So whilst isolated action moments were certainly impressive and sometimes enjoyable it was too often the case that these sequences would become monotonous. Motive had a large part to play in the first film. Wick has a strong and simple motive that was easy to get behind. Here it’s really just about survival. The narrative strokes that caused this were just so dull resulting in me hoping for the titular character to meet his comeuppance just so I wouldn’t have to sit through Chapter 3 in a few years time. The poor content of the writing aside, the pacing was another huge issue. After the initial action sequence we had to wait so long for anything interesting to happen again. By this stage the film had lost me, it drew me back in slightly but only to lose me once more.
Apart from the fantastic action sequence which opens this sequel and some specific fight scenes this film couldn’t be further from the first in terms of quality. The narrative is the biggest issue for me. Choosing the wrong focal point for the story was a mistake. The writing seemed lazy, it was if any reasoning would do for getting as many people as possible to be after John Wick. The cast are largely poor, this is no surprise though considering the painful dialogue they have to inflict on audiences. The combined negativity of these elements puts a dampener on the action, probably the only thing the film had going for itself. I have to conclude that John Wick should have stayed a one chapter story.
Rating – 3/10
Question: What is your favourite ever action movie sequel?
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