Review by J.T. Johnson
I love the John Wick films. They’re pure in their intent to provide well choreographed action sequences and bring bloody mayhem to anyone who would get in John’s way. What is unexpected from a film such as this is a far deeper story and a unique world. Like the first two films, creator and writer Derek Kolstad (this time with Shay Hatten, Chris Collins and Marc Abrams) brings us more of the world that John inhabits as Keanu Reeves returns to one of his signature roles.
The film picks up immediately after the events of “John Wick: Chapter 2”. In the last film, John had conducted business on Continental grounds and was declared excommunicado by the Continental’s manager, Winston (Ian McShane), but Winston gave him one hour to get his affairs in order. The movie starts with John trying to find sanctuary before his hour of safe passage is up.
Eventually, he tries to find his way to some old allies and we discover more about John’s past and how he became the terror of this underground civilization of assassins and criminals. His goal is to find a high ranking member of the High Table in order to see if there’s anything he can do so that he may live. Of course, things are complicated when every assassin in the world wants the $14 million contract on John’s head.
The name of the game, above all else, is action and this film has plenty of it. Like the first two films, John and fellow assassins square off in some of the best fights ever choreographed. Throughout the film, John uses anything he can get his hands on plus his bare hands to take out those who come for him.
My favorite action sequence actually comes pretty early on in the film. John and those who are after him appear to be in a museum exhibit showing various weapons. They end up in a room filled with knives and one of the best and most violent knife fights kicks off. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say that it’s awesome and worth the price of admission alone.
Reeves was born to play this role and his commitment to the character has not waned with this third outing. He not only turns in a great performance as the tortured assassin, he does a lot of his own stunts and fights. That’s not too surprising considering his previous roles not just in the John Wick films but also in other action films such as “Speed” and “The Matrix”.
Thankfully, Reeves is also joined by some great supporting actors. It’s always good to see McShane back as Winston along with Lance Reddick as Charon, Winston’s ever faithful concierge. We also get the return of Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King and while his kingdom may not necessarily answer to the rules of the High Table, their actions still affect him and his criminal empire.
A great new addition to the cast was Mark Dacascos as Zero, one of the main assassins sent after John. He not only proves to be a formidable foe, he also has some unexpected yet humorous moments with John. He is sent after John by the Adjudicator, a sort of judge for the High Table played by Asia Kate Dillon, another welcomed addition to the series.
Finally, there is Halle Berry as Sofia, an assassin who helps John during part of the film. Berry trained just as hard as Reeves and also turns in a crazy performance where she also has to shoot and fight her way through a bunch of bad guys. Also like John, she has dogs but she’s trained them to be lethal weapons and they get a lot of their own action as well.
As I said before, the movie also has another thing going for it and that’s the surreal world that John operates in. It just adds more flavor and style to a film that builds on the success of old school action films that came before it. Ultimately, I’m glad to say that this is yet another worthy chapter in the John Wick franchise and it despite all the action found within, it still leaves you wanting more by the end of it.
This is pure blockbuster entertainment at its best and if you’re a fan of action, then this is one movie that I can’t recommend enough. Go see it!