Actions have consequences in the film universe ‘John Wick’, so all punches, spades, bites, knives, bullets, swords and horse boots are in the face in ‘John Wick: chapter 3 – Parabellum’ … well, those consequences are crazy steep .
And they are incredibly nice to see in the solid continuation of director Chad Stahelski (★★★ of the four; rated R; in the national theaters of May 17) of the murderous franchise that makes James Bond seem as hardcore as Peppa Pig.
The first “Wick” brought Keanu Reeves’ well-dressed title hero back to his life as a super killer after someone killed his puppy, and the fantastic second chapter revealed a rich mythology and a code of honor from the underworld. This third film brings both the opera and the intriguing exhibition, but lacks the grandeur of ‘Chapter 2’ due to a complicated final act and underdeveloped supporting characters.
Master hit assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is being chased on horseback by motorcycle enthusiasts in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.”
Master hit assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is being chased on horseback by motorcycle enthusiasts in “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.” (Photo: NIKO TAVERNISE)
One of the best things you can say about these films is that they waste absolutely no time: “Chapter 3″ begins where the last one left off, with John being an hour before he was excommunicated from his assassin guild and a $ 14 million premium on his bill was set thanks to the almighty High Table. (He killed a man on the holy ground of the Continental Hotel, which you just don’t do.)
In a torrential rain, John traverses the dark corners of New York, enters nasty knife-throwing fights and even finds the transport of horses in search of a sanctuary in a city full of secret killers who want that money – and a chance to win the legendary ” Baba to knock down “Yaga” – bad.
Sofia (Halle Berry) loves dogs as much as the title character of “John Wick: Chapter 3”.
Sofia (Halle Berry) loves dogs as much as the title character of “John Wick: Chapter 3”. (Photo: NIKO TAVERNISE)
The beginning of “Parabellum” is related to a more civilized “Mad Max: Fury Road”, a propelling metropolitan chase where the protagonist faces his entire world. But after a visit to the mysterious director (Anjelica Huston) of a dance company – and a peek into John’s own background story – our guest takes a flight to Morocco to see Sofia (Halle Berry), a woman from his past who has risen In the killer hierarchy and shares John’s love for pooches. (When Sofia and John tackle an endless legion of bad guys in Casablanca, her two dogs turn out to be just as deadly as the people.)
Neo in “The Matrix” was perhaps the most iconic action role of Reeves, but John Wick is the real chosen one – at 54 the actor gives his laconic character the appropriate gravitas of a very dangerous life, as well as everything the necessary shots, kung fu chops and other kick-butt moves that drive the franchise.
However, like other fan-friendly series, a growing cast means less time for key players: Berry is great, but her screen time is limited, although the coolest new people here are The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), a stone-cold high table bureaucrat and Zero (Mark Dacascos), a sushi chef and Wick fanboy to kill his idol.
Wick eventually returns to the Big Apple where an entire subplot unfolds with Steely Continental manager Winston (Ian McShane) weighing his own loyalty at the high table. As much as dogs are the key to all things “Wick” – John drops his dog friend with caretaker Charon (Lance Reddick) before things literally become careless – that’s the theme of debt. Almost every character owes a different one, and paying usually means that you get the bad side of someone else.
It is almost a karmic answer to everything else in the action film genre, where there is usually a clear lack of responsibility in the willful violence: in the “Wick” version, a bloody action usually leads to many more problems later. As long as that is the core of this series, a pretty good “Chapter 3” still equals insanely explosive, dual excitement.