Guns, Lots of Guns A John Wick Chapter 2 Movie Review

john-wick-2-posterjpg-fe1944_1280wGuns, lots of guns… wait, wrong movie… right?

The first John Wick movie was a dark, gritty, story about revenge, heavy on gun work and with a surprising level of characterization.  To top things off, when the YouTube video of Keanu Reeves doing gun training for the sequel aired, it was straight out awesome.

Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to see the sequel.  And in some ways, it really doesn’t disappoint.  The gunwork and action scenes are phenomenal.  The choreography is fantastic, the method of John Wick’s murder spree is bloody display of art… but there’s very little of the deep motivations from the first movie.

In the first movie, John Wick is a man driven by revenge and hate.  We not only see how much has been taken from him, but we see the pettiness and brutality of the men that took it away.  We root for his vengeance, as an audience, and excuse the mass-murder rampage that results.  It’s very much like Kill Bill, in that regard.

The second movie has none of these motivations.  He’s had his revenge, he’s killed everyone in his path… and (not to spoil things, but you can guess from the fact that there is a sequel) he gets pulled right back into the life of an assassin.  John Wick kills a lot of people.  Most of them are presumably bad.  He doesn’t have the motivation or drive to do it, he has no revenge, no anger, no justification beyond the preservation of his miserable life.  In that, it feels as if the writer just didn’t really know what to do.

Spoiler (highlight to read): He does it for a sort of murky reason in that he doesn’t want to have the entire criminal underworld come after him.  In fact, he kills more people in this movie than in the last, 128 versus 77 in the first one.  He has his marker to justify, but the end result of him fulfilling the marker is the same as if he hadn’t… so why bother, why did all these other people have to die?)

In the end, John Wick Chapter Two fails to do what the first movie did: rise above being gun-porn.  Don’t get me wrong, it does that gun-porn fantastically… but it’s ultimately a shallow movie that doesn’t have the depth of characterization of its predecessor, nor does it have the interesting plot.  The villains are mono-dimensional and the lack of motivations of John Wick reduces his murderous rampage into a mass shooting event where he guns down droves of nameless mooks.

I came hoping for a story of revenge or vengeance and I walked away at the end feeling as if nothing had been resolved.  The action and acting are fantastic… the story and characterization is flat.  I recommend it for a popcorn movie, but it doesn’t achieve the depth of the original movie.

Guns, lots of guns
Guns, lots of guns…
Advertisements

Free Short Stories

The Freeport Mutineers, by Kal Spriggs
The Freeport Mutineers, by Kal Spriggs

Starting today and running through Monday, February 20th, I’ll be offering The Freeport Mutineers and Look to the Stars for free.  Most of my readers will already have free copies, but in case you’ve missed them before, here you are!

The Freeport Mutineers

Young Midshipman Wachter is about to face the rope.

Troubled by the rumors spread throughout the Southern Fleet, the young officer turned to the Marines and Sailors under his command… yet he and they were betrayed, arrested, and convicted of mutiny, all under the orders of the ambitious Lord Admiral Hennings.

Faced with the prospect of not only his own death, but that of the men under his command, Wachter must somehow find a way to do the right thing. Yet there is little hope with he and his men jailed, weaponless, and condemned, while the town of Freeport lies under martial law and the threat of dark sorcery.

Only one course lays open to him, to break his oaths and to swear allegiance to the cause of another, to become exactly what his enemies have accused him of being: a mutineer.

Look to the Stars
Look to the Stars, a short story by Kal Spriggs
Look to the Stars, a short story by Kal Spriggs

Mason McGann is a smuggler, a liar, and a cheat. With his ship impounded by customs, he figures he has no choice left but to auction off information about the lost Dreyfus Fleet.

But things are never what they seem when you hold information that can change the course of history.

 

Movie Review: The Space Between Us

the_space_between_us_posterThe Space Between Us is a near-future science fiction romance.  In my opinion, it’s a perfect Valentine’s Day movie to drag your significant other along for a night out.  It’s optimistic, it’s sappy, and it’s fun.  Honestly, I’d put it in the same category of movies as Tomorrowland and Stardust.

The plot isn’t overly complicated.   It’s a story about a young man and woman finding themselves.

That can be pretty difficult when they both live on different planets.  The interactions between the two main characters is fantastic, with great chemistry and they portray their roles very well.

It’s a movie that takes our going to Mars as a matter of course, and for that I could forgive any number of mistakes in the movie.  Fortunately, there’s relatively few, with the most egregious being science stuff (asymmetric-designed ship… groan).   There’s a few minor plot decisions that had me shaking my head, but even those are relatively tiny things.  The movie as a whole is fun, fast-paced, and with some genuinely sweet scenes.

It’s a movie that makes you feel good about being alive in this era of wonders… and that’s a really good thing in my opinion.  They take the time to marvel at human accomplishments and the movie uses Gardener to give an outside perspective on so many things that we take for granted.

I highly recommend seeing this movie.  As I said, it’s fun, it’s romantic, and you walk out of the theater feeling good.

Book Review: Fires of Caldarus

firesI’ve been a longtime fan of the comic series Crimson Dark, which is sort of a military science fiction version of Firefly.  It’s fun, has good humor, and has a solid story.  The graphics have also steadily grown better and better.  If you’re a fan of science fiction, I can’t suggest it enough.

Needless to say, I was excited to learn that the author, David C Simon, has also written a book.  Fires of Caldarus is a young adult fantasy novel, set in a new universe and it’s really fantastic.

The story is somewhat reminiscent of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword.   The main character has elements of magic that she doesn’t understand, that she can’t understand without breaking with the acceptable norms of her society.

Fires of Cadlarus is exciting and it’s a page turner, the reader is swept along with Nemara as she tries to learn about her past, about her magic, and at the same time, tries to protect herself and her father.  There are elements of dramatic tension, as she encounters dangerous authority figures who, if they knew what she was, would torture her.

There is violence and there are some dark themes in the book.  But there’s also a great deal of hope.  There’s great elements of friendship and trust.  It’s a fun read and I’d love to see more books from David Simon (especially in this world and series).  I highly recommend this book.

Kal’s February 2017 Forecast

February is here.  Wow, that was quick.  I actually found myself writing 2012 on some paperwork yesterday, which tells you how out of touch I can be with the flow of time…  (we’re living in the future, man!)

But anyway, in January I finished writing and the first round of edits to my last WIP, an Urban Fantasy novel that I’ll be sending off to a publisher, hopefully in the next couple of months.  I sent it to my alpha readers and I’m waiting to hear back from them.  I also sent out another novel, Prisoner of the Mind, to a big publisher.  Again, it’s a waiting process.

This month, I’ve already started writing the next Shadow Space Chronicles book.  It has space pirates, exploding space ships, and we get to learn a lot more about Marius Giovanni.  I’m excited to write it and I hope to have it finished by the end of the month.

For those of you who want sneak peaks at my projects, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.  This month I’ll be giving away a signed copy of The Temple of Light as well as giving a free preview of the urban fantasy novel I’ve completed.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Please Sir, I Want Some Reviews…

oliverHi everyone!  The Temple of Light has been out for just under a month, and I’m hoping that those of you who purchased copies will take some time to write reviews on Amazon’s site.  Reviews help other readers find books and they give me valuable feedback as an author as well.  So if you’ve read The Temple of Light (or any of my books for that matter) and haven’t written a review, please do so!