Gun Kata (John Wick: Chapter 2 review)

I love the TV Tropes brand. It’s all about the collection of and education on popular culture, specifically as it relates to common figures of speech. The ones that best convey concepts that exist in various forms of media, like movies, or say, television.

Now for example, in action movies, it’s fairly common for guys to smash and girls to shoot things. But does this action movie fall prey to tropes? Or transcend them?

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Common, Claudia Gerini, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Chad Stahelski
re-released on blu-ray June 13, 2017
********** 10/10

IMDB: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%, Audience Score 87%
The Guardian: ***/*****

Chad Stahelski is an American stuntman and director. It wasn’t until fairly recently that he took up the reins and decided to direct a movie, starting with  the first John Wick, and now it’s sequel John Wick: Chapter 2. More importantly, Stahelski is famous for his relationship with Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, who died from a gunshot wound during the final days of filming for The Crow. Stahelski was a good friend, and agreed to replace Lee as a stunt double, even wearing prosthetics to look like Lee, so that the movie could be completed.

He is also currently working on Triple Threat, a movie which stars Tony Jaa, Tiger Chen and Iko Uwais. That said, I think with his well established history in film that Stahelski was more then prepared to take on the action genre, and so far, it’s been to his benefit.

In case you haven’t seen 2014’s John Wick, I recommend you go and do so, because there are massive spoilers ahead.

Taken from Wikipedia and edited down –

Mere days later for, former assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is at Abram Tarasov’s (Peter Stormare) chop shop looking for his car. He demolishes Tarasov’s men, but his car is damaged in the fight. He chooses to spare Tarasov as a peace offering, and heads home.

Aurelio (John Leguizamo) fixes the car, but John is visited by Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). We learn that John was able to retire with the help of D’Antonio, and that they have a blood oath which John is required to fulfill upon request. D’Antonio presents the medallion to demand services from John, but John refuses. In a fit of rage, D’Antonio decides to take a grenade launcher to John’s house.

Winston (Ian McShane) reminds John of the two rules of the underworld, and that by breaking the oath he would be marked for death. The other rule being that every assassin has amnesty in Winston’s hotel. John reluctantly agrees and accepts the proposal, which is to assassinate  D’Antonio’s sister (Claudia Gerini), the head of the criminal group called the  “High Table”, a council of high-level crime lords. D’Antonio sends Ares (Ruby Rose), his personal bodyguard, to surveil John.

John easily infiltrates Gianna’s compound and confronts her – Gianna instead chooses to commit suicide. While retreating, D’Antonio’s men flip on John, hoping to consolidate his newfound power. Gianna’s bodyguard Cassian (Common) learns what has happened and begins a relentless pursuit.  They land at Winston’s hotel, and stop their battle at per the rules. Cassian vows revenge.

D’Antonio then opens a $7 million  contract on John and he fights his way through the city, dispatching numerous hidden assassins. He even runs into Cassian again, and wins the fight, so he can make his way to underground crime lord The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), whose subordinates treat his injuries and guide him to D’Antonio’s location. After navigating a hall of mirrors, John forces D’Antonio back to the the Continental. But despite Winston’s warnings, John kills D’Antonio in the Continental dining room.

Winston unfortunately has to excommunicate John from the order, but gives him another marker and some time to plan his next move before doubling the contract and sending it out globally. This doesn’t phase John, who collects his dog and starts running across the city.

Oddly enough this movie manages to accomplish more then enough in the way to trope fulfillment and furnishing a thin plot to move the action ahead.

But where most action flick fall apart because of their ridiculous premise, John Wick embraces the odd and each element is considered within the framework of the already established world. We can suspend our disbelief because we don’t “really” know how the world of assassins works, but the action and dialogue are slick, allowing the most important motivation of John Wick’s revenge to shine throughout.

Pros: The rules of this world continue to be defined with great consideration and the lack of CGI create better entertainment then anything out there right now. The choreography, the cinematography, even Reeves in the role of John is deliberate.

Cons: Of course, the motivations of the first film are stronger and the action a little more frantic. This movie serves up a lot more of the same, and is a little long as a result. And then we introduce the problem of John as someone who is invincible, and with that Superman complex, a little less compelling.

Runtime: 2 hours 2 minutes

Points of Interest: Keanu Reeves is a talented martial artist, and performed almost all of the stunts himself, with the exceptions of the car crash and falling down stairs. Second time director Chad Stahelski was a stuntman in the Matrix Trilogy. Laurence Fishburne elude to their connections as co-stars of The Matrix Trilogy.

The first John Wick movie was artfully created and a sleeper hit of 2014. This movie is an excellent addition to the catalogue and another example that over-the-top budgets don’t always equal action success. The Fishburne cameo is a welcome addition and perfect demonstration of the skillful layering going in in this movie.

theories Summarized

I really enjoyed this film and I suspect that if you are an action movie fan, Keanu Reeves supporter and even interested in experiments in storytellling, then you won’t blink twice at picking this up. That said, I have to wonder where we can go from here, and hope that Stahelski can put a nice bow on these films after the third is completed. John Wick: Chapter 2 appears to be mindless fun, but it has more then enough world-building to make stand out as one of the top five movies of 2017.

