Saturday, May 27, 2017

Movie Review … John Wick Chapter 2

 Keanu Reeves is often derided for his acting skills.  Phrases such as ‘wooden’ and ‘uninspiring’ are usually thrown about by critics.  He’s had the last laugh with a catalogue of hits to his credit.  The Matrix films to ‘Speed’ and the ‘Bill and Ted’ movies have proven his popularity with audiences.  He may not have won many awards but his determination to persevere against a storm of criticism is to be admired.  ‘John Wick Chapter 2’ will probably face the same onslaught although it underscores his persona and sure to further cement his place in action infamy.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a former assassin trying to live a normal life.  Sadly ‘normal’ isn’t a word frequently crossing his path. With a litany of villains on his doorstep, he is continually pulled into another wicked crime.  When forced to perform an assassination on a rival crime-lord, hell is leashed upon Wick’s world.  Faced with a bounty on his head, he tries to flee a cabal of criminals all wanting to receive a fast pay-day. With his skills his most potent weapons, Wick fights to the last to restore order to his wayward life.

‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ succeeds due to its’ focus.  Presenting as an explosive action flick and delivers.  It never deviates into being a drama or romance with the gun-play, fights and mayhem lovingly rendered.  The characters may be stock-standard archetypes, but ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ isn’t about characters it’s just high-octane escapist fun.  Director Chad Stahelski skilfully dives into the seedy, gritty world in which Wick thrives with New York’s mean streets shown in devoted detail.

Any sequel needs to enhance its predecessor which ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ effortlessly does.  It builds on the environment of danger where friends can instantly become foes.  This element adds unpredictability to the story ensuring genuine viewer engagement.  Reeves does well as the world-weary assassin wanting to escape his current existence.  He is the best out of a cast occasionally delivering overly silly performances. It’s the action everyone wants and it definitely reaches a high standard.  Each encounter is as bloody and brutal as needed with the stunt work and pacing top notch.  These elevate the emotions the screenplay conveys with physical moments just as powerful as the spoken ones.

Admirers of strong action films with depth will enjoy the latest John Wick outing.  It’s tough and uncompromising and crafts more additions to its mythology.  A third chapter wouldn’t be unwelcome with Reeves’ place on the action hero pantheon assured.

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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