THE WICK AND THE DEAD...

JOHN WICK – CHAP­TER 3: PARA­BEL­LUM (15)

Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

★★★

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)

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