Saturday, May 25, 2019

Movie Review: John Wick III - Parabellum

Best described elsewhere as a training film, I'll get right to it.

Imagine if William Shatner beamed down to the planet of zombies with just a sharp stick, with the entire non-name cast as the crew of the Enterprise, all beaming down to the planet with him as redshirts.
That's pretty much the pitch room plot for this one.

I enjoyed the original John Wick.
I tagged along for JW II, even though it was as big a set-up for the inevitable sequel as was The Empire Strikes Back.
But seeing this one was almost a chore.
Thankfully I paid matinee price earlier this week, not full boat in prime time when it opened last week.

To its credit (and rather more because this has been one of the most god-awful box office years for Hollywood in some time, when last I checked), a mid-week midday matinee was still half full. Which says more about how atrociously craptastic the "competition" was the week before Memorial Day.
Unfortunately, the main reaction was groans and laughter at the panoply of ways the writers found for Mr. Wick to exterminate all comers with extreme prejudice, from beginning to end.

As best as I could tell (I didn't bring a clicker, but should have) his final body count was 103, by actual count. Somewhere around #10 they jumped the shark, but Keanu Reeves rode that bitch right up to the end of the movie, hanging on to the dorsal fin right until the finish.
But not content there, they decided to go for a grand slam as well: they set up the inevitable John Wick IV: Moar, Harder, Faster! in the last scene.
Maybe he'll up the body count to north of 150.

Saddest part about III was that the snotty b*tch most deserving of a sticky Wickian ending out of this ride walks away scot-free at the end, an oversight they desperately need to correct in the next training film.

And as always, Ian McShane is worth watching in any film, even if he's just reading a toothpaste tube.

The best news about him is that someone finally pulled their heads out, and Hollywood is apparently releasing a Deadwood movie shortly, to make up for the early and abbreviated Season III cancellation of the most profane Western morality play ever to grace cable TV.

Al Swearengen is one villain/hero c**ksucker who's needed to make it to the big screen for years. They'd better do him justice.

By all accounts, Reeves is a good guy IRL, and put in the hours of prep to learn how to handle firearms for real with live rounds well enough to make this look effortless. And rides and designs his own motorcycles, thus probably did a lot of his own bike riding for the flick as well. For a two-fer, AFAIK, he hasn't pulled the usual Hollywood two-face, and mock decried the guns that have given his career an endless boost since the first Matrix flick.

But the last movie that transitioned a character from presence to farce like this was Schwarzennegger in Commando, (to which I did bring a clicker).

Having seen the first two in the series here, I wasn't expecting Shakespeare, but this was like eating a five gallon bucket of unbuttered popcorn, just because it was there.
If the screenwriters for the next go-around take more inspiration from Aaron Sorkin and less from Sam Peckinpah, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Just saying.

Unless you thought Dexter and The Walking Dead were comedies, skip this one until it's in the fin bin at WallyWorld. Forget about TV or cable: they'd have to cut so much out of it to broadcast, it'd be 30 minutes shorter. Maybe even 120 minutes shorter, IDK.

OTOH, if someone ever commits the supreme sacrilege of remaking The Great Escape, Reeves will have the mileage and chops to almost pull off a creditable turn if they cast him in Steve McQueen's role. Not asking for that, mind you, but if they did, they could do worse. And have.

My Rating: Once more into the breach.
But with the proviso that nobody shoots this many people in real life for the same reason nobody shoots up bricks of .22 by themselves on a Range Day: you just get sick and tired of all the reloading.


ASM826 said...

And nobody takes multiple kicks to the chest over and over and keeps fighting. Or walks away from a fall like that one at the end, either. Shark jumped.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and the guy at the very top, the one OVER the High Table, is . . .

(wait for it)

a Bedouin.

Right. The Supergenius Top Criminal of the World comes from a region with a mean IQ of 75 because of generations of inbreeding.

Even accepting the John Wick series veering into fantasy Kung Fu territory, that was just a bridge too far.

Anonymous said...

Really all of Keanu's movies are just the matrix with different backgrounds. Either you like his modern take 70's marshal arts movies or you don't. Although there was a lot of dogs biting dicks in this one. Watching the movie I thought that had to hurt the stuntman.

Beans said...


It, as Aesop noted, still far better than most of the dreck out there.

If you want a movie where really bad people die, and you don't have a collection of old Clint Eastwood spagetti westerns, this whole series will do.

Music is good. Guns are realistic. Blood is gratuitous. And Keanu plays someone, much like Clint did in the aforementioned spagwesterns, who is actually personable. Rough, but personable.

Aesop said...

True fact: Director Chad Stahelski was Keanu's spittin' image stunt man/stand-in from The Matrix, and before.
Somewhere I have a picture of me w/Chad, and the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Chinese kung fu masters when we were all doing zero-G stunts for Matrix II/III. Fun times. (To be clear, I was the medic, they were doing the stunts. There's no pulling over and calling 9-1-1 at 40,000'.)

So if anything, bet that the stunt guys on these flicks are treated as royalty, not expendable items, by both director and star.

Anonymous said...

It’s extremely rare for me to go to a movie, but I had a movie-buff guest in town.
On the way out, I was asked what I thought (I’ve seen the first two). My reply “the coMic book was probably better” was taken in stride.

Mike_C said...

Unto. Unto the breach. Apart from that, pretty much agree. I saw the thing for $5.75, late-afternoon matinee price in Michigan, so I'm not complaining. But if I'd paid Boston evening show prices I'd probably be a bit annoyed.

@Anon 2035:
1) spoilers! (of a sort)
2) who's to say that there aren't highly intelligent inbred desert-dwellers wreaking havoc at the highest levels in this fallen world?

Frogdddy said...

Wife had free tix. It was not as good as the first two. It was very gratuitous in its violence and the plot was thin. Violence for violence sake. Movies that make me give up too much reality become silly. When you know someone couldn't survive something, it's over for me. Sequels try to capture the original formula and almost never meet expectations. They left the door open for a fourth installment, unless it's free it'll be a renter. The toys they use are nice, but that is all.

Anonymous said...


1) Yeah, sorry (sort of). But really, how much plot was there to reveal?
2) Almost as plausible as a multi-national conspiracy of intelligence agencies at the highest levels of their governments attempting to subvert an election and bring down a duly-elected President ... Umm, come to think of it, you have a point there.

I'd pay full price to see John Wick 4: The Comeuppance if that smarmy butch with the neck tat gets whacked early on.

There's an interesting behind-the-scenes video on YouTube of Keanu prepping for his role at a gun range. The best part is at the end, when he grabs a broom and sweeps up his own brass. Pretty regular-guy stuff there.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Saw it yesterday. Felt I had to respect the first two but as many of you said I feel the same. All the hype on Berry and she disappeared early. I think they knew most of us would have these thoughts presented here and so added her #-list presence. Somehow I knew early in there would be lots of breaking glass dub overs. Still liked it that was about it. Won't pay to see the next one but yes bullet to the forehead on her would have made the movie twice as good.

Anonymous said...

I could not help but think the female "adjudicator" with the bad haircut and wide ears was "Dewey" from Malcolm in the Middle.