John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
February 11, 2017 6:41 PM - Subscribe

Just when Keanu Reeves thinks he is back out, after having been pulled back in, after being out of the game, he is pulled back again to the world of sumo assassins, hobos, mute bodyguards, very significant coins, Common, hotels, rockabilly girl murder switchboards, and endless parade of goons with heads woefully lacking bullets. A sequel to John Wick.
posted by fleacircus (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I liked this one. I didn't like the first one a whole lot, and I had some criticism of it here (past me: so harsh), but the sequel does the thing I wished the first one did. It embraces its silly stupid world; it cuts out the dreariness and dad-angst.

I wouldn't say it's the platonic ideal of an action movie. Most of the action is about quantity and shock like a Tony Jaa final battle. You have to unplug your brain more than you should. The first fifteen minutes are not good. It's not clear why John Wick needs to get a 100% headshot cheevo on every level. Ruby Rose's futch badassery is underutilized. And I think it's hilarious that the second movie has to invent an even bigger, more special assassin coin.

But it does have one very good fight scene between Reeves and Common, with one brilliant moment that made me laugh in delight and tbh that's sufficient.
posted by fleacircus at 8:15 PM on February 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh cool, I didn't realize this was coming out so soon.
posted by rhizome at 9:36 PM on February 11, 2017

I saw this today and found it to have a slightly different tone than the first one. I played the game of counting kills from the beginning and definitely lost count during the Rome scenes. This one seems more existential. Wick is the boogeyman who is never finished, almost like Death himself. There are allusions to Greek mythology with some of the character names and the exchanging of the coins. The world-building re: the assassins network and how it coexists with ours is fascinating and I want to see more.

I agree that the fight scene with Common was pretty badass including the brilliant moment that fleacircus mentioned.

It was also refreshing to see a film with an purportedly Alpha male lead without women throwing themselves at him. The slight romantic angle with Gianna was handled well, and it was refreshing to see an glamorous older woman presented as such.

Reeves is stoic and efficient, wholly dedicated to this character and the ending is great.
posted by nikitabot at 3:03 PM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah I like how there is little (zero?) gratuitous sex appeal stuff. Someone on Twitter described this movie as Fast & Furious but with guns instead of cars. I don't really agree, and one way they're different is that they are on complete opposite ends of the hubba hubba spectrum.
posted by fleacircus at 8:24 PM on February 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

If I had to make a comparison, I would actually say the John Wicks kind of remind me of The Raid series, but with the ratio of gunfights to martial arts switched.
posted by FJT at 10:49 PM on February 12, 2017

I unabashedly loved the first John Wick. This one? It's good but not as good as the first.

This one continues the world building, which is what I loved the most. I felt like some of the actions sequences were a little too long. I know, I know, it's an action movie.. but the action is the last thing i liked about either of these movies. I am too old now, and too acclimated to the protagonist winning against all odds. Massive fight scenes? Eh. There's still 40 minutes to go in this movie, he's obviously not going to die in this sequence.

In the first movie I didn't mind the fight scenes because they were short and sweet, for the most part. It helped drive home that John Wick was indeed the most badass of all the badasses. I guess numbers is how you overwhelm someone like him, and then you have to watch him kill the masses *anyways* but I just found myself getting bored.

The survival aspect wasn't as appealing to me, either. Off to take revenge for his dead puppy? Yes! Run away from backstabbers gonna backstab? Not so much.
posted by INFJ at 12:07 PM on February 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Be sure to catch the fan parody trailer in which John Wick is killed and his faithful dog goes on a murderous revenge spree.

Idiot! You killed John Wick's dog's human!
posted by Naberius at 7:21 AM on February 14, 2017 [8 favorites]

I just saw this and really liked it. I think I liked the first one better, but man I think the set pieces in this one were more fun.thr house of mirrors was fun, the catacombs took my breath away and I really liked the first one, I thought it was a great way to set to tone.

One thing that I really enjoy about both these films is how easy it is to follow the action. Too many franchises have me scratching my head tryin to figure out where this move or that move came from. Here they seem to trust Reeves and his stunt men enough to not have 12 cuts per punch.
posted by Carillon at 5:06 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

The superlative Every Frame a Painting episode on the action comedy of Jackie Chan is appropriate to mention here I think, because the John Wick movies are the only contemporary American action films I can think of that come from this school of action choreography, and the clarity and creativity of the sequences is a breath of fresh air to watch.

