Directed by Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Asia Kate Dillion, Mark Dacascos, Laurence Fishburne
Runtime: 130 minutes
John Wick’s story is simple. It’s about revenge, and then about survival. First, and foremost, being the 3rd film in a franchise I don’t want my readers to worry that you need to see the previous 2 films for this one to make sense. That is not the case here at all. There is a nice recap about the other entries, as well as comments made to fill you in if you are new to the series. I’ve always felt that any film whether it’s an origins tale or the 8th entry in a series should be able to stand on its own. (Mission: Impossible films have also excelled at this.) I will refrain from many spoilers as the first John Wick came out in 2014 so they’re relatively new. Fun fact – the director was Keanu Reeves stunt double in The Matrix films. Cool little tidbit
Onto the film.
We open in New York, in Time Square. Wick (Reeves) is on the run. We see films where it seems like our hero is fighting everyone. John Wick literally is. Anywhere he goes, he is noticed, and every corner seems like a spot for him to be taken out. We even get a moment where a homeless man tells Wick he’s running out of time, “Tick-Tock Mr. Wick, Tick-Tock”
Immediately the action takes off on all cylinders and doesn’t let off. Our first big fight is in a library and I will never look at a book the same way again. The fight reminded me of countless fights with Indiana Jones and an enemy 2 times his size. (Think the fight at the end of Temple of Doom) We there are introduced to Winston (McShane) He’s the manager of the Continental (A hotel/hideout for assassins) There are 2 rules in this underworld. 1 – You can’t break your marker (a blood oath to do any task given between members) and 2 – No business can be conducted on hotel grounds. (No killing in the Continental) John Wick has broken one of these rules and hence why the hunt is on.
We are introduced to the “big bads” of the film Zero (Dacascos) he is sent by the Adjudicator (Dillion) to tie up loose ends. Both actors play off each other to equal a huge foe for Wick and his allies. Or what’s left of them. Zero is obviously the muscle but the Adjudicator is equally as menacing with political tactics and threats made. Zero also is one of the funniest villains I can remember. Almost comes off talking to the audience and breaking the 4th wall commenting on how great his fights are.
The action in this film in incredible. I cannot stress this enough. Zero sends his army (think modern-day samurai) for Wick. There is a knife fight that is one of the best choreographed and intense scenes I’ve seen in years. My jaw was on the floor and all I could say was “WOW!!!” These feelings went throughout the entire film. Have you ever witnessed a hero using a HORSE as a weapon? It happens!
Another aspect of the film that deserves praise are the visuals and locations used. We start in New York but end up in Morocco. Casablanca to be exact. It’s evident that the movie takes us there. (No green screens) Here we met Sofia (Berry) and I was worried she would turn into a stereotypical love interest that needs saved. I was wrong. Halle Berry kills it. It was nice to see someone that matched up to John Wick in every way, if not surpass him. Also, she has 2 Belgian Malinois dogs. (Same dogs used to guard the White House) They are incredible as well and add a nice element to her character, as well as extended the arsenal she has at her disposal.
This movie checks off EVERYTHING you could want in an action film. Car Chases? Check. Motorcycle Chases? Check. Gun Fights, Fist Fights, Humor, Locations, Great Music, Check to them all. I stated after Avengers: Endgame I had just watched the best movie of the year. That movie has been dethroned and ironically John Wick 3 dethroned Endgame from the top of the box office last weekend as well. I’ve been a fan of Keanu Reeves as long as I can remember, The Matrix films changed how cinema was done and I believe the John Wick saga is changing it again. I feel bad for next week’s review. BIG shoes to fill! Go see this film., and as always see it local. Portsmouth Cinema is always so kind to me. 5 stars out of 5. #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158.