September 9, 2019  (Web Review)

John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum

Lionsgate, 130 min., R, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo; $39.99, Sept. 10

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

More mayhem and murder are on the docket for John Wick in this third franchise installment. In the original film, Wick was mourning the death of his wife (Bridget Moynahan) when his beagle puppy was murdered and revenge became the name of his sociopathic game. Beginning where Chapter 2 ended, Wick is seen racing through midtown Manhattan with less than an hour to prevent his being made “excommunicado” by the High Table, a top-secret international assassin syndicate, because he killed an enemy at the Hotel Continental, which is a supposed safe-space run by imperious Winston (Ian McShane). With a $14 million contract on his head, every killer in New York seems to be after Wick: at the New York Public Library, an antiques store, Grand Central Terminal, and under Brooklyn’s El train. When Wick seeks sanctuary in the Tarkovsky Theatre, The Director (Anjelica Huston), who trains ballerinas/assassins, declares, “Art is pain!” And then it’s off to Casablanca, where taciturn Wick meets up with a formidable femme fatale, Sofia (Halle Barre), and her two snarling Belgian Malinois that decimate his Moroccan pursuers. Also on hand are The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), and street-stall sushi-chef/ninja Zero (Mark Dacasos). Cobbled together by a quartet of screenwriters—who appear to have zero interest in character development, clever dialogue, or plot logic—and directed by martial-arts expert/stunt coordinator Chad Stahelski, this is an escapist super-macho threequel filled with ultra-violent action that will likely appeal to fans. A strong optional purchase. (S. Granger)