Dir: Chad Stahelski, 2017
This review is of the uncut version
As a rule of thumb, sequels, generally, don’t live up to the standard of its predecessor. Of course, there are exceptions, but John Wick Chapter 2 isn’t one of them.
But, that does not mean that it’s a terrible film. In fact, it comes incredibly close to being as good as the first film. Unfortunately, there are just one or two niggles that deny the movie an equal level status.
Follwing the events of John Wick, Wick (Keanu Reeves) is out of the assassination game and wishes to leave his old life behind.
However, a previous blood pact with the head of an Italian mafia, forces Wick to pick up his guns and carry out a kill. The head, orders Wick to kill his sister, guaranteeing him a higher place in the syndicate.
When the sister commits suicide, Wick fires a bullet into her head, ensuring her death and his fulfillment of the pact.
But, the head of the mafia has to keep up appearances, and can’t let this murder go without retribution. He places a bounty on Wick’s head, and now the erstwhile hit man has to fight for his life.
From start to finish, John Wick Chapter 2 is pure adrenaline. Violent and visceral, the action is exciting and will make you cringe in several places. However, it’s the style of action that, ultimately, brings the film down a notch.
2014’s John Wick, had a barrage of non-stop violence. Heads were blown off and spurts of blood hit the screen. Wick was rarely seen without a gun in his hand, and favoured this over hand to hand combat. As comic book as it was, that element gave the film a realism.
For the sequel, there is more focus on fists and kicks. It becomes a, kind of, martial arts movie. John Wick isn’t a martial arts film. It’s a man with a vengeance, and an endless supply of arsenal.
There is an attempt, to reveal more about the character and provide background. This eliminates some of the mystery of Wick. To do this, a higher level of concentration has been applied to the script, making the film plot orientated. That’s all well and good, but the character is a bad ass and the audience just wants to see him giving the bad guys what they deserve.
For the film’s UK release, the distributors, Warner Bros., requested a ’15’ certificate, as per the first one. The British censors, had an issue with a scene of suicide and couldn’t issue the rating without making cuts. Shots of a character sliding a straight razor down their arms, was removed and the close ups of blood seeping out of the wound was also excised.
With these 23 seconds of cuts made, the film was awarded it’s ’15’ rating. However, moviegoers in Britain, didn’t take kindly to the censorship and made their feelings known. Although the movie still played in its censored version, an entry on the censors website, indicates that the board has passed an uncut version with an ’18’ certificate. Whether this is just for the Blu Ray remains to be seen (or even if gets released at all), but it’s hopeful that Britain will be given the opportunity to see what the rest of the world saw.
But John Wick Chapter 2, is still an amazing movie. It generates the excitement and thrills that a film of this genre should be doing.
What more could you ask for?