Tuesday, May 28, 2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

By sati (harlequinade) Tuesday, May 28, 2019 , , , , , , ,
5 years ago we were introduced to the deadliest Avenger of them all. John Wick, a man who has lost his wife and received a farewell gift from her - a puppy. But when that puppy is killed, in what is the most awful scene I've seen in my entire life, and John's car is stolen (let's face it - that car doesn't really matter, though) by some very bad people, John Wick will embark on the most entertaining, justified and hottest killing spree in cinematic history.

It was hard to imagine how they can top John killing bad guys with a pencil in Chapter Two, but they found a way. The film barely begins and we are treated to incredible sequence where he kills a guy.....with a book. And that's just the start of it. There's incredible knight fight, Halle Berry and her character's amazing dogs join the battle in the stunning sequence in Casablanca and there's a great final standoff which is a lot different from what usually happens in action movies - John doesn't fight really bad people who simply want him dead, no, he fights some of his fanboys. There are shootouts, axe throwing and an insane underwater moment. Oh, and he rides a horse. While wearing a suit. And firing a gun.
The relentless action with not that much story accompanying it wouldn't work at all without someone we can root at the center of all of this. It's usually not hard to root for anyone played by Keanu Reeves - unless it's The Gift, The Neon Demon or The Bad Batch - but it's simply impossible not to do so here. He plays a man driven by desire to survive so he can remember his dead wife. And he cares about dogs. What's not to love? His John Wick is already an iconic character - we want to watch him fight but we also want him to be all right and watch his dog lick his face.

The supporting cast delivers yet again, with incomparable Ian McShane having more to do in this one to my delight, and providing so much charm, humor and charisma, and with Lance Reddick getting his own badass moment and having great chemistry with the dog again - delivering one of the movie's most wholesome moments as the dog is sent to be under his protection. Newcomers include a fantastic antagonist Zero who has genuine admiration for Wick, played with a lot of charm by Mark Dacascos, aforementioned Berry, who kicks so much ass, Asia Kate Dillon who delivers a chilling turn as The Adjudicator and Anjelica Huston, playing a character who gives us a glimpse into John's painful past. And there's Jerome Flynn doing what I can only imagine was Highgarden accent.
This Chapter really amps everything up. There's a lot of moments where you either wince or avert your eyes and not just because of the amazing sound design, which makes you feel every punch and every slash The eye? The toenail? Yssh...Thankfully they also added more humor - from John using the horses' hind legs to kick the bad guys to Winston hiding in the vault with some good liquor as the rest of the guys fight for their life. And how about that moment when Zero sits right next to John which prompts him to sit elsewhere?

Not everything works, though. They built the mythology to such ridiculous extent in this one. The judge delivering justice? The mafias being subordinates of High Table - whatever the fuck it is? OK. Cool. But when John ended up on a desert talking to the dude who hit on Wonder Woman I felt like we were in The Matrix universe. I'm fine with the international crime syndicate having exclusive hotels, cleaning crews, doctors and paying for that with some fancy coins (for whatever reason). But I draw a damn line at Keanu cutting his finger off in a tent in the middle of the desert to appease some sort of Elder who wants Al Swerengen dead. Please, let's just go back to shooting.

That said, I can't be too mad about it. In an interview with Graham Norton Keanu said all that happened because he had a vision of John Wick wearing a suit in a desert. And if Keanu wants to be wearing a suit in a desert, then by God, you let Keanu wear a suit in a desert.
However - two movies in, and I still don't have the faintest idea who Laurence Fishburne's character is, why is he homeless and what is the deal with the pigeons.

Just like the other two, Chapter 3 looks and sounds amazing. The entire thing is beautifully shot - with night scenes in NYC filled with neon colors and the Casablanca sequences soaked either in moonlight or sun. Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richards return with amazing soundtrack, this time with touches of what brings western to mind, only fitting considering John uses an old-fashioned revolver in one scene. And I doubt there will be a better track this year than Winter at the Continental.
The reason why the first movie is my favorite is that after that horrific beginning you feel like every kill John delivers is for the dog. It's all so earned. It's also earned here because we like John, so we want him to win, but I didn't experience the levels of sheer joy I experienced as he was avenging that adorable puppy in the first movie (I did experience different kinds of joy when he was riding that horse, but that's for RF, not the review section of the website). Still, if it means I don't have to sit through more soul-crushing scenes like what happens in 15th minute of the first one, I'm absolutely fine with lower stakes.

Somehow, when everyone least expected it, John Wick has evolved  into what is possibly the most satisfying and entertaining trilogy out there. Made for only 20 million the first film was a huge hit with critics and the audiences and received a sequel that yet again thrilled people and critics. And now we got Chapter 3 and there is no end in sight, with Keanu being so lovely that he declared he will continue to make those movies as long as we want him to.

And oh, we want him to.

82/100 (USA, 2019, 131 min)
Plot: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin's guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head - he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins  & Marc Abrams
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane

14 comments:

  1. The lengths this guy went to over a puppy are admirable. lol

    I think I'll watch this once it hits DVD, it looks stunning.

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    1. A shame you won't catch it in cinema, the sound design and cinematography are insane!

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  2. I wished it work this well for me too. I loved Zero/Dacascos, Keanu is great and hot as usual and the action sequences were sick but after a while I got bored of the action 😅

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    1. I hope the next one works better for you! I also hope at some point they put him in a tux :D

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  3. I need to freaking see these movies. My husband loves them. He came home from seeing JW3 and said it should have been called how many times can john get thrown through a window and get back up? (but he said it was complete admiration in his voice).

    I mentioned to him that I could start watching 16 mins into the first to avoid the puppy part and he just gave me this look...he doesn't think I can handle the violence itself. GAH. I don't know what to do.

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    1. Your husband has great taste! Yeah John is tough, especially that those 3 movies happen in 7 days time or something and he is constantly getting shot, stabbed and hurt :D

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  4. I might actually pass out in the cinema when I see Chapter 4, I can't handle it.
    Also I watched that Graham Norton episode last night! I don't know what's better, the fact that Keanu has these John Wick visions or the fact that the Director's like well obviously we need to put this into the movie!
    Now how do we influence Keanu's visions...

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    1. I loved Keanu's reaction to Jaime Bell asking if he had stunt balls 😂

      I dont think we want to influence his visions, it’s already too much. No way he didnt know exactly what he was doing to us when he was taking off that belt 😂

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  5. Nice review! Loved the action of this one, just like the first two, but like you said, the worldbuilding isn't as strong as it could be. But who needs worldbuilding when there's Keanu. lol

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    1. Yeah they really need to work on that, i have no idea what was happening at some moments and that's only partially because my brain wasn't working right during this :D

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  6. This entire trilogy is an insanely fun ride. One action scene after another is just jaw-dropping. The whole desert sequence was weak, I agree, and ground things to a halt, but they had to give him a reason to keep on killing folks so I was cool with it. Great post!

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    1. Also why it was needed - I'm sure he is getting that ring back in Chapter 4 :)

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  7. Like I said in a previous comment, this was my least favorite JW movie, I think the fight scenes were a bit too long for me.

    But I do agree the casting and the actors did a great job, especially the supporting ones: Ian McShane, Jerome Flynn (with a weird accent), Halle Berry and Lance Reddick (I feel like I've seen him in other TV shows or movies, but I can't remember which)

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    1. Lance was in The Wire, Lost and American Horror Story and I'm sure plenty others I'm now forgetting

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