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‘John Wick 3: Parabellum’ is just plain fun

May 22, 2019

Stuntman-turned-Director Chad Stahelski returns with his super assassin John Wick in the third installment, this time called “Parabellum.“With the title actually being “John Wick 3: Parabellum” you can tell that he is relying heavily on the fame and fan base of Keanu Reeves in this iconic role.

And well he should.

There is not a lot of substance in the new movie, but nobody cares. Including myself.

This movie is about as close as you can get to the popular description of “it’s just a video game, pretending to be a movie.” And I don’t care; it’s just a lot of fun.

Keanu Reeves (“The Devil’s Advocate,” “The Matrix,” “Speed”) returns as John Wick, master assassin in a world of assassins. Any other actor in this role would just not be right.

The amount of angst that Reeves gives his character is on the level of “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” and the CGI and real-world fighting would almost look hilarious unless the viewer was totally invested in the main character here.

Ninety percent of this movie is “Kung Fu fighting” and the choreography is unbelievable — figuratively and literally. We watch and understand, deep down, that no one could possess the stamina, or sustain the amount of physical punishment that the hero manages. But we don’t care.

Just as Superman made us ”...believe a man can fly,” John Wick makes us believe a man can fight for hours, take brutal hits with nothing more than a thousand nicks to his face. Bullet wounds do not open, small stitches hold back the blood like the Hoover Dam holds back Lake Tahoe.

And, we don’t care.

Although supporting actors are almost unnecessary, this movie has some great ones.

Ian McShane (“Deadwood,” “American Gods,” “Lovejoy”) and Lance Reddick (“The Wire,” “Bosch,” “Fringe”) return, as Winston and Charon, managers at the Continental, a safe haven for all assassins, until Wick changes all of that in the second

installment of this series.

Laurence Fishburne (“The Matrix,” “Boys in the Hood,” “Hoodlum”) also returns in the horrifically underwritten role as the Bowery King, a character whose potential, should he continue to be written into the storyline (yes, you can bet there will be more “John Wick” movies, I’m sure) is vast and hopefully awakened.

The newest insertion is Halle Berry (“Catwoman,” “Monster’s Ball,” “Gothika”) as Sofia, a sexy female counterpart to Wick, something to silence the critics who thought that the first two films were almost all testosterone.

Sofia’s character is exciting, yet so obviously contrived, that it makes it hard for Berry to do her job. Her character tries to tone down the sexual attraction, but this gives her not enough to work with to make her believable.

Another great part is Mark Dacascos (“Drive,” “Iron Chef,” “Hawaii Five-O”) as Zero, who is fun to watch, and made for the part he plays.

Last but not least (always wanted to write that) is Asia Kate Dillon (“Orange is the New Black,” “Billions,” “Hitting the Wall”) as The Adjudicator. It’s a common enough role, but she still manages to make it her own.

“John Wick 3” is nothing more than we expect it to be, a lot of fun personal warfare, uncorrupted by an overly complicated plot.

Popcorn fare. If you don’t mind a little blood in your snack...

Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at summers855@yahoo.com.

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