John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 ★★★

A bit of a step down from the first, falling victim to the idea that bigger's not always better, John Wick: Chapter 2 is sufficiently entertaining as a pure action flick, but perhaps just a tad disappointing. Gone is the emotional core of the first film, whose simplistic, and perhaps even silly on paper, premise made for a surprisingly emotional revenge tale; in it's place is a story that by comparison feels much more empty. There's hints of that heart here and there, and Keanu Reeves' performance really sells those moments when they come, but they're too few and far between to pack that same punch. Admittedly, the bigger scope does offer several upsides. The unique worldbuilding of the original is expanded even further, with lots of cool new additions to The Continental hotel and the underground world of assassins - that said, developments of the world towards the film's end ride the line of absurdity in a somewhat otherwise plausible world. The technical side of things also benefit from a larger scale production, with the film's setting and signature gun-fu fight sequences ramping it up from the first film: a third act cat-and-mouse within a mirror based art exhibit is particularly impressive as a technical achievement. For anyone looking for more John Wick, Action Hero, Chapter 2 will surely suffice. Others may find the diluted narrative substance discouraging, but can still be entertained by those fantastic action setpieces.

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