John Wick 2 is a sequel to the 2014 surprise hit John Wick, and it follows him as he is forced to return to his former life once again. The trailers did a good job of not giving much away, so I'll keep it vague as well. The first one was great, so naturally, I was hyped for the sequel, and suffice to say it delivered where it mattered.
Keanu Reeves once again reprises the role of ultimate bad-ass assassin John Wick, with different character motivations this time around, resulting in a more subdued performance than last time, which nonetheless works for the story, and it's just great seeing Keanu again in style. There are some familiar faces from the previous film like Ian McShane (Winston) and Lance Reddick (Hotel Manager), giving similarly good performances. And new ones like Laurence Fishburn, resulting in a reunion of Neo and Morpheus, which should make any Matrix fan cheer up inside, and he gave a good performance as well.
One of the things that stood out to me in Part 1 was the world itself. The world of the assassins that is, its rules, and how these people play in it. I wanted to see more, and I got that. This movie explores it further, revealing more rules and traditions and whatnot, and it was great seeing all that.
Of course, the highlight of these films are the action sequences, and they are just as awesome if not more in this movie. The Gun Fu looks amazing, there is no shaky-cam or excessive cuts as the cinematography and editing are extremely well-handled. It hits, it connects, you feel the impact, you feel the aggression; and seeing your hero do almost all of the stunts by himself, alongside the amazing stunt team and other actors is just friggin awesome. And the attention to detail adds an extra layer of immersion, like John Wick constantly running out of bullets, replacing mags or guns and stuff like that. All of it just grounds the action in this otherwise fantasy world and it makes it walk this fine line between too ridiculous and too tame. Major respect to the whole team in this regard, especially Keanu. Dude is the BOSS.
While the action was all awesome, the plot wasn't and this is where John Wick 2 faltered as compared to Part 1, which had this simple premise and emotional resonance, and while that cannot be replicated again, I was expecting something more interesting. Also, the villain and some major baddies that John fights just didn't have the same flare characters had in the previous part.
Overall, if you liked John Wick 1, you'll like this too. If you didn't, this won't do anything to reel you in. The movie delivers on the action and the world building which I was hoping for, and while the story department takes more of a backseat this time, it isn't enough to detach the enjoyment factor, resulting in an extremely satisfying watch. Seriously, if you are an action fan, I don't see a reason for you to not like this. John Wick 3, come soon, please.