Taking place apparently right after the events of the last John Wick, when he (Keanu Reeves...who doesn’t know that?) and his pit bull walked alone down Central Park with a bounty coming up on his head, Wick now has a 14 million dollar black market bounty, and there are more eyes on the city than just video cameras. Wick wants out, though. And he thinks he knows a way out, a figurative key where he has to prove...actually, really, do you care about what the plot is actually supposed to be as long as people keep coming after Wick with the best of ammunition but the worst of aim and sight? As well as some karate as he tries to stop having to kill by killing and getting into the lairs of mob bosses to follow a drying trail to his objective.
The best thing about the John Wick movies by far is the dogs. I love pit bull dogs so much. I see one and I immediately want to cuddle him/her. Wick’s dog is no different, nor these other dogs semi-relevant later on. The second best thing is the inventiveness of the action, which is much more original than the last one I found. There are dozens of “how-did-they-do-that” one-shots of not just guns but martial arts, fight choreography that doesn’t hold back. There’s also an odd but effectively somber early scene where Wick is on his way to receive some sort of key in a demented systemic business exchange, and twenty ballerinas who look like they’re holding a grudge against Wick are practising in the middle of the night underneath an exquisite theatre. Nothing comes out of it but it brings the topic of societal expectations a little feverishly to the screen for a few moments.
A friend at work who likes the John Wick movies a lot more than me told me Halle Berry’s new character was one of the best parts of the film and I can’t disagree. Sophia is taut and fearless and the boss of herself. Her command for her dog is also both precious and fierce, aka perfect. There’s a scene filled with one-shot sequences with the two of them surrounded by killers and shooting and ducking their way through, and with her there it was much more interesting than the average John Wick fight. It’s too bad she ends up barely in the production; just a speck above irrelevant in the finished product. If she were in the production more, I’d have been more lenient towards the movie.
A main criticism I had with John Wick Chapter 2 but actually forgot about going into this movie was how unrealistic certain parts of it were, like a lady bleeding herself to death in a hot tub without a shroud of fear or pain, and Wick and an adversary sharing a drink after a chase and fight. This one is even more ridiculous. Let me count the ways. For starters, with Wick having a $14 million bounty on his head, plus us knowing some mercenaries saw him walk into a hotel with his pit bull and he leaves without it (he’s keeping it there, not mercy killing it), and no one, not even people related to the last boss from Chapter 2, whose body makes a brief appearance here, think about maybe going in for some revenge or hostage ideas. There’s a goth chick who’s half businesswoman half assassin who seems to have never felt someone punch her, and on paper (or a blog) that sounds fun, but in reality there’s nothing original about her character. It wouldn’t have surprised me if in the rain an insect picked her neck and her circuits would short.
There are quite a few times where Wick is almost shot and some boss tells them to back off, or Wick convinces them to hesitate, yet from the bounty and stories that are most likely out there, it wouldn’t make sense for them to think twice or even once about shooting him. There’s again another time where Wick is sitting down with an enemy, and they begin shooting the shit like regular dudes, the guy comments about Wick’s adorable dog and him being more of a cat person, their friendly banter turning into murder before we know it. Wick would never have survived something he ends up going through. With all the killings, it has the atmosphere of being as serious as an actual assassination, yet the rest of the events between it are so implausible it’s hard to take a second of all this seriously. Here’s one other example. It’s Wick against two people, alone, no weapons, and once they help him up so they can continue. If this was some sort of professional brawl contest it would be passable, and it is admittedly a bit funny. Just...it’s supposed to be grounded in reality.
If, as I said, you love gleeful violence, you should like this film. If you like watching dozens upon dozens of mercenaries getting shot in the head, sometimes more than once or more than twice to penetrate their military helmets, you should adore this film. For me I need my action films to make at least a lick of sense.