John Wick Chapter 2: A Hit and Miss

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This is what happens when you say “I crush and microwave my Weet-B  ix”

The good: The creative action sequences in the second half
The in-between: The supporting cast, the story (it coherent and makes sense)
The bad: The numbing and boring action sequences in the first half

I am surprised that many critics thought that John Wick Chapter 2 was completely innovative. I think it is innovative… in the second half. Mostly I was mildly interested, sometimes I was bored in the first half of the movie. As a matter of fact, a lot of the movie is completely generic.

The plot is that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) a retired hitman is brought back in the game reluctantly by a secret assassin society. The gangster that hires him Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), wants Wick to kill his sister in Rome to consolidate power in the society.

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Ian Mcshane plays Winston who I like to call “Da Boss”. I like his delivary when he says “excommunicado”

In the beginning of John Wick Chapter 2 John Wick is gets run over by evil henchmen three times and there were so much gunfire and murder. As a story I ask myself “Structurally, how is John Wick going to top this opening because I am pretty desensitized to this point” they do top it admittedly it was quite clever how it was executed.

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This “Hall of Mirrors” scene looks and is pretty cool. Well shot and choreographed.

I counted and there were about six moments that were actually cool. That’s a good number however nearly all of them were condensed in the climax meaning the first 90 minutes were a medicore affair. John Wick Chapter Two plays it’s hand in the final act. There are two action sequences. One of them is in the subway station both. The other one takes place inside a hall of mirrors. They both scenes that were both thrilling and inventive. Both are gimmicks that have been used before in movies but they have not worn out it’s welcome.

What has worn out its welcome in action movies are two things

1. The protagonist having 100% accuracy with a gun and
2. The arm bar.

 

GTA
John Wick (and Mike Banning) never gets this notification. Lock-on is the equivalent of steroids in the bodybuilding world.

The “Man who never misses when firing his gun” cliche reduces action movies in a risk-free killing spree making it hard to care for John Wick’s fate since I believe he is not in any sense of danger.

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Now this is an arm bar

The arm bar to me has become a recent crutch in action movie. It’s like depending on swearing for a joke to be funny in a comedy. It’s been overused recently because people are now into Mixed Martial Arts. I have gotten tired of it. If someone is going to apply and armbar, I actually hope someone would actually break hyperextend or even break the arm for the sake of variety.

All the action in the first half of John Wick is a combination of those two boring and repetitive things. Oh and Wick gets run over by several cars. He has legs of steel.

I would argue that John Wick Chapter 2 were two separate movies. The first half I was deprived off anything that was interesting the story fell like a cheap knock-off of The Godfather. The second half consists of the John Wick Chapter 2 I wanted to see. It’s no great action movie Casino Royale or Face/Off but it sure isn’t as cartoonish and self-serving of a bad action movie like xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. ⭐⭐3/4

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Passangers: Creepy to Say the Least

Written by Nelson Cumming

I was only a baby. My mum gave me a candy as she was strolling outside with her pram. I was happy. Just as I was about to take a bite when a bitter old man snatched the candy from my feeble hands. I cried. He bellowed ” Ha Ha Ha! That was as easy as taking candy from a baby!”

Passengers reminded me of that fictitious moment in my life.

Passengers was a great experience at the start. Then the central plot point comes to fruition. I saddened by it. It all went downhill from there.

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This is a perfect line graph measuring my excitiment level during Passengers

The best bits in Passengers are the setup and the chemistry between Pratt and Lawrence. The setup is that 5,000 people are in cryogenic sleep in space pods on a spaceship called Avalon as they travel from Earth to a new planet called Homested II (Homested I is not explained. Probably because adding a “II” to the end sounds smarter). The trip takes more than 120 years hence the cryogenic sleep.

Due to a system error, Pratt’s character wakes up from his slumber 90 years too early. He then tries to learn to live in social isolation. That is a pretty cool setup. There are a lot of ideas you could do there. Then it takes an awkward turn…

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Left: How the trailer markets the relationship between the key characters. Right: How the movie actually does it.

Pratt sees a girl in the hibernation pod (Jennifer Lawrence) that he likes and wants her as her social companion but knows that releasing her pod would mean living the rest of her life on the spaceship (essentally killing her). Being alone for a year and not being able to stand the loneliness…

HE WAKES HER UP!

That is when Passengers starts to suck.

Up until this point. I was surprised how interesting Passengers was. It has really good cinematography and set design. It was clean but not surgically clean while being futuristic but not going overly sci-fi.

The idea of being isolated on a ship was interesting and they could have explored the concepts and moral consequences of forced pre-determinism they did in Arrival. Or they could have saved that for the big reveal in the end (he wakes her up in the first act of the movie). It could of been a thriller cat-and-mouse story as well.

No. Instead they justify Pratt being a creepy dude. Essentially killing the Jennifer Lawrence character just to get a shot with her. In my opinion, that is a crappy reason for the unwanted social suicide.

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Pratt: “Screw your friends, you’re with me in a confined area for the rest of your life! I clip my toenails in bed hahaha”.

This movie really is a middle of the road movie with a layer of bad. The movie tries to portray itself as high-brow because it is set in outer space. Don’t be fooled by it. It touches on ideas that not only never materialize but get so wildly misguided that it is not funny.

Then the third act goes haywire. It devolves into punchy, punchy, smashy, smashy, screamy, screamy, lovey, dovey. You have seen the ending before in a million other movies. By the end, I was wondering what movie Passengers could have been given the great setup. *1/2