*NEW* JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 REVIEW *NEW*

He’s back! But bigger and better?

After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

They certainly cranked the gun-fu up to 11 BUT “The Raid 2 of action movies”. I don’t think so.

The opening threw us right into the mix following straight on from the first film with our main man chasing after a motorcyclist to retrieve some medallion or something.

It didn’t really matter what he chasing after because it was all for a car. Remember the car? He didn’t actually get it back.

Does Peter Stormare (Prison Break) even realise he’s becoming a cliche of his own cliched character? Another hilarious generic Eastern European mob boss.

His comical rendition of his last encounter with the Matrix machismo was too much; “He killed a guy with a pencil. A f*cking pencil!”

The scrap yard sequence was ridiculous, OTT but it set up one thing. Old Keanu can still kick ass. It was like something out of a video game. Entrapped in a mosh pit of taxi cabs, waiting for a bigger and nastier villain to deliver the next punch.

The action set pieces were intense enough. BUT the only problem was that the first John Wick came out of the blue and revamped some of the old action cliches and made it into something different.

With the expectations a little higher, Chapter 2 didn’t quite meet up to them this time around. Don’t get me wrong, it still did the job and it is what it is.

A high octane punch em shoot em up but it still toyed aspects of Wick’s past that I wanted exploring. What was this impossible task?! Who decided these rules on territories and why isn’t Ian McShane (Deadwood) in this more?

Riccardo Scamarcio (Burnt) played the smug Santino well. Another unwanted blast from the past. Calling on an old debt to demand one last job from the Boogeyman.

Unfortunately, this was where the pace lagged for me. We had to watch Wick’s inevitable refusal and the predictable outcome that followed. Before reluctantly accepting the task at hand.

The Rome reconnaissance was watchable enough BUT the director stretched out the build up to the point that I was screaming for a shootout.

Less of the flat cryptic dialogue, more of the bang for your buck please!

For the animal lovers, the Boogeyman has a new companion in a loveable blue staffie. Does he suffer the same fate as his furry predecessor?

Well, there’s only one way to find out BUT I’m not saying.

The gun kung fu or gung-fu was brilliantly choreographed. Just when I thought certain scenes were getting a little repetitive, there would suddenly be a new creative and ultra-violent kill that had me wincing.

Stormare wasn’t kidding about that pencil!

Common (Smokin’ Aces) played a worthy adversary. I loved the camaraderie between him and Wick; “Consider this a professional courtesy”.

However, their initial (and incredibly brutal) fist fights soon went on too long and felt more like something out of the Peter Griffin vs Giant Chicken saga. Especially when they were rolling down the stairs. My God!

Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black) had potential as a mute assassin BUT never really got going. Shame.

Laurence Fishburne was not in this enough. He stole the show in his minute cameo. I was disappointed that we couldn’t get one little Matrix quote from ol’ Morpheus.

A shady friend in Wick’s desperate time of need with an alarmingly impressive army of militant homeless men.

The fiery and frenetic closing act certainly made up for the lumbering middle act. It was everything I hoped from the get go.

Relentless, violent and bloody fun. Especially when the bounty was put on Wick’s head. Everybody in New York given the green light to take out Neo.

Mental. I don’t think it would be a spoiler to say that things have been left open for another.

And despite my grumbles, I will be looking forward to the next installment.

BUT is pace and a little more exploration into Wick’s past too much to ask? Don’t make just another generic shooter.

3/5

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22 JUMP STREET REVIEW

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Jump to your nearest store or online outlet and see this movie!

Hill and Tatum reunite for a ridiculously OTT but incredibly funny sequel that has enough to match its predecessor and possibly surpass it.

Now Jump Street has never been (and never will be) subtle. If you like your comedies a little more subdued and less about sex and drug gags than . . . Why are you here?

Now I liked 21 Jump Street but felt it was a little overhyped. The way my brother bigged this movie up to me; I was expecting an Anchorman but it still delivered the goods.

What I loved about these movies is the blatantly obvious self-referencing, the ability to poke fun at itself and constant breaking of the fourth wall. This is perfectly demonstrated with Deputy Chief Hardy Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) explaining how the idiotic success of their last mission has led to their budget being doubled so they can do the exact same thing and hopefully yield the exact same results.

And boy do they! With crazy car chases, OTT action pieces, zippy one liners and laugh out loud gags from Jonah Hill’s wooing poetry slam to Tatum’s buffoonery. I always knew Hill would impress. You can tell where he improvises and it makes things all the better for it. There are a couple moments where the jokes have the tendency to go on a little bit.

I always found Tatum a little wooden in his other movies but whether it be the subject or his partnership with Hill; he has really come out of himself and is absolutely brilliant and they fantastically together.

It’s hardly perfect. The plot line is reversed to predictable if hilarious results. This time around, the inevitable happens in which Hill struggles to adjust to college life after his surprise performance at high school, while Tatum blends straight in, forming a bromance with another jughead that soon threatens to destroy the relationship of the dynamic duo.

I could list all the gags but hey, why would I do that? I was just pleased that this wasn’t a case of all the best bits in the trailer.

Ice Cube was actually very funny. I felt his typical angry bravado was used for its strengths this time around and he was given a little more screen time which allowed for some cracking moments.

Peter Stormare seemed to play a strangely out of place and generic villain. I mean the passing joke about what happened to the 90s works for those are familiar with his numerous bad guy roles back in the day but for anyone else, it will go straight over your head.

Patton Oswalt (King of Queens) was in a funny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo as a teacher whose just received tenure. I just wish he was in it more. The alluring Amber Stevens (Greek) plays the love interest well and was able to be more than just a cliched cut out. The Lucas Brothers (TWINS! JINX!) were brilliant as the Yang twins. A memorable supporting role if ever there was one.

I found Jillian Bell quite irritating by the end. Her old guy jibes at Hill were funny (At first) BUT the massive punch up goes on far too long. I could respect the Mr & Mrs Smith parody nod BUT it got a little repetitive.

And of course, regular faces from the original (Well, original remake) pop up. Inevitably, the teasers were hinting for another sequel. IF the gags are this good, I’m happy to keep watching.

Keep watching the closing credits for a fantastic sequels gags. There was a surprising cameo from a certain comic actor.

I would have to say that this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a while. My name is Jeff! INVEST!

4 (just) out of 5!