John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum
3.5 out of 5 stars
This third entry into the lucrative action franchise arrives as a bit of a mixed bag. The action is, of course, exemplary (particularly the ‘knife fight’ and the set piece with the dogs) and is the main reason to continue to be interested in this series. I mean, some of these sequences are sure to go down in history as some of the best examples of the art form; they’re THAT exciting and two of its stars are given for the stunt choreography alone. Even Halle Berry kicks believable ass (and she’s a PRIME candidate for a spin-off flick). The film’s roll out is excellent / utilitarian and the viewer finds himself back in the action almost immediately. Once the director thinks you’re hooked / plugged back into the mythos though, he starts to introduce what passes as the film’s plot and everything loses steam. Cinematography is lovely and continues to exhibit this director’s love of unique lighting and glass. Acting is okay, but… man, do some of these folks like to chew scenery. I mean, literally EVERYONE swings for the fences here (particularly Dacascos and Fishburne who are just this side of laughable). And don’t get me started on how the role of The Adjudicator sucks the air out of every room they’re in or how much Ian McShane is wasted. I expected this film’s plot to be fairly simplistic (#1 was super simple… #2 was even more so), but… man, if you let yourself think too much about this, you’ll find that NONE of this makes a lick of sense. What started as a fascinating concept of an assassin’s world and a mysterious, secret society behind it, in this film, all gets reduced to a painfully inept bureaucracy. Gone is any hint of their aforementioned secrecy. Gone is any facade of professionalism. They’re literally throwing armies at this one guy and by-standers / witnesses be damned. So, by the end of the film, the viewer finds himself to be like a glutton at an all-you-can-eat banquet: full and sated long before the end of the meal. And yes… it could be argued that it’s all in good fun and whatever plot there is that is there is purely to service the action… and I get that. But at some point, things like believability get strained and the need for SOME kind of story is necessary. Fun, sorta braindead, but… man, that action is worth the price of admission!!!