Movie Review- John Wick:Chapter 3 — Parabellum
The events of John Wick: Chapter 2 ended with the titular assassin/hero being excommunicated and a $14m bounty placed on him. His offence: desecrating the holy ground that was the Continental hotel in New York.
The events of Chapter 3 open pretty much where Chapter 2 ended. New York’s luminous defiance of night time is pelted by rain as John Wick and his canine companion make their way through Time Square en route to New York’s public library.
And that is all you really need to know about the movie’s storyline. The John Wick movies have always been less about the storyline and more about the elevation of choreographed cinematic carnage to art form.
The storyline, to all intents and purposes, is really no more than a shallow excuse to put on a carnival of chaos performed by suited assassins.
The opening salvo is served up rather awkwardly at first at the library where a book is put to more than its traditional use in re-calibrating the audiences’ expectations of carnage in this installment.
Chapter 3’s overall production ambience is well-suited to its offering of contrived and choreographed chaos. Hero assassins and anti-hero assassins dressed mostly in fitted black suits blend seamlessly into the night fight scenes with contrasting illumination provided by white shirts and the silvery flashes of knives and swords.
The many fight scenes provide vistas of surrealism and display contrived creativity in the art of killing.
The sight of a suited-up John Wick on a horse bounding down the streets of New York while bounty hunter assassins on motor bikes are fast in pursuit evokes a memorable metaphor of man, animal and machine.
The fight scene in Morocco served up a deliciously creative tag-team of bullets and dogs in decimating turbaned bad guys who came in seemingly endless supply.
The casting was as incongruous as the movie’s notion of social contracts and moral codes created by relationships of commerce existing side by side with the real world seemingly undetected by non-initiates of this alternate social order.
Casting Anjelica Huston as the Director (a ballet instructor denizen of this alternate social order) made as much sense as body amours on Sofia’s dogs or even Halle Berry as Sofia.
Whilst you are still trying to grasp the philosophy behind these castings, you are faced with the unlikely pair of Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn as Berrada and Billions’ Asia Kate Dillon as the Adjudicator.
Overall performance credit goes to Keanu Reeves as the titular John Wick. Throughout his cinematic body of work (and more so in the John Wick trilogy), Keanu Reeves has always imbued his characters with the mien of an Indie-Rockstar Zen meister stuck in the cyclical conundrum of disturbia. In Chapter 3, he worked this shtick to the max.
Weird casting and incongruous storyline aside, Chapter 3 was a sumptuous symphony of stunts and sword fights. It was a veritable festival of fist fights and firepower that deliciously delivered encore after encore in an almost unending ballet of bullets and opera of choreographed chaos which all worked for the most part.
However, the several fight scenes and stunts, whilst impressive, came across as too overly contrived and lacked the creative spontaneity you would typically find in Jackie Chan movies (arguably cinema’s most ingenious creator of choreographed chaos). 7.5/10