John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum recently opened to huge commercial and critical success, and it only seems to be gaining in popularity. So, before I got a chance to see it, I revisited the amazing John Wick and the even better John Wick: Chapter 2.
John Wick: Chapter 2 follows expert hitman John Wick after his successful revenge in the first film. He’s finally retrieved his car and plans to return back to his civilian life with his new dog. However, his plans are interrupted by mafia boss Santino D’Antonio, who comes to him with a marker, an object representing an unbreakable promise Wick made to D’Antonio to return any favor. According to the rules of The Continental, the secret assassin society Wick belongs to, Wick cannot refuse what is asked of him. so Against his will Wick travels to Rome to kill Santino’s sister so Santino can take her spot at the international “High Table.” After Wick completes this task, Santino double-crosses him and tries to have him killed by his people to “tie up loose ends.” Wick then escapes, and Santino puts a large contract on him out of paranoia, unleashing an entire city of hitmen on Wick. Wick now has to evade a volley of assassination attempts while trying to get close enough to D’Antonio to exact his revenge.
John Wick: Chapter 2 improves on the original in every way. It is more visually dazzling than the first film, using very saturated colors and usually switching between single colors from scene to scene, washing the screen with incredible hues. Chapter 2 also makes use of its bigger budget by choosing more grandiose set pieces, including a museum filled with beautiful sculptures and a stunning Roman concert hall complete with a labyrinth of ancient catacombs. The action is also better choreographed. And as plenty of action movies have told us, you don’t need lengthy dialogue to construct a coherent story, and John Wick: Chapter 2 constructs a quite complex story with very few non-action scenes. The entire movie is stuffed to the brim with skillful firefights, creative brawls, and no shortage of killing.
I’ve heard this series compared to a video game, but I don’t think that’s an insult at all. This is a totally electric film that sets up a sequel with amazing potential, which is finally here. If the John Wick series continues to succeed, it may become a franchise of Mission: Impossible level proportions.