A character of few words needs dialogue tighter than any other, and the lines written for John Wick aren’t strong enough to hold up in conversation.
John Wick: Chapter 2 gives the eponymous character his second outing as the world’s greatest hit man. Dragged out of retirement, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) travels to Rome to take out a target as quietly as possible. Caught at the last minute, his trip quickly turns into a nightmare.
There are a lot of fight scenes. One of the main themes that resonates from these is the revelation that Keanu Reeves is strangely lethargic during all of them. His movement is reduced compared to previous films. At no point does it ever look like he’s actually struggling, but his age is definitely starting to catch up with him.
These physical sequences are however, admirable. Beautifully coreographed, they are treated with care and attention, which comes across in the physicality and the seemless nature of the fights. The camera holds perfectly still at important moments, making the fight the focal point. I have a huge gripe with films allowing moving cameras to substitute a well structured fight sequence. John Wick 2 manages these perfectly.
They are fascinating but they often last too long and become increasingly repetitive as the film moves on. There is a limit to the number of times Reeves can throw a man to the floor without it getting boring. This doesn’t ever take anything away from the quality.
However, Reeves actual performance as John Wick is odd. There is evidently an understanding that his character needs to appear dark and sullen but it does just comes off as unintelligent. This certainly isn’t helped by an awfully corny script. A character of few words needs dialogue tighter than any other, and the lines written for John Wick aren’t strong enough to hold up in conversation. Reeves comes out of it looking dumbed down and un-involving.
At times it is stupid, and at others it is brutal, but they way the creators have set out to make a pure action film is honest, clear and impressive. It’s not a polished article but the thought that has gone into making it a great film does, just, shine through.