John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (Subtitled) (15)



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Action (2019)
131mins US

Starring: Jerome Flynn, Ian McShane, Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos
Director: Chad Stahelski
Writer(s): Derek Kolstad, Marc Abrams, Chris Collins, Shay Hatten
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Hit man John Wick has been excommunicated from the Continental Hotel in New York - a membership-only haven for the criminal underworld - by its owner Winston. John goes on the run after the guild of assassins takes out a 14 million US dollar contract on his life. Hit men and women from around the world including marksman Zero descend on the city to take John's life. The hit man cannot trust anyone, perhaps not even his good friend Sofia or underground kingpin the Bowery King.

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LondonNet Film Review
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (15)

Blame it on the beagle. In 2014, Keanu Reeves revitalised his post-Matrix career with John Wick, a blood-soaked action thriller about a grief-stricken hit man, who exacts eye-watering revenge for the butchery of his beloved hound Daisy. Chad Stahelski's relentlessly brutal film was a giddy delight and three years later, a testosterone-pumped sequel continued the breathless hand-to-hand combat and running gun battles. Stahelski returns to the blood-smeared director's chair for a third instalment, which dovetails neatly with the conclusion of John Wick: Chapter 2 and orchestrates a hyperkinetic battle royale on the rain-lashed streets of New York City...

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Copyright: Lionsgate Films. Caption: Keanu Reeves as John Wick and Halle Berry as Sofia in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, directed by Chad Stahelski. Photo: Mark Rogers. All Rights Reserved.The script, credited to four writers, adds several layers of intrigue but strips back characterisation to the splintered bone in order to focus on impeccably choreographed fight sequences, which reach a whoop-inducing crescendo with a showdown in an armoury museum. Reeves and acrobatic extras deliver punishing blows to each other's faces and torsos while furiously smashing display cases, grabbing guns, knives, axes and other implements to fling through the air with dizzying precision. Fans of earlier instalments won't be disappointed when it comes to high-octane destruction as Stahelski's camera pirouettes around his leading man on horseback and a motorcycle, flanked in one exhausting exchange by two snarling attack dogs.

John (Reeves) has been excommunicated from the Continental Hotel in New York - a membership-only haven for the criminal underworld - by dapper owner Winston (Ian McShane) after he broke the rules and terminated crime lord Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) on the premises. The High Table, the guild of assassins which imposes a strict moral code on the spilling of blood, authorises a 14 million US dollar contract on John's life. Carnage begins on the stroke of 6pm and John calls in a long-standing marker with a crime syndicate boss (Anjelica Huston) to secure safe passage to Morocco where he hopes to reunite with fellow assassin Sofia (Halle Berry), who now manages the Continental Hotel in Casablanca.

Meanwhile, The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), a menacing emissary of the High Table, visits Winston and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), who presides over the homeless in New York, to issue stern punishments for abetting John. Both must resign their posts within seven days or expert swordsman Zero (Mark Dacascos) will meet their resistance with his blade.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum is an adrenaline-pumping hoot that raises the franchise's already high bar on balletic slaughter. Reeves rises to the physical demands of the role and Berry, Dillon and Huston inject long-overdue doses of steely femininity. The 131-minute running time is excessive and there are worrying signs that John Wick might be aiming for the same ponderous narrative complexity as The Matrix but for now, Stahelski's slam-bang thrill ride is a deeply satisfying rush of blood to the bludgeoned head.

- Jo Planter

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Copyright: Lionsgate Films. Caption: Keanu Reeves as John Wick and Halle Berry as Sofia in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, directed by Chad Stahelski. Photo: Mark Rogers. All Rights Reserved.


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