John Wick Chapter Two is the second chapter in the highly revered action saga that re-launched Keanu Reeves into a new phase of his action-person and re-invented him into this rugged bad ass mould. His "deer-in-the- headlights"-charisma has transformed into a more gritty version of it with an older more chiseled-face Reeves. We´ve never seen Keanu quite like this in any other role. Quiet, stoic and incredibly intense. More reliant on focused stares and his incredible physicality than on his line deliveries. When he speaks it is mostly a few syllables or at most one sentence.Sometimes he gets to yell. Seldom has a part been so perfectly suited for him as John Wick.
A lot of stuff has led up to this point. His collaborations with JOhn Wick-directors/stunt performers/second unit directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski on The Matrix projects, but also on Reeves directorial debut, the criminally underrated martial arts extravaganza Man of Tai Chi. This laid the groundwork for what Keanu Reeves is today, much like the bodies John buried on that day of his most impossible task and how it built the foundation for the Russian Mob.
What is great about the style of action in these films is that they´ve managed to incorporate not only the physical spectactle of the human body in the traditions of Hong kong action cinema, but in a video game-esque environment. Whenever John is shooting his guns his actions reminds us of first person shooters, in when you´ve shot one guy "BLAM!"you quickchange with the tap of a button to the next target " BLAM AGAIN!". Which is why John manages to get som many crazy headshots. I think it is a quite a unique way of modernizing action cinema in an intelligent way.
At the same time the film teaches us that the underworld organizations are reluctant to use a lot of modern technology. When they are transmitting information,communicating or storing information, they use bigass books, they keep physical records. They use Commodore 64 computers and a 1950´s esque telephone switchboard operations board for communication.
I think the build up to the action sequences were made more classy in the first one, but in this one they go a bit crazy with symbolic imagery instead, with mirrors, a modern arts exhibit (Reflection of your soul) and all sorts of interesting stuf that gives the film more weight than you´d expect from a straightup genre-piece like this.
A lot of dry humour, has seeped into this one as well. Stuff that is hard to explain in text form, But trust me. This is also a very funny movie. It is also a movie in which three people gets stabbed with a fucking pencil
I noticed a homage to John Woos A Better Tomorrow. In that film Chow Yun-Fat places guns in vases at a restauarant fo uses later on. In John Wick Chapter Two, when Wick escapes he has hidden an assault rifle and a shotgun in seperate places which he access as he makes his esacpe. Good shit.
John Wick Chapter Two is a superlative sequel in every way. More world building, more interesting characters that inhabit it, more exotic environments, and way more violence. The fights are longer this time, the body count is higher, the dry humour is developed further and this keeps becoming a very distinct franchise with many legs that can carry it forward as the film ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.
John Wick WILL return!