ACTION; 2hr 11min
STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Asia Kate Dillon
It never rains… Reeves
The tagline line for the Wick 3 poster is “Every action has consequences.” And since a parabellum is a type of gun (from the Latin “prepare for war,” hint hint) and the plots of Wicks 1 and 2 are ultraviolence on steroids, it’s a no-brainer what those consequences will be.
Sure enough, Chapter 3 opens where its predecessor left off, with rule-flouting, exoneration-seeking, dog-loving assassin extraordinaire John Wick (Reeves) slapped with a $14 million global bounty and ruled “Excommunicado” by his High Table honchos. On the run in New York City with every hitman in creation on his tail, JW needs the skills of a samurai, the reflexes of a striking snake, the speed and stealth of a wolf in the wild, a hide of pig iron and a perfectly tailored suit. All of which he of course possesses, along with awesome horse- and motorcycle-riding skills.
“The path to paradise begins in hell,” a fruity Angelica Huston assures the surly fugitive from her tenuous position of power, before begrudgingly granting him asylum in Casablanca. Just in time, too, since judgment from on High has landed in NYC in the slimline form of a bone-chilling criminal Adjudicator (Dillon). Needless to say, the Moroccan climate proves no sunnier, with a tsunami of murderous contenders descending on JW and fellow badass Sofia (Berry).
If it sounds relentless, it so is, but as per, the slaughter is a hyper-kinetic trip. Director Chad Stahelski’s supersonic choreography and splashy locations are partly to thank for that; ditto, demon support from returning players Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne and Lance Reddick. But the real deal-closer is the depthless, deadpan cool of Keanu, whose crowded hour this is. Even when subjected to excruciating pain or inflicting it on his innumerable enemies (i.e., in virtually every scene), John Wick owns his moments by casually seeming to shrug them off. It’s a paradox of action and reaction only a Dark Jedi could muster.