starring Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane
screenplay by Derek Kolstad and Shay Hatten and Chris Collins & Marc Abrams
directed by Chad Stahelski
by Walter Chaw As the novelty wanes and the universe expands, the John Wick franchise becomes less fleet, though its pleasures, when they arrive, have lost little of their joy. I think of these films, three of them now, as describing the arc of the great Hollywood Musical actors, the Fred Astaires and Gene Kellys, the Liza Minellis and Ginger Rogers and Judy Garlands, who would enliven whatever inanimate book in which they were mired with their irrepressible stagecraft and charisma whenever the spotlight caught them. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (hereafter John Wick 3), in other words, is a slog of mythology linking galvanizing action sequences that are meticulously choreographed, unapologetically brutal, and graceful in every way the picture's story and dialogue are not. They're so good, really, that it hardly matters what the movie's about--so good that it's fair to wonder why they're working so hard at trying to pull coherence out of this premise instead of just offering vague excuses to arm the graceful, lanky, morose hero and drop him in the middle of bad situations. I mean, do they know it's not necessary? Is the world-building mumbo-jumbo a meta-joke on a media landscape now dominated by three or four dynastic storylines?