Let’s watch some action.

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I have been critical of the previous entries in the John Wick because they lacked cohesion, logic, and I wasn’t crazy about the story. Oddly, the third film still has a lot of these issues, but I liked it more.

Wick has been thrown out of his assassin’s club because he shot someone in the safe zone. Now, a worldwide bounty has been put on his head and he must run for survival. The premise is simple, and promises more insane action sequences, but this is one of the problems of the movie. The convoluted rules of the assassin world are just kind of dumb. I imagine some folks like the idea of the secret society and all the honor codes, but why they even exist isn’t entirely clear.

Assassins seem to be everywhere in this series. I get that action films basically need armies of lesser enemies for the hero to chew through, but this series pushes it quite a bit. We have numerous baddies looking for (and finding) Wick everywhere he goes. No matter how much this film tries to be something different it is still just a stupid action video game.

The video game analogy works better than you might think. The enemy types literally advance (in skill and weaponry) as the story goes. We have our obligatory boss fight (that goes on too long) and the whole thing has a feel of progression similar to an action game.

The fight scenes are still interesting and nicely choreographed. While I have argued that films like The Man From Nowhere and The Raid do it better for the first two entries, the third Wick seems to be closer to them in a lot of ways. The best addition this time around is that we give Wick some backup in extended action sequences. The one with his frenemy Sofia (Halle Berry) is perhaps the best, but as with all the stars in this series her bit is more like an extended cameo than an integral part. I am certain she will appear in the next entry.

A stupid decision on the part of the producers and marketers is that they revealed John Wick 4 is indeed coming. Announcing a sequel when the current film isn’t even out of theaters seems like a silly decision. I think we all knew there is no danger to Wick in these films, but there was at least a chance that things would be resolved. Knowing a sequel is coming means this really is just a chapter in an extended series.

Despite the flaws, the film is enjoyable. Wick has become more like a superhero as he can take on throngs of villains and come out still kicking. I can’t imagine a lot of folks don’t know what they are getting into with this series at this point. If the convoluted flaws and dumb logic bothered you before they will here. If the action made it all worth it, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

The movie is a fine action film, but that is literally it. I can’t believe how many people want to argue this is somehow a real cinematic achievement (when it is still not as good as the films that inspired it). Certainly not movie of the year, but enjoyable enough.

4 thoughts on “John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum (2019) Film Review

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