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How Many People Can a 50year old Kill?–Eyes of a Fourteen Year Old- John Wick: Chapter 2

I know your past fondness for German varietals, but I can whole heartedly endorse the new breed of Austrians.

poster+for+John+Wick+Chapter+2
poster for John Wick Chapter 2

poster for John Wick Chapter 2

Summit Entertainment

Summit Entertainment

poster for John Wick Chapter 2

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John Wick: Chapter 2, is the critically acclaimed sequel to the also critically acclaimed action thriller John Wick. John Wick: Chapter 2 has 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 8.1 stars on IMDB, and opened at $30 million, placing it in third place behind Fifty Shade Darker and Lego Batman.  So, with all of this good grace surrounding this film, who does it hold up in the eyes of a fourteen year old? **Warning Spoilers Ensue!!!**

Amazing; The film handles heart pumping action, a well rounded story, and a fleshed out world amazingly. For example, there is one scene where John Wick (Keanu Reeves (yes!)) goes off to kill a former friend, Giana D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini)  and what ensues is an intense and emotional conversation that ends with Giana committing suicide. John then starts shooting his way though about twenty people in the middle of the Giana’s coronation into the High Table, which is the group of people that leads the underworld.

John Wick: Chapter 2 follows John Wick, a retired hitman whose dog is killed and has his car is stolen, an old friend, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), blackmails him into killing his sister, Giana.  What is interesting about the movie is less the actually story and more the world in which it takes place. The film paints a very interesting picture of a criminal underworld; where everything is bought by gold coins, not money,  and go to a gun sommelier do get a gun. The sommelier is dressed in a suit, and is incredibly formal, exactly the opposite kind of guy you think would be selling guns. When the sommelier sits down with John, he tells John “I know your past fondness for German varietals, but I can whole heartedly endorse the new breed of Austrians.” The entire exchange just screams suave.

The best part of the criminal underworld, however, is the Continental Hotel. The Continental is a chain of hotels whose managers basically run the underworld in their respective cities. They are not the leaders, that would be the High Table, but have their own rules and can deal out their own punishments. Any Hitmen, as well as the public, can stay at the Continental whenever they want, and the staff is overly hospitable. In the hotel there are special clubs hidden away that only hitmen and people connected to the underworld can get into. The hitmen also have a special rule they have to follow: No business will be conducted on Continental grounds, which means that you cannot kill anyone in the hotel, or else you will be excommunicatoed, that means that you can not use any services connected to the Continental, and are usually killed. For example, in the first John Wick film, because a hitman kills a hitman in the hotel, she is then killed by the manager, Winston (Ian McShane). The Continental is an interesting set piece that just adds to this film’s fleshed out world

Another aspect of the film that stands out when compared to a standard action film is the attention paid to how many bullets are in a magazine. You see, most action films give the heroes how ever many bullets the script desires without reloading, ignoring the bullet count. The John Wick films care about the bullet count. For example, at on point in the film, due to money and a seven million dollar bounty hunt, John gets a gun with only seven bullets. At the next fight, he fires off all seven bullets at once, clearly forgetting he only had seven. After all seven are gone, the gun is empty and thus does not work, so John has to pick a gun off of a corpse. This level of detail is something you rarely see in action films; the only two I can think of that have this detail are Deadpool and Mad Max: Fury Road. You also see John reload his guns frequently, and reloading a shotgun even becomes a main component of one of the many, many shootouts. In my second viewing of John Wick 2, I was able to count the bullets John shot, and he always reloaded after he shot all the bullets in the clip.

  The film is an almost non-stop shootout. All the shootouts are amazing, but two standout more then the rest: The “coronation shootout”, and the “climatic museum showdown”. The coronation shootout occurs during a party held in some roman ruins and catacombs. You can find out the purpose of the party by watching the film, I can tell that what goes on there is blood, and lots of it. After murdering/aiding the suicide of a crime boss (back to Giana D’Antonio’s death), he is hunted by one of her hitmen, Cassian (Common), and the hitmen of her brother during her party. The scene is filled with fantastically choreographed action, great electronic music, and an excellent setting as John runs around ruins and catacombs trying to survive, all the while killing many people. In this scene, John uses a pistol, an automatic rifle, an automatic shotgun, and a knife, all of which was bough from the gun sommelier

The other shootout I would like to highlight is  the museum fight, which is just as well choreographed as the coronation fight, but the location and props, combined with the cinematography, lead me to believe that it will go down as one of the best fight scenes of this decade. The scene involves John trying to kill a crime boss, Santino D’Antonio, and having to fight off all of his hitmen, resulting in a knife fight between John and Santino’s lead hitman, Ares (Ruby Rose), who is deaf. This scene is so great  becuase it takes place in an art exhibit, that includes a many of mirrors and LED scenes, creating a unique ambiance that few fight scenes can rival. Furthermore, the camera is the hero of the story, focusing on mirrors and people to keep you guessing what is going to happen next. This technique comes is most magnificent during the knife fight between John and Ares, where the camera moves between mirrors, and, at one point, going upside down, all while seeing the action unfold.

One of the interesting aspect of the gunfights and really the whole movie is that fact that there are no stakes. Most action films try to make it appear as if the protagonist is not going to survive a situation, but then they do becuase they are the protagonist. John Wick is an unstoppable killing machine, and can out-shoot anyone, and the first film is very up-front about this; therefore, instead of trying to create a situation where he might not come out alive, the film focuses on the gun fights them selves. The first film had stakes, becuase the character of John Wick was new. However, by the end of the first film you realize that he cannot be stopped.The film expected you to know this, so he is always going to walk out alive in the second film.

This film also features an impressive Rock EDM (electronic dance music) score. The score contributes to the atmosphere for the action scenes, and serves as a great accompaniment to them; also, its better then the orchestral score of most action movies. The composers even had an actual DJ, Le Castle Vania, compose music for the score, as well as for the score for the first film. The score also features songs by the LA based alternative band Nostalghia, has a cameo in the film during the coronation scene. Le Castle Vania also makes a cameo in the same scene.

The most unique thing about both John Wick: Chapter 2, and the original John Wick is the subtitles. The villains are from crime families from different countries, with Chapter 2 focusing on Italians. Because the crime families and their henchmen speak their native language, subtitles are necessary. Usually, subtitles are simply just words on the screen, and this seems like the case in this film, but you will quickly notice something is unique: Colors. When an important word, usually the subject of the sentence, comes up in the subtitles, that word is in bold and in a different color, rather than the standard white. This makes the subtitles feel more important, but also easier to read, becuase the important parts are bold and colorful.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is an excellent action film, complete with stellar acting, a great story, well choreographed fight scenes, and lots of violence. In fact, the films is so violent, you lose track of the body count in the first five to ten minuets. John Wick is an unstoppable killing machine, and that is shown throughout the entire film, gaining it an R rating for “Strong Violence Throught.” However, the violence serves its purpose, and adds to the film. I would definitely recomend John Wick: Chapter 2 to anyone that would like to see an action film that takes its audience seriously. I give the films 9.5 stars stating “A fascinating world, stellar acting, and tremendously choreographed gun fights propels John Wick: Chapter 2 beyond other action films.”

John Wick: Chapter 2 stars Keanu Reevs, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Common, and Lawrence Fishburne. It is directed by Chad Stahelski, and is written by Derek Kolstad.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is rated R, and now playing in theater everywhere.

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