You want to know how to make a good video game movie? Watch this one and its prequel and all your questions will be answered.
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John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 action film directed by Chad Stahelski, written by Derek Kolstad and stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Common, Ruby Rose and Riccardo Scamarcio. The film chronicles the life of the titular character right after the events of the first film.
I had a hell of a time watching this film. Everything you know and loved about the first film is here and is taken up a notch. Keanu Reeves is back and is in straight competition with Tom Cruise to see who will be the most immortal badass action star ever put to film. John Wick is back armed with a new dog, new weapons, new fight skills and a bigger world to play around in. This film is the Arkham City to the first installment’s Arkham Asylum. The fact that his skill in the art of fighting has improved steadily over the course of movies is a testament to the man’s dedication to his craft. John Wick’s own principles still stay intact as well: no bad guy heads will be left unshot and he will not mess with you until you mess with him. The action choreography is brutal and crisp. Long uncut shots of fight sequences and gunplay invite the audience to enjoy the action while also showing respect to them by employing men and women who care about the final product. The subtle nods to iconic action films of years past are a nice little touch that show the filmmaker’s reverence to the genre.
The film delves into the mythos it created for itself in the first part of this story. I’m sure some of you action movie aficionados remember the film Wanted and the secret world of assassins it created. This film blows that out of the water by making its world one of exceptional intrigue and smile-inducing coolness. The doctors, tailors, weapons dealers, that guy at the concierge desk sell this world so such a high degree. It is a Men In Black-Esque situation where a shadow world exists right in front of one’s eyes but is damn near unrecognizable and they way they keep it unrecognizable is what makes it worth all the praise.
The film’s downsides are the ones that most sequels have to endure. John Wick is no longer that underground sleeper hit that we introduced our friends to, it is a franchise player in the action film genre now. That creates a wave of expectations among people and managing those expectations while trying to tell a self-sustained story is quite the task. The film succeeds and fails in parts here by having a relatively slower first half. There is a lot of buildup to get, Mr. Wick back into the fray and the motivations aren’t as pure as they were in the first installment. But then again, when the film gets going, it does not let up till the credits roll.
I’m going to try and sell you this film in a very simple way. Remember all those stories about John Wick killing 3 men in a bar with a pencil? Yeah. He actually kills dudes with a pencil in this film. If that does not make him a man you want to watch on screen, I don’t know what will.
P.S. – This film is a lesson to those ridiculous world building franchise films on how to setup for a sequel. Keanu did a great job working on his tough guy walk as well. So… Huzzah!
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