I agree that the world building is fun, and noteworthy for it's complete lack of concern for suspension of disbelief. It holds up to no logical scrutiny, but also manages to invite none. The world is transparently a scaffolding on which to hang colorful characters (The Sommelier! The Deaf Assassin Lady! Hobo Morpheus!) and outrageous action set-pieces, none of which would work as well if it was more grounded.

I also agree that while I liked it a lot, it does lack some of the fire and the fury of the original. John is mostly on the defensive here, and it's been established that he's a force of nature. I was never really worried about whether he'd come out on top, and he didn't have much left to sacrifice after the first film. So the scale is broader, but the stakes aren't as high. They just send more and more wacky assassins to try their luck, and I was just kind of curious to see what horrible fate they would meet for their hubris.

Because obviously John Wick is gonna kill everybody. That's a given.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:16 PM on February 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

I liked it! I'd love it if Carrie-Anne Moss appeared in the third one, alongside Laurence Fishburne, just for a Matrix reunion.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:45 PM on February 19, 2017 [5 favorites]

I also agree that while I liked it a lot, it does lack some of the fire and the fury of the original. John is mostly on the defensive here, and it's been established that he's a force of nature. I was never really worried about whether he'd come out on top, and he didn't have much left to sacrifice after the first film. So the scale is broader, but the stakes aren't as high.

I've been debating this in my head for a few days, because that was my initial reaction, but then I started to wonder if what was really different was that the world building in the first film was a surprise, and here it isn't. Things aren't quite as new. There's the twist with the "anti-lush" parts of that world, but that's a fairly obvious direction to go in, when you think about it. This one felt more like a greatest hits album in that respect (the food metaphor weaponer, the tailor, etc.). Greatest hits albums are comfort food, really. They aren't uncharted territory.

You're right that he's more on the defensive in this one, and maybe that accounts for part of why it seems to be a little less fiery than the first, but I think it's at least as much that the statement of this sequel is basically "remember how awesome all that was? Let's do more so we can relive it together!" It's like replaying an awesome song right after it ends; it doesn't have quite the same emotional impact the second time through. It's ice cream vs. froyo.

I have to say I'm kind of glad from a thematic standpoint that he was on the defensive in this one. His actions in the first one had to have consequences. He had to pay for those lives he took with more than just a little body damage he'd heal from by the second movie. Taking him to where he was at the end of the second movie was exactly what needed to happen, and though it was the most blatant sequel setup in the history of cinema, I find that not only do I not care, I'm straight-up excited to see what happens now that he is where he is and facing the tsunami that's coming.

God, I hope Jimmy comes back. I love Jimmy. Jimmy's a good man.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:49 AM on February 24, 2017

Daily Dot interview - Costume designer Luca Mosca spills the sartorial secrets of 'John Wick: Chapter 2'

Just got back from seeing the movie. I enjoyed it, but I have a feeling that I'm not going to get sucked into re-watching it every time it pops up on cable the way I do with the first one.

God, I hope Jimmy comes back. I love Jimmy. Jimmy's a good man.

Who was Jimmy again? I looked at the imdb credit, but Thomas Sadoski's face isn't ringing any bells for me.

I agree that the fight scene with Common was pretty badass including the brilliant moment that fleacircus mentioned.

Not sure which moment you two are referring to. I think the bit that made me laugh the most was when they were surreptitiously shooting silencer-ed guns at each other from different levels of the WTC PATH Oculus terminal. (And also when the PATH train they entered suddenly magically transformed into an MTA subway train. Like, I get that the stark white floors/walls of the WTC PATH makes for a more cinematic background than an MTA station stop, but as a PATH commuter, hearing the "Canal Street next" announcement made me say "What?! out loud in the theater.)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:52 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jimmy's the cop. "You...workin' again...John?"
posted by middleclasstool at 7:46 PM on February 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

I think the bit that made me laugh the most was when they were surreptitiously shooting silencer-ed guns at each other from different levels

That's the part I meant.
posted by fleacircus at 5:51 AM on February 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

As other said, I enjoyed this one too but not as much as the first. I'm not sure how much of that is that the first was such a surprise joy for me

I do feel like there's one thing never very well explained in this movie. Why is John so well liked by so many? Winston likes him enough to not only spare his life but to hand over a marker?

