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Who Knew a 'Festival of Death' Could Be So Beautiful?

John Wick 3 'elevates violent action to an art form'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2019 11:12 AM CDT

(Newser) – At one point, John Wick uses both a gun and a massive sword to fend off a gang of attackers while on a speeding motorcycle—a slight upgrade from the horse he was previously riding. You should expect nothing less from Chad Stahelski's John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, the third flick in the beloved series with a seemingly endless supply of violence. This time, the bounty on Wick's head has doubled and plenty of fellow assassins want to cash in. If critics are right, moviegoers will be giving up their cash to watch the action unfold. Four takes:

  • Chris Klimek had "a swell time" watching Keanu Reeves wreak havoc. While the flick, picking up immediately after the conclusion of Chapter 2, [threatens] to collapse the whole shebang-bang-bang under the weight of its diminishing-returns world-building ... there's a musicality and wit to the action that only the Mission: Impossible series can equal." And "the set pieces are more imaginative and daring than ever," he writes at NPR.
  • Luckily, "the opulent sets don't detract from the knife fights, shootouts, hand-to-hand slugfests and literal head explosions that form the bloodthirsty heart of the franchise." But "as the reason why Wick is fighting evolves, the story begins to feel aimless," writes Ryan Porter at the Toronto Star. Still, he says this third installment will "probably be remembered as one of the good ones." It is "the biggest and most bonkers John Wick yet."

  • Though "four credited screenwriters apparently enjoyed some nice long lunches … Reeves remains a paragon of cat-feet cool," according to Michael Phillips, who predicts the film's financial success as "the best of the three so far." Writing at the Chicago Tribune, he notes the film is "out of an earthly realm entirely." And as the action moves to Morocco, the "melee blends legit stunt work and copious digital effects for a heinous yet nimble festival of death."
  • "It is, arguably, a nasty piece of work. But, like its hero, it knows what it does best, and it does it … beautifully," writes Michael O’Sullivan at the Washington Post. Indeed, the film "elevates violent action to an art form" and provides "just enough story here to give the brutality shape and purpose," writes O'Sullivan, who suspects a fourth film will follow.
(Read more movie review stories.)

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