Everyone’s favorite unemotional, ass kicker, Keanu Reeves, is back. Let’s face it, Keanu Reeves is like staring at your 4th cousin’s hot ass, a guilty pleasure. And we all know he’s limited in his acting range. But expecting more out of him is like complaining that Greyhound buses are filled with people who think cruise ships or Jimmy Buffet resorts are high end vacations. You know what you’re getting into. And I’m fully on board the USS Johnny Utah. The Matrix. Point Break. And more recently, the John Wick series. I didn’t see the first film until it went on video after many people saw it and said it’s not a dopey B film. It was a new type of action film: continuous shooting with no edits during action scenes. It also introduced us to a new term, gun-fu. Gun-fu is defined as close quarters martial arts fights using guns instead of traditional weapons. These films have also ushered in innovative ways of taking out bad guys, including using a pencil as a weapon. In this latest edition, he uses a large book to take a bad guy in the library. The only thing missing as he bashed his head in with the novel is a pithy sign off line like, “Reading is fundamental, BITCH!” Again, this isn’t the Godfather but it sure as hell entertaining.
The film opens up moments after the 2nd film, where Winston (Ian McShane) has declared him ex-communcado. Wick is racing against the clock before the hour he has been given by Winston is up and that’s when the contract on Wick’s life begins. In the first 5 minutes, there is a spectacular knife fight in Chinatown. And that’s why these films are great; they make no bones about these being high octane films with a surprising, above average plots. Besides the hit men out for John Wick; the High Table has sent out the Adjudicator, (Asia Kate Dillon). She is not happy with those who have provided Wick help, (the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and Winston) when he broke the rules at the end of John Wick 2. Which is So Wick has to deal with assassins and the Adjudicator’s hit squad of sushi chefs who are also a vicious ninja hit squad. Yep, imaginations must have run wild in the writer’s room. But not as wild as Bill DeBlasio thinking he has a shot to win the Democratic presidential nomination. HAHAHAHAHH Sorry, I had to wipe tears of laughter from my eyes.
Wick uses his last ace in his sleeve when he visits Anjelica Huston at her school of ballerinas/assassins to get him out of the country and to Casablanca. That’s where we meet Sofia (Halle Berry) and her 2 killer dogs. BTW, let’s acknowledge that Halle Berry looks AMAZING at 50+ and she shows off her fighting chops quite nicely. This film is just a treasure trove of fantastic action sequences: Wick chased on a bike by katana carrying bikers, Wick being chased while on a horse by attackers, and the final gunfight just to name a few. And let’s not fail to mention Zero (Mark Dascascos), the leader of the aforementioned Adjudicator’s hit squad. His fan boy crush on Wick while giving the fights of his life. He brings a whole new class of “villain” that’s well received. And the final battle between the two is fantastic, especially the way the scene was shot and lit. It really makes one appreciate how filmmaking can continue to ascend; even in a wham-bam ass kicking film that’s more than a guilty pleasure. If you like the first 2 JW films, there’s no doubt you’ll love the 3rd. And yes, he even sneaks in a direct line from the Matrix. This fan-boy had a big ‘ol smile on his face when that happened.
John Wick: Parabellum is an 8/10.