Is there any greater movie joy for an action flm fan than watching a series deliver EXACTLY what you want time after time?
JOHN WICK 3: PARABELLUM is a non-stop, hilariously over-the-top orgy of violence that hearkens back to the early 70's kung fu movie craze.
The story is secondary, if you are here for storytelling you have entered the wrong theatre.
John Wick (Keanu Reeves in the role he was born to play, all movement, little dialogue) is on the run, with 20 minutes to go before he's marked for open assassination by every hit man on the globe.
Parabellum translates to "If you want Peace, prepare for War". The battle starts quickly.
With an escalating $14M bounty on his head, Wick faces attack from every corner. For a blisteringly fast 2 hours and 10 minutes, he manages to battle on foot, on horseback, on motorcycle...you name it and the filmmakers have staged it in adrenaline pumping style.
Ian McShane (Deadwood) is back in fine form as the manager of the hitman friendly oasis The Continental, as is Lance Reddick (Fringe) as the front desk manager Charon, whose plunged deep into the action this time.
Halle Berry proves herself to be ageless and in incredible form as Sofia, bound to Wick in loyalty and accompanied by the two most lethal dogs since Cujo. Berry broke three ribs during filming. I don't have to ask how...
Anjelica Huston is a menacing Director and Laurence Fishburne reunites with his "Matrix" co-star as the eccentric King of the Bowery.
I literally lost count of how many assassins attempt to take out Mr. Wick after the first 50. He is one resourceful dude.
The stunt coordinators, Reeves, Berry and the cast trained for over six months choreographing these fights and they are SPECTACULAR.
Mark Dacascos stands above the bad guys as Zero, and some of his lines with Wick are laugh out loud funny as they battle to the death.
The violence is incredibly graphic, but Tarantino-like in its intentional crossover into the absurd, so that you find yourself laughing instead of screaming.
Still, for the squeamish, there are some knives plunging into skulls and one particular eyeball that will test your urge to avert your own eyes.
The budget for each film has gone up and it's admirably on screen here, with some nice globe hopping and spectacular sets to compliment the mayhem. The glass set for the finale alone cost $4 million to build and then gloriously smash one piece at a time.
With $151M and counting at the box office, there will clearly be a John Wick 4, set up rather cleverly in the last 5 minutes of this chapter.
Just as I said after Chapter 2, Sign me up!
We all laughed out loud and enjoyed PARABELLUM as much as any action movie in recent years.
Welcome Back Mr. Wick. Now please heal quickly for Chapter 4!
This incredibly enjoyable, albeit slightly long third entree in the series gets an A.