Also, in case you’re looking for another movie recommendation, the latest and greatest Watch Culture vid is now up!

No more theories from me friends, I’m tapped out for the now. But come back tomorrow for some wisdom.

Tim!

The Fast and the Furious (Watch Culture EP. 1)

So, you’re sitting at home on a Friday night and you want to watch something cool, but you just realized you don’t even know what’s cool anymore. Ya feel me?

Well, this is it, the latest and greatest venture on timotheories.

Ever so timely, and thanks one more time to Andre Lindo for inspiring me to come up with a new series of shows talking about Culture, from my perspective.

We’re doing something to challenge those top 10 lists and review videos that are ever so popular, creative cuties. These are going to be shorter videos with a more intimate feel and will feature myself at the helm (most of the time), guests, and and lots of unbridled passion about the topics at hand.

These ain’t your momma’s review shows, because we’re not going to focus only on the new and novel – Nope, we are going to inject into your consciousness the culture you need to navigate this crazy world of ours.

But enough of that, I think this show should be able to speak for itself, Watch Culture episode one is going to dive right into the thick of it, and it features my all-time favourite movie to watch when I’m sick, when I’m excited, when I’m ringing in the new year, and sometimes just to have on in the background when I’m painting or drawing. That’s right, we’re opening this can of worms with an episode on The Fast and the Furious,

Hit the jump to watch this video or stick around to stay on the site. Either way, This is going to be a fast paced 6 and half minutes of passion, fun, and entertainment on an amazing film that spawned an even better franchise.

theories Summarized

Look how happy I am just to talk about this movie, dear readers! And we haven’t even dug in just yet. I have so many more things to say about this movie, other movies and tv shows, and heck, who knows, I may dip my toes into some other creative channels. But you’re just gonna have to stick around to see what shows up next on timeotheories. Campfire theories continue to unfold and I’m stoked for it.

But you know what’s even more important here? Your feedback. Tell us what you think in the comment section, subscribe to the reading list for more great content, and please share this with your fellow lovers of creativity. We do this for you! Yet another theory to unravel folks.

Tim!

Jumping Jehoshaphat! (timotheories June 2017)

June always reminds me of my grandpa.

This is because when I was very little we would always get together as a big family and celebrate Father’s Day with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my dads side of the tree. Speaking of trees, whenever I think of my grandpa I think of Disney and in particular the films of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

I may have mentioned previously that I love movies? Like, a lot? Well what I may have neglected to mention was that not only did my dad and I bond over movies when I was growing up, but that my grandpa had a sizeable movie collection of his own, and he almost religiously recorded movies on the regular. It amazed and inspired me from a very young, and impressionable age.

This is back when VHS tapes were a thing. If you don’t know what VHS tapes are my many millennials, look them up, because the first time I watched Disney’s animated classic, The Sword in the Stone, it was on VHS.

That’s where I got the Jehoshaphat reference from. Also June bugs. But enough of that, let’s get to the June calendar.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – June

Stimulating Sundays – (06/04) Colin MacIntrye preview interview, (06/11) Colin MacIntrye interview, (06/18) Cross Talk Ep. 27, (06/25) Cross Talk Ep. 28
Melodic Mondays – (06/05) Paramore, (06/12) alt-J, (06/19) Sufjan Stevens, (06/26) Royal Blood
Theatrical Tuesdays – (06/06) Wonder Woman (2009), (06/13) Beauty and the Beast, (06/20) John Wick: Chapter 2 (06/27) The LEGO Batman Movie
Wisdom Wednesdays – (06/07) Communication Basics, (06/14) Email Communication, (06/21) Verbal Communication, (06/28) Meeting Communication
Timely Thursday – (06/01) timotheories June, (06/08) Siblings, (06/15) Watch Culture Ep. 1, (06/22) First Day of Summer, (06/29) Weddings

This is going to be a month of firsts – it’s the first time I release an episode of Watch Culture, and the first time the world get’s to meet Colin MacIntrye’s Beeverine. Colin is an Edmonton based illustrator, and my featured interview for June.

Also, we have some fun Cross Talk episodes coming out – but I’m not going to share too much more about them, because I don’t even know what the topics will be, yet. But I do know that our first ever female guest will be featured on the show. Her stage name is Alice Creed, and she’s intensely interesting.

But you want to know more.

Okay, well I’m focusing a lot of attention on communication with the Wisdom Wednesday posts, and heck, I have some timely thoughts on siblings, summer, and weddings. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

theories Summarized

June should be a great month to continue this years theme of campfire stories. Especially those upcoming posts on communication. And pay close attention to that first episode of Watch Culture, you aren’t gonna believe what I decided to start the series of with. Well, I have theory you won’t. In fact, I’ll bet a quarter mile at a time that you can’t guess what it is.

Tim!

Here Goes The Bloom (timotheories May 2017)

 

Keeping it brief today friends, it’s May the fourth after all. I’d rather let things go down the way they’re supposed to.

