Sunday, 19 February 2017

REVIEW - JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (CHAD STAHELSKI)


There's always something from which to run away. One's past, one's present, one's responsibilities. In the case of John Wick: Chapter 2's opening scene, it's a case of driving away, and being pursued. But by whom? And for what? This sequel swiftly runs away from its opener, and strands it without any meaning, any significance - no rly, I have no idea what was going on in that scene. Anyway, it's a cracking start, and the rest of the film is up to the standard. Chapter 2 delivers more of the skills in which its predecessor excelled, and the uptick in scale is actually to the film's benefit. Chad Stahelski may be little more than a competent, efficient, adequate director, but such qualities are nothing if not invaluable in action filmmaking. More is not necessarily always more, in relation to the impact of Chapter 2's successes, but it never sells you short, never skimps on its promises. It's peculiarly attractive for a film of its ilk, with genuinely stylish production values ranging from sumptuous neo-Rococo interiors to shots lit in smouldering neon hues of fuschia, chartreuse, and indigo. The stunt work is as remarkable as you'd expect, once again asserting that a good action sequence requires nothing more than good stunt choreography, and doing so with persuasive conviction. Highlights include a shoot-em-up set in an art gallery, as Keanu Reeves' titular hitman turns his assailants' bodily fluids into installations of their own, followed by a tense sequence in a hall of mirrors, which is probably taking things a bit too far but hey, it works; a never-more-attractive Riccardo Scamarcio (credit the tailoring); a substantial role for a dog; a sexy suicide - or is that a lowlight? Not too many of those, however. Things are looking up for the inevitable Chapter 3. Hooray!