Thoughts On: John Wick: Chapter 3 - Sick

17/05/2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Sick

Quick Thoughts: John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)

Excommunicated, Wick must somehow fend for himself in a city of assassins.


Sick is probably not a word you should use if you're above 14 and want to be taken seriously, but no other word suites John Wick 3 better than it. John Wick: Chapter 3 is sick. With a satisfactory degree of self-awareness yet also a seemingly unconscious and giddy desire to be ridiculous, this is a film that dares to be seriously stupid, to construct action set-pieces that go on for an age without wearing thin and to treat human bodies like rubber dolls. It would not surprise me if John Wick holds at least a handful of screen records: most over-armoured yet easily beaten villains; most anonymous henchmen slain in 2 hours; most dog-jaw to the groin strikes; most knives in a body; most steel in a skull; most body throws; and maybe (if not second to Game of Death) greatest disparity between fighters. It cannot be over-emphasised, John Wick 3 is as excessive as it is joyous. It dares to have a horse vs. motorbike fist-gun battle. What more need be said?

I was no a huge fan of John Wick 2. I felt that this chapter was particularly stiff and the action a little too slow. The first Wick stands out as having the best story and introducing some ingenuous action choreography - the integration of judo, jiu-jitsu and guns being particularly astounding. The effect of this waned as the melodramatic element of the Wick series intensified in chapter 2. However, with the melodrama increasing ever more so and Wick 3 being self-conventionalised to a strong degree (the series is becoming its own unique, insulated world as opposed to a work evidently related to others), limitations on action are lifted allowing the filmmakers' imagination to explode with brilliant nonsense. John Wick 3 may then annoy some because it disregards the rules of reality to a much more significant degree than, especially, Wick 1. However, I felt that, with Wick 3, I understood the series as an insulated work improving upon itself by delving deeper into all that makes it brilliant. The corny dialogue is then acceptable and the somewhat hackey Christian-influenced symbolism and play on Westerns (love the reference to listening the gun click from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) enjoyable. As good as the action choreography in John Wick has always been, it has its limitations: Keanu Reeves.being the key factor. Reeves has poured himself into the Wick series much like Tom Cruise does his action movies, clearly learning an abundance of martial arts skills and training with weaponry and vehicles. He does almost all of his own stunts in Wick 3 it seems. CGI and camera trickery is used, but the shooting style (wide and not too impressionistic) is very demanding. We then see where Reeves' skills are limited and how, for safety and so on, things are slow and clunky at many points. This was off-putting in Chapter 2, but, in Chapter 3, the level of action negates much of the criticism. Reeves then comes off as incredibly impressive here (and who knew he was so tall and Indonesian martial-arts star, Yayan Ruhian, so short?).

In total, I felt John Wick 3 to be a level-up for the series and a ridiculously good time. I'd love to see this flourish - as it seems to be doing - into an epic Leone-esque neo-Western, 3 hours long and improbably melodramatic. That said, have you seen Wick 3 yet? What are your thoughts?







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