More of Everything...And Then Some - John Wick 3
John Wick 3 is more. More deaths, more broken glass, more enemies. More of everything. But more isn’t always better. Sometimes more just means a smaller subset of people are going to love it. That’s where John Wick 3 sits. It offers exactly what its audience wants, but that audience is likely shrinking as this world expands. That doesn’t make it bad, per se. It just makes it bespoke. If you like your movies filled with beyond gratuitous violence, you will probably appreciate that the filmmakers have done everything they can to raise your eyebrows—or perhaps even blow them off.
This film picks up minutes after the conclusion of the events of the second movie. John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) has been excommunicated and there is a multi-million dollar bounty on his head. In order to reverse his fate, not only does he have to survive, but he has to figure out a way to turn the tables.
In a journey around the world, Wick calls in favors and does a lot of killing in order to have his excommunication reversed and get the bounty removed. He struggles to gain the upper hand on the High Table, the powerful group that controls this criminal underworld. And in the process, he must use every tool available just to stay alive.
While this third installment sticks to the formula, this is the first film so interested in the concept of fame and its effects. John Wick enjoys nearly universal name ID in this universe and the ways this fame plays out for him vary from person to person. But what doesn’t change is that there is always trouble associated with it. Whether it causes love or hate, it always comes with a cost. That nuanced consideration of fame was a welcomed addition to the central threads of the franchise.
But what most people will be showing up for is kill sequences and John Wick 3 has them in abundance. They are frequent and immaculately executed. The work that goes into crafting these sequences is clearly substantial and the result is action that lives on a hairpin turn. We get action underwater, action on horseback, action on motorcycles and even action in a library.
The most satisfying aspect of the film, however, is the way it expands the boundaries of the universe introduced in the first two movies. The audience is treated to new concepts and new characters that give added complexity and stakes to a movie that would have felt empty without them. Structurally, it works. But the downside is that the movie struggles to find the balance between stakes and indulgences. As is, the movie comes dangerously close to wearing out its welcome. But if you are hooked on this kind of action, this is a fix and a half.
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