Whoever said action movies with simple plots aren’t worth watching failed to understand one thing: in some films, action is the story. This can definitely be applied to John Wick: Chapter 2, the first 20 minutes is a blaze of fury, hard-hitting pain and hardcore martial arts, all, albeit, creating some form of narrative.
Martial art films have a huge following. When they are built around a talented fighter, they are pretty darn good. Among the greatest films to ever come out of Hong Kong and Golden Harvest are Way of the Dragon, with its famous battle between legends Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris; Rumble in the Bronx, where Jackie Chan performs his greatest one-man battles; and the critically acclaimed Fist of Legend, starring Jet Li.
In John Wick: Chapter 2, Keanu Reeve’s titular character could also enter into its own cult status, so far loved by action movie lovers worldwide. Now he returns as the lethal hitman, known to his enemies as Baba Yaga, aka ‘The Bogeyman.’ One staged fight after another, the second chapter of this hitman’s fight for freedom and survival superbly escalates the conflict to near impossible ends. Reeves demonstrates the edgier moves he has refined since his Matrix days as he performs his own stunts. This film once again shows off his skill in judo and jujitsu in a hybrid style that combines the fictional gunfighting and close-quarters combat called ‘gun fu.’
But John wick is by no means a hero. Flashbacks reveal he once had a fairly normal life and was a good man. Now his life is filled with vengeance and blood lust.
While the visuals leave you on the edge of your seat, the sound effects are just as emotive, as is the soundtrack. Every punch landed and every bullet fired resonates. In his raging battle to outfight his adversaries, he ends up crossing more than one line. Rules do not apply to this guy. As one of his many contacts attempts to remind him, without rules they would be no different to animals. Yet viewers slowly learn that beneath the tactical Italian suits and the advanced weaponry beats the heart of a sophisticated killing machine who’ll stop at nothing. Jesse Short
‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ is in cinemas May 18.
WIN! Thanks to Studiocanal Australia, Cream is giving away 5 x in-season double passes to see ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’. To try winning, simply key the words ‘John Wick’ in the Comments section below. Competition closes Tuesday 16 May.