By Matthew Mendisana
Today’s film industry has been saturated with an array of action films that have gotten tedious. By now most viewers are aware of how the dance goes: meet the protagonist, something goes wrong because of the antagonist, the protagonist goes through a range of action scenes, protagonist either prevails or it ends on a cliffhanger to set up for a sequel. Rinse and repeat.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does make it difficult to find an interest in the action films of today. Many suffer from either a boring protagonist, tedious action scenes, or, and this is a major flaw with action films of today, shaky cam shots. These are usually used to cover up an edit for various cuts for one specific scene, rather than just rely on one clear shot. No matter how you look at it, if a new action film is going to stand out from the tedium of modern competition, it’s going to need a lot of work and creativity behind it, and I believe that “John Wick 2” is that film.
The movie stars Keanu Reeves as John Wick, a former hitman who’s called back into the game for one more hit. As you can probably imagine, something goes wrong, and now Mr. Wick has a seven-million-dollar bounty placed on his head, with every assassin in New York after him. Even if you haven’t seen the first one, the film gives a brief retelling so the viewer isn’t lost. Without going into spoilers, I’m just going to say that this film is a must see for someone looking for a new film in the action genre. Keanu’s performance as a cold, tough as nails assassin works so well in the film’s favor that it’s hard to imagine anyone but him in the role. Plus, the man really pulls off the mustache look.
The film features an array of action scenes that never once grow boring or tedious. A point in the film’s favor is the arsenal of weapons used. While in some films the protagonist usually relies on a single weapon to get them through the action, John Wick shows off his skills as a hitman through a variety of weapons, which makes for some fun and action-packed shootouts. Another point in the film’s favor is that while our protagonist is clearly an expert in his work, he’s not invincible. When he gets hurt, the film shows it, and how it impacts him during the film.
The film is also blessed with some eye-catching cinematography. While a majority of the film takes place in New York, the film also takes us to the familiar ruins of Rome, which will make for memorable scenes you’ll be talking about by the end of the movie. Not only that but one major bonus for the film is there are no shaky jump cuts. That’s right, the film actually holds shots for longer than two seconds, so there’s no fear of motion sickness for our sensitive viewers out there. So, if you’re looking for a film that blends well-shot action choreography, a dangerous criminal underworld, and a deadly but interesting hitman, then “John Wick 2” is the film for you.
One important warning that viewers should be aware of is that the film is Rated R for strong violence, some language, and brief nudity. If you’re looking for an action film to show your kids or grandkids, I’m afraid this is not the film for them. They’ll have to wait for the next superhero film to come out. “John Wick 2” is definitely an adult motion picture. As a final tally, I give “John Wick 2” a nine out of ten, and look forward to another sequel for this new franchise.