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South Valley Journal

Dan's Review: "John Wick Chapter 3" Increases the Action - and the Body Count

May 18, 2019 05:53PM ● By Dan Metcalf

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum - © 2019 Lionsgate.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (Lionsgate)

Rated R for pervasive strong violence, and some language.

Starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Mark Dacascos, Laurence Fishburne, Asia Kate Dillon, Halle Berry, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Lord Taylor, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, Boban Marjanović, Randall Duk Kim.

Written by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams.

Directed by Chad Stahelski.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

Get out the body bags. If you’re familiar at all with the John Wick film series, you know the main character is a trained killer and that there’s no one better at his trade. Keanu Reeves’ personification of Wick has moved beyond a man who was out to get revenge against mobsters who killed his puppy in the original 2014 film. The consequences of his vendetta have led us to new realms of killing, involving a cryptic organization operating in the shadows.

The story picks up in the exact moments of the closing scenes in JW2, with Wick looking for exit strategies following is “excommunication” from the “High Table,” the secret society of hit men (and women) with stringent rules, hidden leaders, and zero tolerance for those who violate the terms of membership. With a contract out for his head, John is running out of options for assistance, since helping an “excommunicado” carries severe penalties. But John has an ace up his sleeve; a marker he exchanges from a Belarusian “director” (Angelica Huston) who is the leader of a group that raised and trained Wick. The Director reluctantly helps Wick escape to Morocco, where he hopes to call in another favor. In Morocco, Wick connects with Sofia (Halle Berry) another trained “High Table” killer who owes him a favor. John and Sofia dispatch of several minions on their way to the middle of the Sahara Desert, where Wick hopes to make a deal with a High Table leader.

Meanwhile in New York, a High Table “Adjudicator” (Asia Kate Dillon) has been dispatched by leaders to deal with those who helped Wick escape judgment after violating the rules of “The Continental” hotel operated by Winston (Ian McShane). The Adjudicator is also meting out consequences for the Director and the “Bowery King” (Lawrence Fishburne), another underworld kingpin who helped Wick escape. Wick eventually makes his way back to the Continental, where Zero (Mark Dacascos) another trained killer employed by the High Table awaits. A great melee ensues, leaving hundreds of hired killers dead as Wick, the Bowery King and Winston have a few decisions to make.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is on-brand for the series, with substantial action, dark humor and even more killing than we’ve seen in any of the previous films. Somewhere between the first film and JW3, a line was crossed from a story set in the real world and more of an alternate universe where dozens of people are hewn down in pools of blood on the streets of New York City, as bystanders pass through the scenes unaware of the endless spent shell casings and dead bodies at their feet.

This otherworldly realm makes JW3 a well-choreographed ballet of bullets, blades, and blood executed (no pun intended) with pinpoint precision. If you can stomach the bloodshed and killing, it’s a lot of fun, not to mention aesthetically pleasing in terms of cinematography. Keanu Reeves owns the mysterious lead character as several numbers of actors have embodied James Bond.

Speaking of Bond, John Wick has the potential of rivaling the decades-long series, with all sorts of enigmatic villains, outlandish scenarios, and quirky supporting characters in play.

So, even though I enjoyed the first JW more than 2 or 3, the latest installment in the series is certainly enjoyable.

"John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum" trailer