Here’s what I wrote in 2017 after seeing “John Wick, Chapter Two”:
The “John Wick” movies are not going to test your brain. Don’t walk in expecting anything more than full-on action, with lots of gun-fights, a big body count, and a limited amount of dialogue. In other words, they’re perfect for star Keanu Reeves. John Wick is a hitman with a reputation, part of a vast underground that has its own code, and you’d be a lot better off if you didn’t make him mad.
I went to see the third movie in the series this weekend, and could review it by simply repeating everything I said about the previous editions.
It is exactly what I expected. Keanu Reeves is still perfect as Wick, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick are solid as the Manager and Concierge of The Continental Hotel, as is Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King. There’s a wickedly clever Asian bad guy (Mark Dacascos), which will help sell tickets in China, a must for any movie trying for huge global box office (it’s off to a good start, with over $93 million in the opening weekend).
But the standout performances come the women in the movie: Asia Kate Dillon as The Adjudicator, who keeps people in line but remains calm at all times; Anjelica Huston as The Director, who runs a ballet school and a brutal underworld force; and Halle Berry as Sofia, a former colleague who owes Wick a favor, knows how to handle a gun, and has a couple of vicious dogs that like to attack male enemies in the crotch. Every time any of the three actresses is on screen, the quality of the movie steps up a notch.
Sure, I laughed seeing Reeves walking through the Sahara desert in his black suit and tie. I shook my head in disbelief at a long fight scene set in a room with glass stairs, floors, and display cases that you know someone is going to be knocked through, probably repeatedly. I smirked every time a character got kicked between the legs but, instead of writhing on the floor in pain like 99.9999% of men would, continued to fight.
None of that matters. Reeves and director Chad Stahelski — a former martial arts expert and stunt man who has made all three Wick features — know how to make an ultra-violent but ultimately crowd-pleasing movie that doesn’t tax your brain for even half a second. If that’s what you want, “John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum” delivers as well as its predecessors.
I give it a 7 out of 10.