Kyle Fosse–Staff Writer
I actually went into John Wick: Chapter 2 with decently high hopes. I have not seen the first film, but I have heard that it was well-received as an action film.
In the film, John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves, whom you’ll know as Neo from “The Matrix”) is just trying to retire. But when his house is blown up by an old friend – Sorentino – trying to call in an old debt, Wick must pick up his gun(s) and fight… for the man who blew up his house.
I won’t give away too much, because there really is very little to give away, but let’s just say that Wick attacks and is attacked by about every other person in Italy and America in his quest to finally have the chance to retire.
For me, the film quickly devolved into a series of paper-thin plot points designed to get Wick from one fight scene to the next. Entertaining as that may be to some, I do have standards.
Now don’t get me wrong, the fight scenes were well-made. I always knew exactly what was going on, and besides a bit of melodrama during the hand-to-hand combat scenes, they were excellently choreographed.
But the plot felt secondary to the action sequences, as if it was serving them. This is a common blockbuster trend: Cater to a specific audience by making their expectations the crux of the entire film and let everything else fall by the wayside.
This is not a particularly new trend, but it’s one that Hollywood tends to grab onto, reflecting the culture of the time. Look at some of the biggest-budget movies out or coming out soon. Fifty Shades Darker: plot serves sex. Kong: Skull Island: plot serves spectacle. Modern Christian films: plot serves ideology.
The problem with this system is that the movie only works for people who are completely on board for that specific aspect. Charlie Chaplin did so well because in his films plot serves comedy, but everyone’s okay with that. If you’re looking first for a film with a good story, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
There are some films which are able to combine both – to tell a beautiful love story that isn’t overrun by romance, or to have good action in a narrative-driven movie. John Wick: Chapter 2 is not one of those films.
So if you know you’re the kind of person that would see the kind of movie that is the John Wick series (if you are, you’ll know it), then by all means you’ll probably love this film. If you’re not, there are a host of better stories to spend your eight dollars on.