John Wick 2

by Justin Johnson

Let me start this review with a quick flash back to the original John Wick.  When I walked out of the theater for the original movie, I thought to myself three things:

     That was awesome, all except the last 10 minutes (what is with monologue endings?!?) This actually deterred me from purchasing the movie – full disclosure, I still saw it 4 times and counting.

    They didn’t quite have the formula down – not quite knowing when to take itself seriously and when to enjoy the humor of the moment.

They didn’t quite know how the balance between realistic and super hero as it seemed to go back and forth a bit.

Again, I saw it four times so obviously, I am a fan despite these small reservations.  This past summer we got a taste of Keanu’s preparations for John Wick 2 when video of his three-gun training was shared.  For any avid shooter, this was a homage of how serious Keanu takes this role.  When previews started emerging, the desire only grew.  With all that, I was fairly jazzed walking into John Wick 2.  The verdict?  They nailed it!  John Wick 2 delivers on everything I could expect.   They balanced out the formula, knowing when to enjoy comedy (assassins paying respect to each other) and when to take itself seriously (every magazine count was accurate).  They still struggled a bit trying balance realistic fights with super hero moments (how many times can this guy get shot, beat and stabbed and still fight?!?).  The actors all look like they are having a blast and this really helps pull the viewer into the moment.

Overall, John Wick 2 shows strong evidence of lessons learned from the first outing.  Everything seems more mature in execution and smooth in delivery. If I wanted to dig for another criticism, it would be that the motivation behind John’s second outing as an elite assassin felt a bit less genuine than the first.  That aside, this movie had me smiling from ear to ear. Bonus, <spoiler alert> we are in for at least a trilogy and perhaps this is another reason the film proved the better than the first movie, they knew exactly where they were going.

6 out of 7John Wick 2 delivered everything I was hoping for in a sequel and more.  Rated R for intense violence and language.  Not one to see with the kids, and unless your significant other is into the guy movies (and we are talking extreme guy movie), probably best to leave the family at home and enjoy a nice outing with friends this weekend!