To begin positively, the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 2 was phenomenal. Fans of the original 2014 action thriller will be anticipating the return of Keanu Reeves’ legendary hitman, who in the first film, wipes out a slew of mobsters in a quest to avenge the death of his puppy, Daisy.
This time we find Wick in Rome, and the trailer offers some beautiful visuals that suggest the sequel’s cinematography will be just as delicious as its predecessor. The trailer includes Wick handling all manner of weapons and sleek vehicles. Returning cast members include Ian McShane and John Leguizamo, with the addition of Lawrence Fishburne. If this trailer is anything to go by, then John Wick: Chapter 2 is going to be violent, stylish fun.
I wouldn’t use ‘fun’ to describe the next two trailers, which were similar in content. Both Underworld: Blood Wars and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter feature a kick-ass female protagonist combatting villainous monsters, and are the next instalments of film franchises that should have been left dead years ago. Though Resident Evil’s monsters and post-apocalyptic scenery are well-rendered, I have very little investment in Milla Jovovich’s central character, who is seen in this trailer diving through explosions and wrestling ugly creatures, always wearing the same dispassionate expression. Viewers who have sat through the first five instalments in this series may enjoy seeing the franchise wrapped up, but it’s not a film I’m eager to see.
The same can be said of Underworld: Blood Wars, the fifth Underworld film, which sees the return of Kate Beckinsale’s Selene, a Vampire assassin who has to navigate a war between the vampire clan, and the vicious werewolves known as Lycans. The phenomenal Charles Dance has been added to the cast, along with Divergent’s Theo James, but just as with Resident Evil, yet another sequel is not something I’ve been clamouring for.
Power Rangers was certainly the most intriguing. A reimagining of the 1990s TV series, the trailer begins with an interesting rendition of Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ as we are introduced to the teenage cast. When they discover colourful alien objects, they gain the abilities of super strength and agility. In spite of the more dramatic moments towards the end of the trailer, I found the initial introduction of the characters more compelling than later superpower-fuelled scenes. Hopefully, the narrative will focus on the characters, and not descend into just another CGI explosion-fest. I’m intrigued to see how this one plays out.
I’ll leave the worst for last. The Great Wall was the most staggeringly stupid of NYCC’s trailers. This action film set in Medieval China is based on an alternative history where the Great Wall of China was built to keep out a horde of CGI monsters. Matt Damon, who seems to spend the whole of the film cosplaying as Robin Hood, must fight alongside a legion of Chinese warriors to prevent these monsters from crossing the wall. It’s unfair to judge a film by its trailer, but if it’s an accurate depiction of the film, then its only merit will be that the audience might proffer a small chuckle at how laughably bad it is.