And yes, that is a cheesy graphic, but I honestly could not find much better for the joke in the way of license free content. So deal with it. And if you’re that unimpressed, there’s always the return of the fifth.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – May

Stimulating Sundays – (05/07) Cross Talk. Ep 25, (05/14) Cross Talk Ep. 26, (05/21) Amanda Wall preview interview, (05/28) Amanda Wall interview
Melodic Mondays – (05/01) Arca, (05/08) Gorillaz, (05/15) Willie Nelson, (05/22) Wilsen, (05/29) Joan Shelley
Theatrical Tuesdays – (05/02) La La Land, (05/09) Ocean Waves, (05/16) Lion (05/23) Hidden Figures (05/30) Logan
Wisdom Wednesdays – (05/03) …, (05/10) Moving Along, (05/17) Arnold Schwarzenegger pt. 2, (05/24) Safety (05/31) Work-life Balance
Timely Thursday – (05/04) timotheories May, (05/11) Mothers Day, (05/18) Victoria Day, (05/25) Edmonton Valley Zoo

It probably seems like I’m never going to share another interview again, does it dear readers?

The last time I put one up was in January, and it’s now May. According to my original plan of one interview a month minimum, I’ve really shit the bed this year. But it’s not all for naught… I do have 6 interviews in the works, 5 of them already have passed the screening test, and one of them is on it’s way… plus I’ve got some feelers out there for additional interviews. So please stay patient!

I’m recording Amanda’s interview this weekend, so that’s happening in May. Plus, Alex Racine is waiting in the wings, and I have Vinse, Brendon, and Colin raring to go as well. But more on them later. And I’m particularly excited about Brendon, as his interview leads us into more campfire stories, for sure.

On top of that, I have five episodes of Watch Culture recorded and ready to release… so watch for those. I might have to share them on Fridays or Saturdays? The first intro video will be fun too, I promise.

Next, we have 2 more Cross Talk episodes in the can that speak to the genre defying themes topic we’ve gotten such good feedback on previously – Good VS Evil and Overcoming Differences. I’m so excited about them, I kind of just want to release them both ASAP.

And Just ‘n Time Games is also waiting in the wings… when are those coming you ask? May be May, maybe?

Good album reviews and films too! I have lots of theories on Logan, for instance. And It also appears that we have reached the end of the road on the Postconsumers inspired posts, so I may just have to come up with some new Wisdom Wednesday topics.

May the fourth be with you, creative cuties.

Tim!

Time Of Your Life (timotheories April 2017)

 

April is one of my favourite months of the year, for a few reasons.

It’s the month I was born, which every other year is the same time as the Easter holidays, and it reminds me of my family. You see, dear readers, when I was growing up, every Easter, my family of six would all cart ourselves from one province to another to visit the grandparents. We called our grandparents Papa and Nana, of course. Because of the Ukrainian ancestry.

Which is why this month I decided to focus a lot of my posts on things that matter to me personally. Music, film, the arts, and how to be successful as an artist.

Just kidding, I do that every month. A little late for an April Fools joke, but you can’t say I didn’t try. Terribly.

Also, I mentioned this in my HMV post, but technically I won’t have a problem with reliable forecasting on film and music choices, now that I’ve converted to Amazon Prime, but for the sake of humility, I’ll keep this disclaimer up… just in case.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – April

Stimulating Sundays – (04/02) …, (04/09) Cross Talk Ep. 21, (04/16) Cross Talk Ep. 22, (04/23) Cross Talk Ep. 23, (04/30) Alex Racine interview
Melodic Mondays – (04/03) Sampha, (04/10) The Mavericks, (04/17) Arca, (04/24) Father John Misty
Theatrical Tuesdays – (04/04) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, (04/11) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, (04/18) A Monster Calls (04/25) The Founder
Wisdom Wednesdays – (04/05) Li Kunwu, (04/12) Life Satisfaction, (04/19) David Deida, (04/26) Facebook Success Stories
Timely Thursday – (04/06) timotheories April, (04/13) Easter, (04/20) Fate of the Furious, (04/27) Birthdays

So I missed the mark on the first Sunday of this month – it’s been a bit of a challenge to stay focused with all of the personal changes going on, and my day job, and a new(ish) relationship. Not making excuses, just letting you see that I too am mortal and fully capable of failing.

But let’s focus instead on the fact that I’ve got three Cross Talk episodes coming your way, one of them about Easter Eggs in film (super fun topic), plus the beginning of a series further exploring how certain themes exist in film, but defy genres.

And no, I didn’t forget about Amanda Wall creative cuties. We’ve been trying to figure out a way to make her interview happen. She is a freelancer and full-time mom after all, and scheduling has proven more challenging than originally anticipated. That said, I do have something in the works with a local game designer by the name of Alex Racine – I promise that’ll be fun.

The rest of the topics are gonna be amazing too, from films set in the Star Wars universe, Harry Potter lore, and an adaptation of the beginnings of McDonalds, plus some Mavericks from my past, I have a ton of theories to share on books I’ve read and social media too. Also, did I mention it’s my birthday month? And that the eighth instalment of my favourite film franchise opens in less then a week?

So many theories, so little April to shower you with ideas. But I’ll do my darnedest!

Tim!