Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Anjelica Huston
Running time: 131 minutes
Life can’t be all that easy if your name’s John Wick. Two films down and you’ve got a dead wife, a dead dog and a rather hefty chunk of New York’s population after the $7 million bounty lingering over your head. Whatever the opposite of a bucket list is, Keanu Reeves’ hitman-turned-avenging bogeyman’s is already pretty extensive.
Still, it’s an existence that isn’t without its perks. A third crack at the whip certifies your status as a bonafide action franchise superstar, you get to dispatch hordes of conventional, nondescript goons at the same rate millennials consume coffee, and you get to do it all in a suit and tie. Best of all, however, is that you have one hell of a production design team following your every blood-splattered escapade.
Picking up mere minutes from where the sequel left things, John Wick (Reeves) is in a spot of bother. He’s now officially ‘Excommunicado’ from the Continental — the assassin world’s equivalent of having your Nando’s Loyalty card permanently revoked — and on the run. The attractive bounty on his head has been doubled and he’s running in the rain without an umbrella. With barely 15 minutes on the clock, the eponymous hitman has already killed a dude in a library using only a hardback and seen off a gaggle of hitmen while riding a horse through New York City. If it wasn’t already made clear after chapter two, as the joyously excessive, gloriously implausible series enters the realm of clunky, heavily-punctuated threequels, John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum quickly makes crystal that John Wick’s one-man army taking on what appears to be the entirety of NYC is going to be as deliriously frenetic as we’d all hoped it would be.
Plot has never been the point in all of this, of course. Unadulterated, wince-inducing action sequences have been the franchise’s forte; keeping things simple its bread and butter. Aside from a couple of wobbly deviations — needless exposition featuring Anjelica Huston before a trip to Morocco with Halle Berry and a couple of bullet proof vest-clad German Shepherds — John Wick 3 sticks largely to its tried and tested formula. At its pulsating best when the stoic Reeves is spraying bullets in every direction, twisting limbs every which way and saying people’s names with monotone gruffness, Parabellum hits viewers with every barrel from its extensive arsenal. Orchestrated with confidence by director Chad Stahelski, a barrage of visual, violent outlandishness, gloriously inventive and wonderfully choreographed, complements a cacophony of crunching bones — who really needs meaningful dialogue anyway? — generously repaying audiences who’ve stuck by the guy whose response to having his car stolen is to murder the constituents of an entire criminal enterprise. It’s one hell of a ride, just, for the love of God, don’t spill popcorn in the passenger seat…
Slick and stylish action pulp that channels shades of The Matrix’s visual flair, and which happens to have both Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne in it. John Wick 3, in every sense, kills it.