If we’ve learnt anything from life, social media and the previous two John Wick films, then this should come as no surprise: never get between a man and his dog.
For the past five years, film-goers have been treated to an in depth look at what transpires should harm come to man’s best friend; and the ramifications are not pretty.
This year, John Wick, the legendary assassin once known as ‘Baba Yaga’ (or the boogeyman), returns to our screens to remind us just how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs that have been done to him.
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (“John Wick 3”) kicks off where John Wick Chapter 2 left off, with John (Keanu Reeves) running for his life upon going against one of the most fundamental rules of being an assassin. Having become somewhat familiar with John Wick’s world, the lack of an introduction and build up isn’t necessary and diving straight into the action is very much welcomed.
The entire film follows in this refreshing style, with non stop action sequences filling every moment, with a clever narrative built in. There’s little need for fillers and added fluff as the film treats audiences as fans who are well aware of John’s background.
Yet, despite the knowledge we already have on the character and the assassin lifestyle he comes from, John Wick 3 manages to cleverly expand on the mysterious world of assassins and the secret organisation, of which, John was once an active member of. The added narrative into how ‘The High Table’ operates and the way in which they enforce their rules and regulations is intriguing and certainly adds allure to the John Wick trilogy.
Not only that, but the film further develops our understanding of John’s former status as Baba Yaga and illustrates the fact that his reputation precedes him, even with the hefty bounty on his head. Throughout the John Wick films, it’s been rather interesting to see the honour between assassins, and John Wick 3 further showcases the respect given to John by those who are sent to eliminate him.
Naturally, given the open contract on his life, John makes use of favours owed to him, which introduces us to the character of Sofia (Halle Berry). The inclusion of a strong, female character who is able to hold her own, without requiring any help whilst ‘beating the crap’ out of her enemies, evens-out the testosterone heavy film and illustrates the fact that being a highly trained killer isn’t just a man’s job. In addition, Sofia’s part in the film further acts as evidence of what happens when you harm an assassin’s precious canine friend.
As with the previous two films, the pacing in John Wick 3 keeps audiences engaged and deeply engrossed, particularly with such captivating gun-fu style fight scenes that made the first two films so popular (among other things). These fight scenes were so well choreographed that they felt almost like a dance sequence, especially when combined with classical music in the background. Though filled with plenty of action, violence and gore throughout, it was difficult not to look away (though I did because some scenes were REALLY gory) as some of the action sequences were entrancing, and some, surprisingly, humourous as well. John Wick 3 certainly upped the ante in terms of outrageous violence and once again reminds us not to mess with the legendary Baba Yaga. After all, he’s a man who manages to subdue his enemies with stationery.
Speaking of fight scenes, martial arts and swordplay was a crucial highlight of the film, with the group tasked to eliminate John being comprised of highly skilled martial artists. Watching the way the lead ‘baddie’, Zero (Mark Dacascos), fluidly sliced and diced his way through New York City, and the final battle between him and John, made for an entertaining watch. It was also really great to see Indonesian martial artists take on John as well (coming from Malaysia, I instantly recognised the language as they spoke of John’s reputation before fighting him head on).
Visually, John Wick 3 takes audiences on a psychedelic and colourful visual journey, from the bright lights of New York City and the dim back-rooms of John’s various connections, to the eclectic colours of Casablanca and vast ‘redness’ of the desert. The visual appeal adds to the charm of the film, giving off a sense of other-worldliness, particularly when viewing the incredible interior decor of The Continental hotel.
Like the previous two films, loyalties are tested in John Wick 3, which allows us a better understanding of John’s character. Through highly effective action sequences and a narrative which doesn’t ‘hold our hands’ so to speak, audiences are treated to a fantastic continuation of John Wick’s story, which we learn, hasn’t quite concluded.
John Wick 3 is every bit as fascinating, exciting, thrilling and intriguing as the previous films, delving deeper into the world of assassins while giving thrill seekers enough on screen violence to keep them on the edge of their seats. For those who are fans of the previous two films, this is certainly a must watch.