by Ian Morton
We’ve seen what it’s like when you kill John Wick’s dog, we’ve seen what it’s like to blow up John Wick’s house…now it’s time to see what John Wick does with a price on his head!
Kicking off mere minutes from the second installment in the manically murderous franchise, John finds himself trying to patch up and recover after his hostile confrontation with High Table leader, Santino D’Antonio. Finding himself now excommunicado from the assassin game, and with only a meer hour before a contract on his head goes live, John is left with only a short amount of time and few options to consider.
The hardest thing for Mr Wick after the events of the first and second movies wasn’t the impending uphill battle against an army of assassins, but rather the difficulty of keeping fresh in a genre full of one hit wonders and sub-par sequels.
Now on his third adventure, Wicks certainly does still manage to find amusing and more brutal ways to usher his victims to the afterlife, even if we do find ourselves now having to have a little sit down and a cup of tea between set pieces.
That’s not to say the film is slow, far from it, John Wick 3 is just as exciting as the most violent bar room brawl you could imagine. Opening as quickly as the opening credits fade, Director Chad Stahelski and Cinematographer Dan Laustsen, showcase the first of many brilliantly crafted set pieces in the same romantic neon style the franchise has become known for. You always know you’re looking at New York, you just never know what side you’re looking at.
Stepping away somewhat from his patented ‘Gun-Fu’, the action finds itself taking a similar approach as Gareth Evans and The Raid duology by harnessing more hand-to-hand combat and blending fighting styles with equally jaw dropping results. Not only does this showcase the talents of both director and actors (Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry’s training videos are insane) but also the many opponents being kicked, punched, stabbed and generally pummeled as train Wick passes through the station.
As with many action sequels however, cracks are starting to appear as the expectation to up the ante takes toll. As excommunicado is ramped up to deconsecration and death with a pencil is replaced with one with a book, there are a few moments when you just end up questioning where the filmmakers will need to go next to top their previous efforts. Although it would be fun to see John Wick ending someone with a goldfish on the international space station, there’s no denying it’ll probably look more like an episode of power rangers than slick cinematic masterpiece.
Whilst this overwhelming drive to impress does unfortunately bleed into the plot somewhat, its relatively minor when you realize just how good the action is. When all is said and done, John Wick is still John Wick, the story still continues in much the same way as before and ultimately, it’s still just as much fun to watch 100 ways to retire someone – my only hope being it doesn’t morph into the CGI laden mess that is The Fast and the Furious franchise.
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