Monday, February 20, 2017

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 2

I've always liked action movies, even before I became a martial artist.  So I'd be interested in "John Wick: Chapter 2" no matter what. 

Indeed he is.
Now that I'm a martial artist, though, I have an extra appreciation for action films and the work (and the storylines) created within fight choreography.  Not so great fight choreography can ruin something for me (*cough* Arrow *cough*) and excellent choreography can make a film much better than it would otherwise be.

I enjoyed "John Wick" (the first movie). I found it to be simplistic and stylish (which is what you want in an action flick), and the fight choreography was intense and seamless.  As action movies go, it was beautiful.

So I had to see the sequel in the theater.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is more of what I liked in the first film, kicked up a notch (as a good sequel will do).

I'm not going to go into the believability of the world this movie builds.  I mean, there are huge fight sequences in public or public-ish places that I really want to know how they covered up that it happened at all, especially given one is an art museum in New York.  The logistics of the body count alone, not to mention the damage to public places and (probably) famous works of art... 

It'd be headline news immediately, and given the scale, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for parts of the city of New York to be on lockdown (like Boston was in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings).

I won't even get into the bulletproof suit thing... what, only a couple of people know this exists?

BUT we don't go to action movies to obsess over the plot holes, do we? 

Nossir, you and I, we go to see the fighting. And boy howdy, they did a great job in "John  Wick: Chapter 2".

The fight choreography in this film is heavily based on judo and jiu-jitsu, which is a refreshing change from most fight choreography we usually see.  These things come in waves, after all, where all action movies start looking like one another in the fight scenes until a film comes along to shake it up.  I have a feeling in the wake of this movie, we'll have a new wave of judo-influenced fight scenes.

Here's some behind-the-scenes training he did for this movie:

And I think everybody saw THIS video of Reeves at the gun range. I defy you to find an actor who works harder at making fight scenes look great.  He's up there with Robert Downey, Jr.  

And now I'm sitting here hoping for an old-school buddy action comedy starring Reeves and Downey.  WHO'S WITH ME?

Ahem, back to "John Wick: Chapter 2".

I think most people will think about the Catacombs fight and the fight at the museum (the mirror fight is COOL and here's an article about it you should read HERE).   The knife fight between Reeves and Common on a subway is very well done and might be the best of the bunch.  It had a few moves in it that I know Mr. Chick has been studying about in the knife course he took last year so there's an element of realism that I really appreciated.

You are going to see a TON of judo and jiu-jitsu in this movie, which is a refreshing take on action choreography.  You know how it goes, a movie will draw from a certain style, and that style becomes dominant in movies and TV until another movie comes along with a new style.

I think we're going to see a lot more judo in fight scenes going forward in other movies.

So, all in all, "John Wick: Chapter 2" is a really entertaining action movie with some GREAT action choreography.  I'm looking forward to the third film and hopefully the wrap-up of this saga on a high note.

Have you seen "John Wick: Chapter 2"?  What did you think?  Loved it?  Hated it?  Meh?  Let us know in the comments!