Eppler: "John Wick 3" maintains high quality of action
"John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" solidifies the "Wick" series as one of the best for action.
Over the twenty years or so, has there been a more consistently good action movie series than "John Wick?"
"The Matrix?" (no... because "Revolutions")
"Dark Knight" (sorry, no, because "Rises")
"Bourne?" (not really)
"Fast and Furious?" (uh-uh)
"Mission: Impossible?" (okay, yeah, maybe)
"Die Hard?" (definitely not)
"Rush Hour?" (okay, no, stop)
"Planet of the Apes?" (oooh, yeah those are great)
"Transformers?" (alright, get outta here, that's enough)
The point is, I love these "John Wick" movies because they're all so good at what they're doing - delivering over-the-top stylized action to make your jaw hang open, all with a knowing wink to the audience about how ridiculous it all is.
Keanu Reeves has mastered this deadpan delivery along with his fight skills, and in "John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum," he pushes himself even further on the action front with more of an emphasis on hand-to-hand combat that's really impressive.
Picking up right after the end of "Chapter 2," we follow Wick on the run as an entire underworld of assassins is trying to kill him for a $14 million bounty. He turns to help from an old friend and former assassin, played by Halle Berry.
The story in this one meanders a bit more - literally getting lost in the desert at one point - but it expands on this underworld nicely.
There's some outstanding action - especially one sequence featuring dogs that is a delight. Other fight scenes do go a bit too long especially in the final third, feeling repetitive. But they never fail to impress.
These are essentially bloodthirsty dances, and the movie even makes that comparison explicitly. I definitely prefer "Chapter 2" to this new one, but Reeves and company appear to be promising more, and I'm already there for it.
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * 1/2
* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful - The worst, an insult to movies