All of this for what, a puppy? You betcha, as John Wick finds himself on the outer and fighting for his life in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. But is all that fighting actually worth watching?
At the risk of repeating ourselves, you betcha.
Wick will fight them on foot, he’ll fight them on bikes, he’ll fight them on horseback – and, yes, he’ll never surrender. You see, following events at the end of his second filmic outing he’s now “excommunicado” in the alarmingly code-abiding criminal underworld. His assassin’s frequent flyer club membership is revoked, and the High Table runs a stock exchange-like book on those who carry bounties on their heads, with our man Wick shooting straight to number one – with, of course, a bullet.
So, everybody wants a piece of Wick. Assuring that his newly-adopted pitbull pup is looked after, he then starts calling in favours left, right and centre in hope of surviving – and luckily for him a lot of people owe him. But will it all be enough for him to be able to return for a fourth adventure?
The first two Wickiverse movies were hard acts to follow, yet somehow director Chad Stahelski has managed to up the ante with the series of stunning, sometimes disturbingly beautiful scenes of ultraviolent fighting carnage here. He also manages to weaponise things that probably shouldn’t be weaponised… will we ever look at a book the same way again?
The trip through Wick’s past acquaintances introduces us to new franchise faces such as Halle Berry and Angelica Huston, who fit in perfectly. Then there’s Asia Kate Dillon as The Adjudicator, the High Council judge and jury all in one cold-as – but very neat – little ninja-accompanied package. This is one person you do not want to cross! Continental people Ian McShane and Lance Reddick return, and are given more prominent roles between the regular outbreaks of mayhem. Meanwhile, Keanu inhabits Wick as if he’s an extension of his self. He remains stoic throughout – and quite mesmerising.
There are lulls in the action for fab, almost knowingly B-movie-styled story advancement, but just when your behind may be getting wiggly a new scene will arc up the craziness again – the script plays out much like a classical symphony, with sections of varying pace and feel that make for one grand emotional rollercoaster.
The John Wick franchise has quickly become an action milestone, combining amazing cinematography with amazing stunts in amazing set pieces. If that’s what you’re coming into JW3 for, you’re going to leave grinning from ear to ear. Despite that lack of any deep story – see John, see John run, see John kill, repeat – dismissing John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum as just another action film would be mad, for it’s lifted to great heights by a sense of wit and style that’s all too rare in mainstream cinema… action movies or otherwise. It’s another hard act to follow.
In cinemas: May 16, 2019
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
Directed by: Chad Stahelski