THE WICK AND THE DEAD...
JOHN WICK – CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM (15)
BLAME it on the beagle. In 2014, Keanu Reeves revitalised his post-Matrix career with John Wick, a blood-soaked action thriller about a grief-stricken hit man, who exacts eye-watering revenge for the butchery of his beloved hound Daisy.
Chad Stahelski’s relentlessly brutal film was a giddy delight and three years later, a testosterone-pumped sequel continued the breathless hand-tohand combat and running gun battles.
Stahelski returns for a third instalment, which dovetails neatly with the conclusion of John Wick: Chapter 2 and orchestrates a hyperkinetic battle royale in New York City.
The script adds several layers of intrigue but strips back characterisation to the splintered bone in order to focus on impeccably choreographed fight sequences, which reach a whoop-inducing crescendo with a showdown in an armoury museum.
Reeves and acrobatic extras deliver punishing blows to each other’s faces and torsos while furiously smashing display cases, grabbing guns, knives, axes and other implements to fling through the air with dizzying precision.
Fans of earlier instalments won’t be disappointed when it comes to high-octane destruction as Stahelski’s camera pirouettes around his leading man on horseback and a motorcycle, flanked in one exhausting exchange by two snarling attack dogs.
John (Reeves) has been excommunicated from the Continental Hotel in New York – a membership-only haven for the criminal underworld – by owner
Winston (Ian McShane) after he broke the rules and terminated crime lord Santino D’Antonio on the premises. The High Table, the guild of assassins which imposes a moral code on the spilling of blood, authorises a $14m contract on John’s life.
Carnage begins and John calls in a marker with a crime syndicate boss (Anjelica Huston) to secure safe passage to Morocco where he hopes to reunite with fellow assassin Sofia (Halle Berry). Meanwhile, The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), visits Winston and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), who presides over the homeless in New York, to issue stern punishments for abetting John.
Both must resign their posts within seven days or expert swordsman Zero (Mark Dacascos) will meet their resistance with his blade.
Reeves rises to the physical demands and Berry, Dillon and Huston inject long-overdue doses of steely femininity. The 131 minutes is excessive but the slam-bang thrill ride is a deeply satisfying rush of blood to the bludgeoned head.
Why does it always rain on me? Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Woof justice: John and Sofia (Halle Berry)
Huston, we have a problem: John and Director (played by Anjelica Huston)