While the first John Wick movie didn't make a big impact in 2014's box office, the low budget, high octane, Keanu Reeves gun-fu movie still impressed many genre fans; with former stunt coordinators-turned directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch presenting a well-paced and heavily-stylized revenge thriller. Needless to say, hopes are high for the sequel John Wick: Chapter Two, which has earned its spot on the radar of many audience members wanting more of what the first movie had to offer.
Chapter 2 came in at #11 of Screen Rant's 30 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017 and, naturally, John Wick fan is general keep asking if John's back. Well, based on the first wave of reviews for the John Wick sequel, yeah - we're thinking he's back.
Read on for informative excerpts from the first John Wick: Chapter Two reviews to hit the 'Net (you can also click on the corresponding links for the full reviews):
Variety - Peter Debruge
"As in 2014's surprise hit, this elegantly choreographed action sequel elevates its brutal confrontations to a dazzling form of modern dance."
THR - Justin Lowe
"Reeves is back in fine form, confirming how indispensable he is to the franchise with his lithe physicality, no-nonsense demeanor and impressive skillset, as he again performs many of his own driving and martial arts stunts."
Forbes - Scott Mendelson
"Summit and Lionsgate's John Wick Chapter 2 gives us exactly what it promises and exactly what we want, for (mostly) better or for worse."
LA Weekly - Bilge Emir
"Without that crucial emotional element, John Wick: Chapter 2 is a somewhat more distanced affair. But it’s still an impressively dizzying symphony of carnage."
The Wrap - Robert Abele
"There’s no lack of expertly choreographed kung fu and gun-fu here, as the canine-loving, sartorially splendid liquidator returns"
Polygon - Julia Alexander
"The beauty of John Wick: Chapter 2 is it combines all of the ingredients that made the original spectacular, but adds in enough self-awareness about its ridiculousness that it feels both smarter and funnier than the first."
NY Daily News - Edward Douglas
"'Chapter 2' builds upon the secret network of assassins based around a high-scale hotel introduced in the first movie, making it obvious that the filmmakers would love 'John Wick' to be the next 'James Bond.' But like Reeves’ 'Matrix' movies, the continuation leads to diminishing returns."
While the reviews so far aren't exclusively singing praises for John Wick: Chapter Two, they almost all agree that the action is top notch, making the movie at least a fun detour of violence. Moreover, some reviews say the sequel still offers a good story and compelling characters to boot, like its predecessor.
Naturally, the first John Wick movie wasn't exactly a drama, although the story of John's loss provided a natural character arc as he processes the death of his wife (and subsequently, his dog, her last gift to him), helping the audience sympathize with John and giving a strong sense of catharsis to the over-the-top stylized violence. Since Chapter 2 takes place almost immediately after the first installment, it's understandable that the emotional hook that takes John out of retirement isn't a well the sequel can return to.
Nevertheless, if fans of the franchise are looking for the visually-stunning cinematography and adrenaline-pumping action, it sure sounds like John Wick: Chapter Two is sure to satisfy.
- John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) release date: Feb 10, 2017