I finally saw a John Wick movie… in fact, I saw both of them – John Wick and John Wick Chapter 2. Let me start by saying that I have never been a big Keanu Reeves fan. Sure, I liked Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure but I never really bought him as a tough guy. The Matrix (only the first one) worked for him because he wasn’t a hard nosed bad@ss, but a reluctant hero. As John Wick he totally nails the tough guy act though.
I have to say that the best part of the films isn’t really his acting. Don’t get me wrong – there was nothing wrong with his acting. It just wasn’t the best part. The best parts are the story line and the action. Okay, so the camerawork and pacing are good too. The cars, the driving, the lighting, the soundtracks – they were all good. Actually, there were a lot of things that were good about the films.
If I had to pick one as the better of the two, I’d clearly have to go with the first film. The concept was original and everything was surprising. The story in the second film seemed a bit weaker (forced into doing one last job is so overdone in Hollywood.) The increase in budget took it from a gritty film with a somewhat realistic story to a pure fantasy of expensive suits, expensive sets, expensive locations and even more expensive weapons. Even the old trope of facing the bad guy in a hall of mirrors is used here. As usual, the producers took all that was good in the original John Wick and boosted it with steroids… bigger, not necessarily better.
That said, I still enjoyed the second film – I just wasn’t saying “ooh” or laughing like a schoolgirl watching it – like I did during the first. We did finally get to see him kill someone with a pencil though…
by Chris Doelle
RATING 9 out of 10 (John Wick)
RATING 7 out of 10 (John Wick Chapter 2)
Also published on Medium.