(Newer movies that I’m just getting to now)
Awwwww shit. Now this is what I’m talkin’ about fellas. In this installment Wick (Keanu Reeves (The Neon Demon)) is called back into action because of a sacred promise he made to an Italian mobster (Riccardo Scamarcio (Go Go Tales)). Either John takes the job or violates the oath which means this asshole can kill him with no consequences. Decisions, decisions. Anyway, after his house gets blown up John figures he ought to accept the task and goes off to do what he does best (kill folks, that is). But Wick gets double crossed and suddenly every hit man in America is out for him. Wow, all this from one carjacking and puppy murder.
Chapter 2 is superior to the first in almost every way. The action is staged better, shot better, the ideas are better, the dialogue is better, the stunts are crazier, the dry humor is funnier, the cinematography is more focused, Reeves’ movements are even more fluid and precise, and you get the point.
The only thing is the story isn’t as strong. Yes, both involve pretty thin fuckin’ plots but the impact of witnessing a man’s dog being killed (which was a posthumous gift from his dead wife no less) is incredibly moving. Wick’s vengeance is fully justified, I suppose. With Chapter 2 it’s about survival which is good too but we’re not tied to Wick as powerfully on an emotional level like we all were the first time around. But if every other aspect is a step up then I gotta go with 2.
Director Chad Stahelski (stunts: Escape from L.A., Live Free or Die Hard, The Matrix and a million others) made a great debut with Wick 1 and shows very nice improvement with the sequel. The movie feels more confident and seems to hang back a drop to allow the action scenes to breathe a little more. His weird touches are so much fun too like the 50’s/60’s looking telephone operators with lots of tattoos that put out the bulletins for hit jobs, or that one mute henchwoman that appears to sign in not regular sign language but some other form with random hand gestures, or that there are hitmen at literally every turn made up of all shapes, sizes and genders. Not to mention the finale is an Enter the Dragon rip off but like times a hundred with what must’ve been the most confusing mirror set every conceived. First of all, how the hell did they shoot that shit? But second, how the hell did they shoot and edit that shit and keep it actually comprehensible?! It’s unbelievably impressive.
I thought Wick 1 was real good but not great. Wick 2 is great. The opening scene alone is better than anything in the first one in my opinion. Holy shit I’m stunned at how much of a good time I had watching this. I’m ready for more.