An illustration inspired by John Wick 3.

An illustration inspired by John Wick 3. 

John Wick has been through a lot. After pulling off an impossible task he was granted an unheard -of request; escape. John spent a few blessed years with the love of his life until her untimely death. As a token of her love to him, Helen gives John a puppy. She urges him to love again, starting with the dog, in order to move on.

However, John is robbed of such an opportunity when his home is broken into, he is beat down, his car is stolen and his dog is killed in front of him. This fateful night starts a chain reaction that brings us to the events of “John Wick Chapter 3.”

Death is easy for John. If you’re a fan of this franchise, you’ve been treated to incredible action sequences showing us how truly terrifying John Wick’s abilities are. He’s killed men with a pencil for crying out loud! Keanu Reeves is again in top form, mowing down bad guys left, right and center.

This franchise is by far one of the best, if not the best, action franchise of the past decade. The opening of “Chapter 3” finds John excommunicated from the criminal underworld and left to his own devices. The opening twenty minutes of John’s escape in this film could be a movie in and of itself.

A bounty of $14 million has been placed on his head and assassin’s all over the world are coming for him. Hence his escape. As he tries to make his way out of New York, John meets numerous people out for his blood and leaves a trail of bodies in his wake.

In particular, the first fight John has takes place in the New York Public Library and it is jaw-breakingly awesome. Seeing Keanu fight a giant who towers over him, while armed with only a book was incredible. It was the perfect way to kick off the movie and it doesn’t let up from them on.

That also may not be a good thing for everyone. About halfway through the movie air wondered to myself whether or not the set pieces would get a bit boring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a treat to see John Wick mow down a bunch of bad guys but by the third act, I did find myself a bit weary. The fight he has with a particular bad guy at the end felt a bit too long, especially after it was preceded by another fight that I found a bit more enjoyable. Action fatigue may occur and it’s something to keep in mind while watching this.

All this action takes place against a rich world that continually gets fleshed out in each subsequent entry. But not every detail is explained to you and I felt that with every tidbit of information given, two or three more questions are brought up. It’s a great feeling to see all of this flash by while we follow John on his journey in “Chapter 3.”

Amidst this world a number of fascinating characters pop up. Anjelica Huston portrays a figure from John’s path and she knocked it out of the park. Recurring cast members like Ian McShane and Lance Reddick are a joy to see, while new additions like Halle Berry bring something new to the stage. Not all of them hit their marks, as I found the Adjudicator, played by Asia Kate Dillon, my least favorite part of the film. It doesn’t help that she reminded me of Trinity from the Matrix and once I thought that, I couldn’t help but wonder if she was cast as a stand in for Carrie Anne Moss. Who knows for sure but it would’ve been cool to see her have a mini-reunion with her fellow Matrix cast members.

“John Wick: Chapter 3” continues to expand on a landmark action franchise while holding its own against former entries. It’s not the best in the series but with a franchise that is consistently releasing phenomenal films, “Chapter 3” still proves itself to be far above what the action genre has been offering as of late. And I for one can not wait to see where Mr. Wick winds up next.

4 ½ out of 5

“John Wick: Chapter 3” is rated R. It is currently in theatres.

Oscar Chavez Castaneda is the Montrose Daily Press’ film critic. Find out more about him on his website, oscarchavezcastaneda.com. He will review a movie new to theaters or a new DVD release every other week.

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