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John Wick 3: Parabellum (dir. Stahelski)

Image: Keanu Reeves as John Wick © Photo by Niko Tavernise. Property of Lionsgate [Source: IMDB]

★★★☆☆

The last time we left super-assassin John Wick he had broken a rule on sacred ground. By the rules of the trade, he is marked “Excomunicardo”, disallowed from all the perks of the ‘high table’ and organisations affiliated. Now wanted by every assassin looking to make a major amount of cash by killing Wick. He is on the run, short on time, friends and weapons.

Director: Chad Stahelski. Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Jerome Flynn [15]

John Wick is a franchise sold on its blood pumping action, over the top story and mind-blowing violence. It does deliver this but for a third instalment in the John Wick franchise soaring high still? Not entirely.

Firstly this is the strongest of the John Wick movies, narrowly beating out the first. Mainly down to the fact that this time around it understands its tone far greater. The audience wants the almost tongue in cheek approach to this world with the larger than life characters and organisations. Parabellum brings just that to the table by introducing far more of the world of John Wick but not overly concerning itself with fleshing it out. Stahelski knows this is about the action.

Which is stepped up greatly this time around. We’ve the tales of John killing people with Pencils, so at least here Wick is forced to use all manner of things to dispatch the many faceless assassins coming after him, most notably with a heavy tome. What I find to be lacking for a lot of Parabellum though is truly wince-inducing violence. Don’t misunderstand me the action in John Wick is greatly choreographer and put together but perhaps its the secret psychopath inside me or the fact that I’ve seen better speaking – I just want to see action that is more stunning. I’ve seen Wick do his flips, his chops, his kicks and his kung fu. This time around the opportunity was there to have a super assassin with no guns at his disposal against the world truly show how monstrously capable he is.

The narrative takes some nice location moves and broadens the horizons of John’s story but alas we never get much time spent in these environments or with these fresh characters. Instead, the film seems far too eager to get Wick back to familiar territory which I do believe is a major mistake with this third instalment, the latter half of the films feels very much like retreading old ground. And as much as I want to see what is next for John Wick’s descent into hell. I’m very much worried we will once again just seem the same recycled moves in a new neon-lit set. John Wick needs some new creative put into its story and its action sequences if it really wants to jolt to life.

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