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Movie Review: JOHN WICK 3: PARABELLUM

It’s wonderful to sit in a full theater and hear people reacting to scenes with the same glee and awe that you do. This movie knows what it is: an action romp that gleefully strains reality and has some of the finest fight choreography and cinematography (Dan Laustsen (“The Shape of Water”) you’ll see. And Wick’s nemesis (beyond any soul rending existential doubt he may) is as cheesy as the bottle clinking bad guy in The Warriors. But much more deadly. Yes, there is a plot. And it is expanded upon and advanced.

In JOHN WICK 3: PARABELLUM we see Wick after what is barely over a week of near non-stop mayhem. He’s tired, he’s sore, he’s bleeding and he has a bounty of 14 million on his head that will bring every assassin to bear on him in less than an hour. What happens? Variety describes it well with this line: “After a certain point, watching John Wick shoot people in the head starts to weirdly resemble a gardener misting orchids with a spray bottle.”

Reeves doing some of the tactical training for the film.
Boban Marjanovic faces Wick in the folklore section.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) and Director (Anjelica Huston)

All this because of a puppy, Director*** asks? Yeah. Because the happiest and most human moments he had in his life were wrapped up in that puppy. He hunted down a member of the High Table* and killed him in The Continental** and this makes him excommunicado. For an explanation of what all that means, click here. Wick has eyes on him the minute he stumbles from the hotel the all but one what for his prescribed time to begin their attempts for the bounty. And this opportunistic killer checks out early.

The fight choreography is beautiful.**** The already fantastic cast is expanded. There are fight scenes in a library (anything can be used as a weapon) and never get on the wrong side of devoted Belgian Malinois. There is fighting on a horse, motorcycles and underwater.

Winston (Ian McShane), Charon (Lance Reddick) and The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) play continuing pivotal roles as Wick seeks aid from people in his past like Director (Angelica Huston) and Sophia (Halle Berry) as well as the near mythical figures like High Table boss Earl (Jerome Flynn) and very High Table figure, The Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui). Our nemesis who flashes puppy love eyes at Wick when he isn’t trying to slice and dice him is the unstable and truly odd Zero (Mark Dacascos). And at the end of it all, Wick is tired, sore, bleeding and pissed off.

*the behind the scenes international coalition of killers.

**a hotel in Manhattan in which assassins honor a code not kill. Free parking for honor bound killers.

***A blast from Wicks past.

****Halle Berry broke three ribs. But she trained hard.