Super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14m price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin's guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world's most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
Review by Louise Keller: Visually striking with choreographed action that is as deadly as it is dazzling, John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum is inventive, creative and hits every mark within its sublime production design. Stuntman Chad Stahelski and former martial arts instructor (who worked with Keanu Reeves on The Matrix in 1999) returns to the helm to direct Keanu in a hyper-violent choreographed ballet that is more high-art than high-destruction. Unique in its concept and executed to perfection, this third film in the franchise is eye-boggling and mind-blowing, as it leaps from one stunning action set piece to the next, with extremes that are rare. Similarly, the settings are as diverse as they are arresting.
Cobblestone alleys, the Moroccan desert, New York skyscrapers and the theatre of ballet, horses and dogs replace the Roman catacombs, neon nightclubs and hall of mirrors from the second film. Highlights include the Casablanca sequence involving Halle Barry and her two highly trained dogs; the knife-throwing routine in the dark alley where the stakes get higher as the blades get bigger; an underwater shootout and a protracted climactic sequence set in a glass-walled skyscraper when mind games are part of the armory. Watch for the stunts involving horses and a motor cycle shootout that will have you gasping for air.
Keanu is at the top of his game - John Wick is an enigmatic character propelled into action following the death of his puppy in the first film. There is creativity in survival methodology (aka killing). Watching him 'do what he does best' using his belt, a library book and magnificently trained horses. All with a soulful look.
It's all about rules and consequences, markers, safe passage and earning a life. Now declared 'excommunicado', Wick is on the run, weighted by the $14 million bounty on his head and without the safe haven and privileges of the High Table's famed Continental Hotel base. There is great support from Ian McShane as Winston (every facial crease exaggerated), Laurence Fishburne as the bird-loving Bowery, Anjelica Huston as the intense ballet director, Halle Berry (in fine action form), Asia Kate Dillon as the ruthless Adjudicator and Mark Dacascos as Zero, the cat-loving sushi-chef whose bone structure and expression is as effective as his martial arts skills. Watching the choreography of the martial arts alone is a treat.
The violence is graphic with a surreal edge; the scenes that affected me most were those that allowed enough time before the devastation occurs to anticipate what is about to occur. The action sequences could be trimmed and the running time reduced a little, but overall this ambitious actioner is part of a franchise that is one of its kind and executed with aplomb and accomplishment. Not for the squeamish, this is high-art at its enthralling best.