Thursday 16 May 2019

Film Review: John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Yeah, we're thinking he's back. Keanu Reeves dons the crisp tuxedo and pistol holsters of monosyllabic assassin John Wick for a third time. Prepare for war, because this one gets bloody.

In John Wick Chapter 2, our titular vengeance-seeking hero crosses some lines and breaks some rules. The shady criminal organisation that has operatives everywhere (known as 'The High Table') is bound by a set of customs that uphold honour in a blood-soaked world – and John Wick (Reeves) defied one of these customs when he killed a man in the New York Continental Hotel, a refuge where 'business' is prohibited.

Excommunicated by the mysterious gangland underworld and with a $14 million bounty on his head, John Wick is being hunted at every turn as a result. This is where we pick things up, mere minutes after the second film. Seemingly everyone and their mum is out to snipe or stab Wick, so he seeks safe passage to Casablanca. The only way to overturn his exile is to go right to the top – and to do that, Wick recruits the help of an old ally, Sophia (Halle Berry).

The great thing about the John Wick series is that you know what you're going to get – and that's a good thing. Wonderful fight choreography, gorgeous cinematography, kickass stunts and brilliant editing that is clear and coherent is this series' modus operandi, and Chapter 3 continues along this trajectory.

Returning director Chad Staheski charges out of the gates all guns blazing, literally. Ninjas, motorbikes, horses, axes – you name it, we got it. At one point, Wick furiously beats a man to death with a library book. And that's all just in the first 10 minutes!

Halle Berry has battle dogs. I repeat, HALLE BERRY HAS BATTLE DOGS.

Fists fly across the screen and bullets carve through enemy heads – John Wick's trademark style of gun-fu is faster and more furious than ever, but it never feels like John has it easy. Every encounter is rough and tumble, filled with blood and sweat. The best part is, a lot of the fight choreography is in-camera – no shaky, rapid cuts that reduce so many action films to rubble.

In my review of John Wick Chapter 2, I likened the film to a videogame, and Chapter 3 is much the same. But like the preceding film, this isn't a videogame set to easy mode; it's an expert player who has all the combos and cool abilities unlocked going full tilt at a room full of goons armed to the teeth.

The story supporting the stylish action is fairly straightforward, in that it merely serves to write around the cliffhanger from Chapter 2. And given that it is set mere hours later, a lot of the supporting cast remains the same – Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick. Newcomers include Berry, who wields two groin-biting alsatians as well as a pistol, and an under-utilised Jason Mantzoukas.

You'll probably be having too much fun to care about the thin plot though; from New York to Casablanca and back again, the action rarely lets up in this breathless, weird and wonderful film. Chapter 3 doubles down on its predecessor by continuing to explore the eccentric underworld that Wick inhabits and its peculiarities. But it never lets this 'lore' and its laws get in the way of the way of a good ass-kicking. More of the same and executed with aplomb – Chapter 3 promises a good time and it delivers.

The Verdict: 8.5/10

Watching John Wick strings together hundreds of pinpoint accurate and deadly headshots proves yet again to be an excellent way to spend two hours. Seamlessly mixing gritty gun-fu with an operatic and ostentatious underworld, John Wick 3: Parabellum is another generous serving of patented good stuff™. Bonus points for the inclusion of Halle Berry's battle dogs, who both gave great performances.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is in cinemas across Australia from today.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...