No One Prepares For War Like John Wick

“John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum” is the latest action film in the… well….John Wick series of films.  Seriously, I have to work on my eloquence.  Anyway, Keanu Reeves returns to the role of the master assassin who just wanted to retire until his wife dies, and his dog gets killed by Russian hitmen.  Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane return as Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston join the mayhem.

Parabellum is apparently Latin for “prepare for war” or something along those lines. John Wick certainly is capable of doing that.

The choreography of the fight sequences is quite creative, at least in my amateur opinion. The fights and stunts are ridiculously implausible, but they are creatively ridiculous.  Kudos to director Chad Stahelski for finding the right pros to do that. Unfortunately, some of the dialogue written by the four writers can sometimes fall on shaky ground.  Yeah, it took four writers to do this.  Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams all had to put their heads together.

This is one of those films with a secret society of assassins with complex rules and honor codes.  Something called the High Table lurks in the shadows and has loads of expert killers at their beck and call.  I kind of like the name of this group even if I don’t understand the origin of it.

This is also just a bloodbath with plenty of mutilations, dismemberments, and droll humor for anyone without any sense of queasiness or delicacy.

Berry plays some assassin who is accompanied by gorgeous dogs who are quite agile and vicious in a firefight.  She becomes a reluctant ally of Wick, who has been excommunicated by the High Table due to killing some guy in a consecrated hotel in the last film.  Berry looks great and does fine with the material she was given.  This film is mostly about stunts and visual effects and not so much on character development.  She also got to show off her own physical prowess with staged fighting.  Actually, she seems to have trained quite well for her participation in this project.

One of the problems with this is that Wick just isn’t all that compelling as a character.  Reeves’ portrayal comes off as a bit flat, which may be more of a result of the writing than limited acting ability, although I never considered Reeves to be any master thespian.  He’s not terrible for the most part, but I think Wick could have been given some more engaging characteristics.

Anyway, the film is what it is.  It’s mindless entertainment with a lot of plot holes and absurd coincidences and impossibilities.  It’s just good enough to keep me interested in seeing what could happen in the next chapter.  It does end in a way where another installment is possible, if not improbable.

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