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.