Posts Tagged ‘action movies’


John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

March 2, 2017

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Common
Director: Chad Stahelski (John Wick)

Bottom Line: The thing about willingly going to see John Wick: Chapter 2 is that it should be impossible to walk out of the theater unsatisfied. If you liked the first movie, I dare you not to like this sequel. It’s more of the same, delivering the nonstop action and awesome choreography we saw in the first film, all while building on the secret universe of the “hit man.”

One day after ripping Keanu Reeves as a dramatic actor, I have to give him credit for being pretty great in action flicks. Obviously, he was perfect for the role of Neo in The Matrix and again he has found a very suitable role in John Wick – not much dialogue and lots of ass-kicking. That’s a good fit for Keanu Reeves. The rest of the acting in this movie is solid at best and tolerable at worst. I’m not familiar with Riccardo Scamarcio at all, but I enjoyed him as the main villain in this movie. Common is one of my favorite rappers of all-time, but I don’t really understand his acting career. I’ve seen him in up to six different movies and he’s never impressed me in the slightest and I doubt he’s much of a box office draw, and yet, he continues to get cast year after year. Well, it finally happened: I liked Common’s performance in John Wick: Chapter 2. I was so shocked by this revelation that I had to check the credits to make sure it was actually him. I just couldn’t believe he could pull off a bad ass so convincingly. He plays an assassin rival/peer of John, hired to kill him, and he’s actually a ruthlessly cold and formidable dude. There’s a gun fight that takes place in a subway between John Wick and Cassian that had me rolling in laughter.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is how sequels are supposed to be done: expanding on the original’s story while delivering all the fun stuff that made the first film so enjoyable. Director Chad Stahelski completely understands his audience and gives them exactly what they want, developing a legitimate action franchise that isn’t going to die any time soon.

Replay Value: I haven’t seen the first one a second time yet, but these movies are fun enough to watched multiple times.
Sequel Potential: Chapter 2 is going to gross more than twice as much as the original – this won’t be the last time we hear from John Wick.
Oscar Potential: Keanu Reeves for Best Actor! Nope. This is a simple action movie that is not shooting for any awards.

Grade: 7/10 (highly enjoyable)


John Wick (2014)

February 15, 2015

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe
Director: Chad Stahelski

“What did he say?”


Bottom Line: If you can look past the fact that an unstoppable, retired hitman – with Bruce Lee’s hand-to-hand combat skills, Houdini’s escaping abilities, and better aim than Legolas – is somehow infiltrated and overwhelmed by the hapless son of a mob boss and his two cronies, you have arguably the best action film of 2014. John Wick had me grinning the whole time – it’s the revenge movie The Equalizer wishes it was. Seriously, once you get past the fact that Keanu Reeves can’t act and Denzel Washington can… everything about John Wick makes it superior: the fight sequences, the music, the choreography, Michael Nyqvist as the mob boss was awesome, the headshots! Some how, some way, John Wick has flown under-the-radar as a must see action flick.

Replay Value: I certainly will see it again.
Sequel Potential: John Wick 2 already announced and this character is worth revisiting.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: None.

Grade: 7/10 (Must See)


Red (2010)

February 22, 2011

Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren
Director: Robert Schwentke (The Time Traveler’s Wife)
Quick Thoughts: It’s fitting that I watched Red immediately after seeing Salt because it illustrates my point about understanding what the filmmakers are trying to accomplish and how well they achieved their goal. The films are somewhat similar in that they are both clearly over-the-top action movies, but are completely different in tone. Red takes a rather comedic approach giving its characters playful banter and the impression that everyone involved is simply having fun, while Salt is equally ridiculous but takes itself way too seriously. One movie succeeds where the other fails and it all comes down to tone… and it’s the tone of Red that makes it work, despite an overly ambitious script. The plot here isn’t as important as watching the characters interact with each other, old comrades reuniting in humorous fashion after retiring from their respective trades. No one’s winning any Oscars here but it’s kind of fun to see a serious actress like Helen Mirren ham it up a little bit. Speaking of hamming it up, the always great John Malkovich is at his quirky best here, providing many comedic moments throughout the film. Red‘s script may be convoluted at times and the film certainly has it’s eye-rolling worthy moments, it’s ultimately a relatively funny action flick that was quite enjoyable.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: It’s probably worth seeing a second time because the plot can lose you in some spots. There were some moments where I was like “ok, who is this? and why are we talking to them now?”
Sequel Potential: Red turned a modest profit at the box office and it’s the kind of movie I can see inexplicably getting a sequel.
Oscar Potential: No nominations.
Nudity: None
Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)
Recommendation: Expect a cheesy, but funny action movie and you won’t be disappointed.