John Wick 3: New Movie, Same Story

Keanu Reeves in John Wick (image obtained via Flickr by user AntMan3001 in Creative Commons)

Keanu Reeves in John Wick (image obtained via Flickr by user AntMan3001 in Creative Commons)

Charley Roth-Douquet, Reporter

Because a total of 205 kills wasn’t enough, John Wick: Parabellum adds to the number. Over the three movies, Keanu Reeves killing people seems to be the only constant. The only thing the third movies’ plot does more than killing extras is contradict itself. Turning Wick from a heartbroken soul who only kills when he’s forced to come out retirement to a trigger-happy old man with an incredibly limited vocabulary.

Of the three only the first John Wick is at all memorable. John Wick 2 was so unmemorable that I’m having to research the plot, and I watched it last year. John Wick 3 is no different. There’s only so many fight scenes a movie can have before it turns into a blur of gunshots, punches, and Keanu Reeves saying “Yeah” like he smokes 3 packs a day. The story follows him fleeing New York City after killing the last film’s antagonist in the “Continental Hotel”. The Hotel remains an important plot piece for the rest of the film. His actions in the hotel were strongly forbidden in the assassin world which is why he’s being chased by – what seems like – all of New York City in the third movie. He’s violated the terms of the Continental Hotel, which presides under something called “The High Table.” There’s something of a god complex surrounding The High Table in the assassin world. So in this seemingly Odysseus inspired movie, Wick fights through the obstacles and assassins sent after him by The High Table in his hero’s journey towards redemption.

His journey starts by showing us the first of many glimpses of his backstory and continues to Morocco with guest star Halle Berry. There John Wick seeks redemption with the High table and is told he has to go to the desert and “walk till he can walk no more, then walk more” this is followed by the obligatory firefight sequence. John, however, still makes the trek, and the viewer is presented with several minutes of different angles showing suited Keanu Reeves hiking through the orange Sahara. To their credit, the shots are beautiful. Wick finally reaches the point where he’s walked some more after not being able to walk anymore and he collapses. He, surprise, doesn’t die and is instead is transported to a tent in the desert by a very very old man riding a camel.

After this, it’s a surprise that he’s presented to a perfectly groomed 28 year old we have to presume is the famed High Table top dog. Here, Wick asks for forgiveness from this unimpressed graduate student. When asked why he wants to live, Wick says “to remember.” Wick wants to live to sustain the memory of his wife. In a test to prove his earnestness Wick chops off his own ring finger, and presents it to head honcho. The millennial who looks like he gets his beard trimmed at a salon allows him to live under the condition John keeps killing for the Table, John agrees to this.

This scene would be memorable if it wasn’t all contradicted minutes later. The first person he’s supposed to kill is Winston, the owner of the Continental Hotel. But instead of killing him and sustaining the promise he made in his Wife’s honor, he is convinced by Winston not to after he’s given a “boogeyman” pep talk. The scene goes like this: John tells Winston he has to kill him and Winston asks John if he would rather keep the promise to the High Table or if he’d rather be the boogeyman and kill a lot more people, and forgetting everything that’s happened in the film up to that point, John basically shrugs and decides to kill a lot more people. And, surprise, turns out John successfully kills a lot more people.

What follows is a Parley between Winston and a representative of the High Table where Winston immediately turns on John Wick, shooting him off the roof of a New York Building. An act that was orchestrated like it was planned. And, surprise again, John gets away. Cleverly leaving the option for a fourth installment, maybe titled John Wick 4: Keanu Reeves shoots more extras.

In all, I find it very hard to give this movie a good review just because of how much of a waste of time it felt like. This may be the first action movie I’ve ever seen where the protagonist uses his dead spouse’s name in vain just to do more killing. The plots purpose seems to only be to find ways to justify Keanu Reeves saying fewer words and killing more people. Having said that, writing is not what the creators of the movie were focused on, obviously. John Wick isn’t a franchise created to win awards at Sundance or have people tear up to. John Wick serves as a mindless action movie with beautiful shots, recognizable people, and moments of comedy to break the monotony. And in this regard John Wick: Parabellum excels. It wouldn’t have been difficult to become so lost the movie’s striking color scheme and incredible choreography that the plot seemed as insignificant as bullets were to Wick. And to their credit, no animals were harmed in the making.