Review: 'John Wick: Chapter 3' is an excuse for a whole bunch of amazing action sequences

Marcus Goh
·Contributor
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

Most movies are judged on the merit of their story, with action scenes as gravy. After all, most movies put story first and action later. John Wick: Chapter 3, however, is the complete opposite. It's clear that it's constructed with the action scenes first, before some semblance of a plot is inserted to join all the scenes together. Usually, such an approach is used for select sectors (like the adult entertainment industry), rather than for mainstream cinema. It's entertainingly over the top, although it does get repetitive at times.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

John Wick: Chapter 3 is the third movie in the John Wick series, and takes place immediately after John Wick: Chapter 2. It sees the titular character on the run after he kills a high ranking member of a shadowy criminal society and earns the ire of the entire criminal underworld. After he literally fights his way across the world and back, he finds himself in a unique situation.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

The film opens with — what else? — a fight. Or rather, a series of fights, all expertly choreographed and lavishly executed. It gets your blood pumping with a series of high octane action sequences that take place in rapid succession across interesting locales, effectively making it a string of back-to-back set pieces. While most movies would only insert one set piece at pivotal moments in the plot, John Wick: Chapter 3 just lets them all rip from the get go. You know what you're in for once you've sat through the opening.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

There's no denying the sheer creativity of the fight scenes as well, both in terms of props and sets. There are the usual weapons, of course — firearms and blades aplenty. But there are also some incredibly unique sequences, like a fight scene involving a book. Virtually everything and anything can be turned into a weapon in John Wick's hands, including his clothing. And there's no expense spared in executing the fights, which are all heavily stylised and polished.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

In fact, since they pull out all the stops for every single fight, every battle is violently over the top. Its M18 rating for violence is well-earned, and viewers who are watching for that reason will definitely be satisfied. It's not just about John Wick's sheer invulnerability (he gets punched more times than he speaks), but the unbelievable goriness with which he dispatches his foes. However, it can get exaggerated to the point of unintentional hilarity. That's when it loses all steam and the supposed tension gives way to a comedic fight scene. It's pretty clear that isn't the point of such elaborate fight scenes, so it's a pity that it can get that extreme at times.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

Since John Wick: Chapter 3 front loads all the amazing fight scenes, it means that the final battle(s) are a little... lacklustre by comparison. They're just as energetic as all the other action set pieces, but they conform to the more standard types of fight sequences, such as defending a piece of territory against an assault and one-on-one duels. It's a little disappointing to see that the typical climactic fight scenes weren't given a bit more of a twist. They'd be amazing in any other movie, but in this one they just seem... repetitive. Perhaps at this point, action fatigue has set in.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

Although the plot is clearly not the focus on the film, it has to be said that more exposition was needed. The inner workings of The High Table made for interesting visuals, but it wasn't always clear what was going on, nor what the roles of the respective characters were. The High Table characters had incredibly pretentious dialogue which didn't always make sense, even if they were delivered impressively.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

John Wick: Chapter 3 will sate any person's bloodlust, given the copious amount of violence in it. For a film that's essentially a string of fight sequences that are tenuously connected together, it's amazingly entertaining. It literally smashes its way on to the screen to grab your attention the whole way, only losing you when it attempts to inject some semblance of story into the film. If you liked the previous John Wick movies, then this one will not disappoint.

PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS
PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE CINEMAS

Should you watch this at weekday movie ticket prices? Yes.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? If you are a John Wick fan.

Score: 3.0/5

Running time: 131 minutes

John Wick: Chapter 3 is an American action thriller film that is the third instalment in the John Wick film franchise. It is also known as John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and John Wick 3.

The film follows the adventures of the inexhaustible John Wick, who finds an escalating bounty on his head. After a series of brutal battles, he manages to find a resolution to this new problem... sort of.

John Wick: Chapter 3 is directed by Chad Stalhelski and written by Derek Kolstad, with screenplay credits for Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams. It stars Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Halle Berry (Sofia), Laurence Fishburne (The Bowery King), Mark Dacascos (Zero), Asia Kate Dillon (The Adjudicator), Lance Reddick (Charon), Anjelica Huston (The Director), Ian McShane (Winston), Said Taghmaoui (The Elder), Jason Mantzoukas (Tick Tock Man), and Robin Lord Taylor (The Administrator). It is rated M18.

John Wick: Chapter 3 opens in cinemas:

- 16 May, 2019 (Singapore)

- 16 May, 2019 (Malaysia)

- 15 May, 2019 (Philippines)

Marcus Goh is a television scriptwriter, having written for popular shows like “Lion Mums”, “Crimewatch”, “Code of Law”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

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