Something for number three, I guess.
posted by phearlez at 10:08 AM on March 1, 2017

I think this is one of those things we're meant to infer. John gets boatloads of professional respect because:

(1) He's unequalled at his job.
(2) Wait, no, he's legendary. He did the Impossible Task. Even with help, that's a big deal. Also the pencil thing!
(3) Until this go-round, he made a point of playing by the rules. He always conducted himself in a professional and courteous manner.
(4) He is respectful to his colleagues and seems not to want to impose unless it's necessary.
(5) He is not a cheapskate. He believes in paying people what they're worth. He tips.
(6) He's not selfish or a blowhard. He's not an egomaniac, even though he has the skills to back it up.

Let's ignore the first two points for a minute. I've never worked in the profession of assassination, or for that matter in any capacity supporting a global crime syndicate (that I know of). But I have worked for companies big and small in different industries, and I can tell you that points 3-6 coupled with just a modicum of charm will buy you darn-near bottomless credit with those colleagues and higher-ups who value those four points. Stay in tune with those things for a long enough period of time, and you'll get acres of benefit of the doubt, even if you seriously step out of line a time or two. I've seen it happen.

Bear in mind that Winston didn't spare John's life, he gave him a head start of one hour under decidedly sub-optimal conditions. That one hour would have most people in his profession dead by minute 70 tops. All John's reputation bought him was a tiny fighting chance.

Will it be enough? Gosh, I don't know.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:10 AM on March 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm not sure that's exactly right. There's multiple things going on at the end.

The thing I am talking about is Winston sparing John's life for violating the sanctity of the Continental. We saw the fact that Winston will have someone killed for that violation by itself in the first movie; he even showed up to see when Adrianne Palicki was killed. John asks why he's not dead already, Winston says because I willed it so.

Winston also tells John that his contract has gone world-wide, meaning the contract that was put on his life for 7M by Santino, which now the Board has doubled to 14M. This is presumably in effect right now.

When they continue talking about what will happen as a result of John's ignoring neutral ground, Winston says he's going to become ex communicado. As a boon to John, this won't go into effect for one hour.

We don't know exactly what it means to be ex communicated from crimeworld, though I think the reasonable thing to think is that any sort of blanket protections are lifted. Clearly there's folks in the civilian world who are aware of crimeworld - "you working again, John?" asks the cop - and perhaps there's sort of a generalized bunch of bribery/suppression that operates for folks who are within the fold. You don't get picked up for Conducting Business, like when you defend yourself against an assassination in the middle of a public park.

Whether there's some additional issue with regards to you'd better not do business with the ex communicated is unstated. If Winston's marker is to be of any use to John that would more or less need to not be true, no?

As far as the professional respect, yeah I believe that. There seems to be more than that going on at least with regards to Winston and maybe more folks beyond that. Lady D'Antonio talks to him about having considered themselves friends, which is where it seems a little sketchier; Wick doesn't seem to have friends, and it's hard to imagine a friendly Wick existing alongside the terror of the boogeyman. My issue is how professional respect seems to have passed into personal affection. But maybe before falling in love and leaving the business and losing his wife he was more of a cordial & friendly guy. Who knows. It doesn't rise to the level of no way this works but it seems a bit beyond what's been earned by what we've seen so far.

I forgot when I left my prior comment - I was legit amused by the matter-of-fact question to John, without condemnation, of whether he was there to kill the Pope. Though I did think, "why would a pro answer yes if it was true?"
posted by phearlez at 12:21 PM on March 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Does John Wick ever lie? He's not even that sneaky. I think you could add that he seems to be pretty honest and straightforward to the list of why he is respected/feared. The dude does not dissemble.
posted by fleacircus at 8:33 PM on March 1, 2017

I loved this film! I was so tense throughout it all. The ending made me sad, because I want to see John come out on top. The scenes between John and Common were amazing.

The only thing that I couldn't stand was Ruby Rose and her complete inability to act even without any speaking lines.
posted by liquorice at 6:45 AM on June 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ruby Rose committed some of the worst ever Deaf Sign Language committed to camera.

Shockingly bad.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:50 PM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ruby Rose committed some of the worst ever Deaf Sign Language committed to camera.

I was wondering about that. Fanwank offering: her boss is shit at sign language and she's dumbing it down for him.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:58 PM on August 29, 2017

really late to the game but I just watched this on a flight and the sheer number of assassins had me wondering how that doesn't drive wages way down for everyone (because really... just how big is the assassination job market?) - then again Wick killed so many that i guess there's now a lot more room for advancement - maybe all it takes is one or two big hits and you're set for a life of luxury at the worldwide Continental resorts
posted by kokaku at 5:56 PM on February 28, 2018

The first trailer for the next installment, Parabellum, is out; the movie's due out May 17.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:04 AM on January 18

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