John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum ★★★★

A bone crunching, plasma splattering ode to head shots and dog attacks.

"That was a pretty good fight, huh?"

Picking up from where the second movie left off, that master of murderous mayhem John Wick (a blood drenched Keanu Reeves) is on the run after killing a member of the assassin's guild known as the High Table. Now with a $14 million price tag (and climbing) on his head, Wick finds himself in the crosshairs of numerous hit men and bounty hunters hoping to make that big payday. Turning to old acquaintances to help his plan of asking for reinstatement by the guild, Wick's list of those he can count on dwindles as quickly as his chances of making it out alive.

The plot in this third installment of the series is pretty barebones, but let's be honest...we're all here for the leg snapping and eye gouging, and on that front, this is the most brutal John Wick film to date. The opening fight sequence is one of my favorite scenes in a movie this year, but there's plenty more pandemonium throughout the flick. One tip: if you're fighting John Wick inside an animal stable, NEVER stand behind a horse! Yeesh.

Reeves is all icy cool and steely resolve, but the film's MVP is (without a doubt) the ever-charming Mark Dacascos (Mani in "Brotherhood of the Wolf"). Playing the villain who's on a crash course towards the film's big mano-a-mano showdown with Wick, Dacascos is equally badass and funny in his scenes. His sushi chef/samurai character is also quite a fan of Wick, and gushes his admiration for the titular character's killing skills...while maintaining pride of being the one most capable of taking Wick out. During the film's homestretch, when all the massacring starts to have a numbing effect on the viewer, the movie comes to life whenever Dacascos is on screen. Here's hoping his turn here leads to more high profile roles for the man. Halle Berry scores as well as a bitter ex-partner of Wick, complete with a pack of trained killer dogs. Anjelica Huston, Ian McShane, and Laurence Fishburne provide solid support.

Cool as shit, no doubt...but a bit hollow in the story department. Something that's highlighted by the flick's bloated 2 hour and 10 minute runtime. Still, I went in simply wanting a ruthless action fest, and this delivers that in spades. Recommended.

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