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John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum Movie Review

Why do you go to the "John Wick" movies? To watch star Keanu Reeves take out any person who dares to stand in his way, of course. If that is your main requirement, fear not, because Reeves torpedoes his way through the latest installment, "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum." In the most basic sense, the new film is a success, but as the franchise continues to expand, it proves that doing the bare minimum isn't enough.

Sure, the action is dazzling and well-staged at every point. There are sequences early in the film that are brutal and efficient in their execution, and it starts "Parabellum" off on a propulsive note. However, as the movie continues everything becomes a bit more repetitive, and each fights scene feels less creative than the one before. Director Chad Stahelski, who has been with the franchise since the beginning, knows why you are at the movie. He dials up the action in elongated sequences, understanding he will likely have your attention. But after a while it all feels like complacency rather than great filmmaking.

The movie begins shortly after the previous chapter ended, and John Wick (Reeves) is on the run after being declared "excommunicado" from the Continental hotel, which is a fancy clubhouse of sorts for the elite squadron of hitmen. A $14 million bounty has been placed on his head and, after being given a running head start from Winston (Ian McShane), the manager of the hotel, Wick is off on his own with no one to trust. His journey leads him to some people from his past, including The Director (Anjelica Houston) and Sofia (Halle Berry), who never seem happy to see Wick standing in front of them but have enough of a history with him to help him.

Reeves and Berry have some interesting interplay, even if most of their scenes together feel like they are weighing down the movie. Berry's Sofia travels with two dogs that might be the only thing deadlier than Wick. Laurence Fishburne returns, offering fleeting moments of levity as the Bowery King, but the standout in the supporting cast is Asia Kate Dillon. As the steely character known as The Adjudicator, Dillion enters the film and makes everyone stand up straight and listen.

Wick's journey along the neon-soaked streets of New York is certainly great to look at, but the series really has nothing new to offer. The body count is higher than ever here, but "Parabellum" doesn't expand upon the Wickian mythos in any way that provides new depth or insight into the character's motivations. We've seen Wick wipe out his foes two times now, and a third round just feels gratuitous without anything new to add to his story.

At the end of the day, "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" will likely have you fist-pumping in your seat, but it had me checking my watch. At 130 minutes, the movie hits far too many lulls between the mayhem and doesn't fill the voids with anything interesting. "Chapter 4" is almost a guarantee, but it might be time to - finally! - let Wick retire.

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