John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) — God mode activated

“All of this for what? Because of a puppy?”

Justin’s rating: Triple the movies, triple the dogs

Justin’s review: Let’s be real about the John Wick series for a moment here. You may like these films. I may find entertainment in them too. But let’s not pretend that they’re not a whole lot of stylish nonsense. I could sort of buy a retired assassin snapping back into action when the mob kills the only thing that he has left from his dead wife. And I could throw my hands up and accept that this guy is an absolutely perfect, invincible killer who acts like a whole bunch of video game cheat codes have been entered for his character. But the “world” of John Wick is a load of rubbish, and it’s only the stylish nature and flawless action sequences that keep us from calling it out.

Well… I’m going to call it out. The longer this series continues, the sillier this concept of a massive organization of contract killers becomes, from their pretentious labels (people being declared “excommunicado” and buildings slapped with “deconsecrated” status) to their old-fashioned corporate offices to the fact that there never seems to be any civilians or police around for all of these rather extensive scenes of mass killing. The whole movie series is pushing so hard for all of us to accept this as cool that — at least in my opinion — it greatly overplays its hand into sheer desperation.

Anyway. I watched John Wick 2 and 3 back-to-back my first time seeing them both, and I felt they flowed very well together. Chapter 3 continues right as Chapter 2 ended, with John Wick kicked out of the killers cool club and scrambling to escape the city as a $14 million contract is put out for his life. In a somewhat muddled story arc, Wick escapes the country, reconnects with old pal Sofia (Halle Berry) in Barcelona, tracks down the head of the “High Table” of assassins, begs for his job back, and then — what the heck — turns down the job anyway. Seriously, when you step back and plot out this movie, the middle 70% of it is completely unnecessary due to John Wick arriving at the same spot where he started.

What’s slightly better here is the theme of Chapter 3, which is that of consequences. Wick is facing the consequence of killing in the Continental, and everyone who helped him also have to answer to the higher ups for their actions. Gradually, the opening salvo of a civil war erupts, with Wick game for taking on the whole structure of this seemingly omnipresent, highly funded organization.

Of course, plot is more or less irrelevant in all of these movies. What matters most is (a) killing a lot of people quickly and (b) looking very suave doing it. Again, the series’ fight choreographers and cinematographers do stellar work staging some of the best fight scenes in modern action movies, allowing the camera to capture all of the terrific stunts that the actors pull off. This time around there are a few standout fight sequences, such as one with killer dogs, one with a whole lot of knife throwing, and one on horseback. Pro-tip: Use horses to kick bad guys around.

Chapter 3 does suffer somewhat from not having a lot of new territory to cover, instead relying more and more on very long fight scenes. They just go on and on and on, and after a while I would find myself tuning out because there’s only so many times you can watch John Wick shoot someone in the head or have faceless troopers set themselves up for said head shooting before I start to wonder what I should buy at the grocery store tomorrow. Not blood sausage, no way.

I do think it’s about time to wrap up this series, and I hope that the upcoming fourth chapter will be its last. But for the third helpings of Keanu Reeves kicking people around in his tailor-fit suit, it still hits the spot.

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