So last night I took some “me” time and got away to indulge in a movie.
Specifically, I got a chance to see “John Wick 2.”
Back at the beginning of the year, I wrote a piece about those things I was looking forward to in 2017. This movie was one of those things.
I’ll say this about the movie, without getting into a full review or too many spoilers.
If action is something you crave in your cinema, this will not disappoint.
It literally opened up with an insane level of action. There was very little time spent dipping into the back story from the first film. There was no slow build up. It just launched right into a crazy car chase.
You do briefly meet a couple of new characters who were loosely related to characters from the first movie, but then it was right back to it.
Keanu Reeves does about 90% of his own stunts in these movies, and that’s impressive, especially when you see the crazy fights and shooting scenes.
The scenery was very slick. The story line was actually a lot tighter than the first, I feel, which is saying a lot, considering it was juggling more characters.
At two hours and two minutes, you absolutely get your money’s worth of just fun, fantastical action.
You’re not going to be watching this and wondering if you left the stove on.
Oh, and if you’re like me, you’ll never think of pencils the same way, again.
Ok, so I told you that to segue into this review from The Guardian.
The author of this piece took hand-wringing, moral preening to a whole, new level.
While saying he liked the first “John Wick,” and that even this sequel was well-done, he takes the, “How dare you like this stuff!” stance, and it made me want to reach up and cut his manbun off (I checked – he doesn’t actually have a manbun).
John Wick: Chapter 2, a string of elaborate bullet ballets with only trace elements of a plot, is hardcore gun pornography, pure and simple. And when the imagery faded (along with the hoots ‘n’ hollers of the audience) I felt sunk in a crater of guilt, choking on a miasma of shame.
Those evil, evil guns.
So basically, while everyone else was enjoying themselves, letting a movie do what a movie is supposed to do – entertain – he was wrapping himself up in a cloak of moral superiority.
A lustily shot sequence teases out one weapon after another and, to one who has never held a firearm and has no intention of doing so, each make and model just sounds like chrome noise. Until our hero was handed an enormous rifle in the AR family. Ah, that’s one I’ve heard of. I recognize it as the gun of choice in Newtown and Aurora and San Bernardino. (The Pulse dance club in Orlando fell to an MCX, the Pepsi to the AR-15’s Coke.)
Hey, gun owners, this guy has never held a gun. He’s better than you.
Oh, and every movie gun is responsible for every mass shooting in our nation.
That particular paragraph pretty much made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It’s the same attitude that anti-Second Amendment stalwarts have been fomenting for years, ramping the rhetoric up every time one unstable individual does what millions of other gun owners manage to avoid every single day.
The idea seems to be that if you possess a firearm, then you’re just a killer who hasn’t killed, yet.
I don’t think it’s overly prudish to wonder just where the line of decency is as audience bloodlust continues to get chummed. Eventually, the moviegoer staggering out of a violent screening looking for headache tablets will be you.
Unlike what this gentle, high strung soul would have you believe, a lack of breathless alarm from those of us who enjoy these kinds of films doesn’t make us barbarians, insensitive and thirsty for movie blood.
The facts are, I’d rather watch a splatterfest with hot car chases and shootouts, like “John Wick,” than something I know is going to bore me silly, like “The Notebook.”
Am I callous?
I know I’m not. Quite the opposite, really. I may be overly sensitive, to be honest.
What I’m not is so weak and on edge that I can’t watch a really good, fun action flick – which “John Wick 2” was – without coming out of it with a twisted sense of reality and a desire to go out and shoot up the neighborhood.
What’s more, if your job is that of a movie critic, then critique the movie. Your political sermons are probably best saved for your children or your close friends, over one of those boring, Manhattan dinner parties.
As for me, I’ll join with the host of other movie goers over at Rotten Tomatoes, the movie fan ratings site, where “John Wick 2” was rated 91% “Fresh.”
It’s just a good movie, and I’ll probably go see it, again.
Fair warning for those of a more delicate constitution, like the writer of the review from The Guardian: There are guns – many, many guns.