When the first John Wick released in 2014, nobody expected it to be the major franchise that it is now. Keanu Reeves, still riding off the success of The Matrix films all those years ago, has finally come into his own as the Baba Yaga himself. In fact, this might be Reeves' most defining role since Neo, and deservedly so - because John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, even as the third movie in the franchise, continues to set new standards for what every action movie should aspire to be.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum picks up directly after the events of Chapter 2, which saw John Wick becoming ex-communicado from his line of work - secret assassins operating in plain sight. He's now on the run as assassins from every corner of the globe seek to kill him, and claim his massive $14 million bounty. Returning characters also include Laurence Fishburne as the underground boss, Bowery King, and Ian McShane as the head of The Continental, Winston, among others.
Reeves is, once again, back in top form, showcasing his ability to perform a large majority of all his own stunt work that honestly puts Tom Cruise to shame at this point. The man has proven to not just be a sympathetic actor that we can latch onto, but a terrific physical actor as well, capable of many forms of martial arts and impressive gun combat. He's perfectly suited to the role of John Wick, and steals every scene that he's in by principal of his intimidating character alone. The stunts he's required to do in Chapter 3 borders on the ludicrous - any sane actor would find a stunt-double - but Reeves boldly tackles the challenge and pushes himself as an actor and martial artist on many occasions. Colour me impressed.
However, John Wick: Chapter 3 doesn't have the most profound story to tell, but that isn't the reason anyone sees these films anyway. The big exception, of course, is the superb world-building that's always at the forefront of the story. The shadowy league of assassins operating in our daily lives is a scary thought, and one that seems almost comic book-ish in the way it conveys them - specifically in Chapter 3, where we get to see, and understand, a lot more about the origins of the assassins and how they actually fit into the larger pieces of the puzzle. There is one element of the story that seems a tad bit far-fetched, almost supernatural, and stands out considering that the previous two films tried their hardest to ground the series in some grit and realism.
The big exception, of course, is the superb world-building that's always at the forefront of the story.
Thanks to some excellent fight choreography from the team behind The Raid... you're always left perplexed by how inventive most of these insane action scenes are.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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17 May 2019
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