John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

john-wick-2Director: Chad Stahelski

Writer: Derek Kolstad (Screenplay)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne

 

Plot: After returning to the criminal underworld to repay a debt, John Wick discovers that a large bounty has been put on his life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Sequel

 

Story: John Wick Chapter 2 starts as we see John Wick (Reeves) continuing he revenge mission against Abram (Stormare) the brother of Viggo from the first film, Abram only has his car but Wick the ruthless hitman cleans out his operation in the style on John Wick can do. This opening sequences fills in blanks if you missed the first one and show just how deadly John can be.

Continuing the story John wants to put this life behind him for good now and enjoy the retirement once more. Just when John thinks he is out, Santino (Scamarcio) visits him requesting him to do a job for him now John refuses the marker for the job, leading to Santino to push John back out of retirement as a hitman is never allowed to reject a marker. John must travel to Italy to eliminate Santino’s own sister because only the ghost like abilities of John Wick can get the job done.

When John gets this job done he finds himself betrayed and now Santino has placed a bounty on his head with all of the best hitmen coming to kill John Wick.

 

Thoughts on John Wick Chapter 2

 

Characters/PerformanceJohn Wick is the character that took the world by storm first time around and now he is just as emotionally broken and deadly with a weapon as ever. Santino is a similar villain to the first one, but this time Santino did know what he was getting into which was good. Ares is a very interesting hitwoman that I think we would have liked to have seen a lot more from. Winston does return in a similar vein as last time too.

Performance wise this is what Keanu was born to be as he shines once again as this ruthless, emotionless killer. Ricardo does a good job in the villainous role and doesn’t play the character over the top like he o could have. Ruby Rose once again this year I playing a bad ass character and is worryingly becoming the new Michelle Rodriguez because of this. Everyone else fits the film perfectly.stars

StoryThe story does continue from the first one with the idea now John has resurfaced he can be hired once more. The story works well because John just wants out of this life but he just keeps getting dragged deeper into the world he is trying to escape. Being a sequel a lot of people could worry the story will be flat, but this time we go bigger learning more about the overall world of the hitmen living among us.

Action/Crime/ThrillerThe action does feel similar but you can’t really take the style of John in another direction without taking away from the character, he just isn’t going to be jumping from helicopters or planes in action sequences, he is going to shoot people in the head. We are kept wondering how big this crime world is and that plays into the crime and thriller side of this film.

SettingsWe have some action in Rome the rest in New York and of course we do like to see the iconic locations being used to the most which I feel they do because the look of the hotels the hitmen can stay in always make for an interesting setting in these big cities.

Special EffectsThe special effects are mainly used to show the effects of the gunshots which all look brutally real.genre

Final ThoughtsSequels can go either way in action with Taken is went bad, with John Wick it went well, great watch for all.

 

Overall: Great sequel you can truly just enjoy if you are an action film fan.

Ratingrating

 

 

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

jackDirector: Edward Zwick

Writer: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (Screenplay) Lee Child (Book)

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, Partick Heusinger, Holt McCallany, Judd Lormand, Robert Knepper

 

Plot: Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple Action Thriller

 

Story: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back starts by showing us just how capable Jack Reacher (Cruise) is in a fight, solving crimes and getting out of trouble, we also get to see the building relationship between Reacher and Turner (Smulders) his connection in DC.

When Turner gets arrested for espionage Reacher wants to search for answers but his life has a bigger surprise when he is informed that he has a daughter Samantha (Yarosh). When Reacher becomes framed within the same conspiracy he must break Turner out and work with her to find the truth and this time they are an even more ruthless assassin known as The Hunter (Heusinger) looking to clean up the militaries mess.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the second instalment of a potential mega spy series as we see Jack Reacher become the target this time rather than just helping an innocent soldier. The idea that there is a government conspiracy going on that stronger soldiers in the military want to expose have to escape before they become the latest victims, simple, and of yeah there is an awkward road trip with an annoying teenager feel about this film. The comic tone just doesn’t seem to fit on the levels it should do either because we need this to really be a series film only.

Cruise is great in this role which he really has made his own while Cobie Smulders show she is just as kick ass in the leading role with in an action film. Patrick Heusinger is a step up from the rival from the Jai Courtney role last time around but it is the inclusion of the daughter character which really drags this down. The inclusion makes everything come off more user friendly rather than the rough around the edge story which it needs to be.

 

Overall: Doesn’t reach the levels of the first film but is still a fun action mystery film.

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John Malkovich Weekend – Jonah Hex (2010)

jonahDirector: Jimmy Hayward

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay) Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, William Farmer (Story)

Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr, Michael Shannon, Wes Bentley

 

Plot: The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Bad as I Thought

 

Story: Jonah Hex starts as we see soldier Jonah Hex (Brolin) has to pay for killing Quentin Turnbull’s (Malkovich) son during the war, branded with a QT on his face Jonah witness his family burnt alive. Going on the rampage to find Turnbull he only discovers he has died and Jonah becomes a bounty hunter that can communicate with the dead.

When Turnbull returns from the grave or never got killed the President turns to Jonah Hex to stop Turnbull and his plan to build the deadly weapon that could become the biggest threat in American.

Jonah Hex is an adaptation from a comic book series which like most I have never read so I can’t judge how accurate the version is. The story is shot like it has been ripped from the pages of a comic because we get very little background story of any characters in more than quick flashbacks. The special effects do come off looking bad in places where you can clearly see the CGI being used throughout. The settings all come off looking like the time which isn’t a problem and potentially the highlight of the film. The action side of the film is all average without a truly memorable scene being used either and the inclusion of the fantasy elements where Jonah can talk to the dead comes off looking good and is something I would have liked to have seen more.

The cast is an interesting one because Brolin as Hex works well, Malkovich as the main villain is like finding a cheap version of Cyrus the Virus from Con Air, Megan Fox clearly brings the sex appeal but doesn’t get much of the actual acting done here. It is Michael Fassbender that stands out in this role where he goes full crazy with his character being the most memorable but I am not sure if it is for the right or wrong reasons. All the other supporting cast are almost wasted in small roles that barely get more than one scene.

 

Overall: I was expecting terrible but this is an easy watch without being great.

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Double Feature Weekend – Ju-On Black Ghost (2009)

whiteDirector: Mari Asato

Writer: Mari Asato (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Story)

Starring: Koji Seto, Kuniteru Shigeyama, Kana Tsugihara, Ai Kago

 

Plot: After losing her child at birth, the dark horror of the grudge begins growing within her.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Feels Scarier

 

Story: Ju-On: Back Ghost starts as we meet Tetsuya (Seto) who has been dreaming of his neighbour for years only to find something strange about her. This film continues where White Ghost leads off where we get a series of stories that all pieces together with an even more terrifying version of the vengeance ghost take out the victims in the area.

Ju-On: Black Ghost continues to build on the idea that the first one had with multiple stories all wrapping into one by the final act which works now we know what we are expecting to see. I do feel the ghost presence is a lot scarier this time around as it comes from the shadows more adding the darkness fear to the story. This film isn’t going to make the fans of the original idea happy though because we do have to deal with slight too many characters once more.

 

Overall: Has good scare points but not enough to make us care about these characters.

Rating50

 

 

Double Feature Weekend – Ju-on: White Ghost (2009)

whiteDirector: Ryuta Miyake

Writer: Ryuta Miyake (Screenplay) Takashi Shimizu (Story)

Starring: Hiroki Suzuki, Ichirota Miyakawa, Natsuki Kasa, Akina Minami, Marika Fukunaga, Chie Amemiya, Mihiro

 

Plot: Akane begins seeing visions of a female ghost wearing the same yellow hat and red satchel she wore as a school child.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not As Effective

 

Story: Ju-On: White Ghost starts with the first of the series of stories as Fumiya (Suzuki) is delivering a cake to the house being controlled by the Grudge spirit. In our second story, we follow taxi driver Hajime Kashiwagi (Miyakawa) deal with a mysterious passenger in his taxi. This trend continues through the film as we jump into meeting the latest victims with Akane (Minami) who upon using a Ouija board starts to get visions from a mysterious girl that reminds her of her younger self. The stories continue with links to each other as the film unfolds.

Ju-On: White Ghost tries to tell many different stories of people who come face to face with the vengeful spirit but this takes away all of the effects the originals had where we would follow one victim slowly breakdown. The scares are not as effective because we know something is going to happen in every single scene rather than slowly building up and having a calm down scene between the scares.

 

Overall: There just isn’t enough to drag us in this time around.

Rating40