Directed By: Chad Stahelski
Release Date: May 17, 2019
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne
Every action has consequences, and in John Wick: Chapter 3, Keanu Reeves' titular assassin is on the run thanks to his decision in 2017's Chapter 2 to murder the scumbag Santino D'Antonio on Continental grounds. Having broken that cardinal rule – no "conducting business" at The Continental Hotel – that film ended with John excommunicado from the world he'd been sucked back into, with a one-hour window in which to flee before a worldwide, multimillion dollar bounty on his head became active.
Chapter 3 picks up right where Chapter 2 left off, with Wick's tiny window of a head start drawing to a close, and when it finally does, the film hits the gas and never really lets up. From the neon-filled streets of New York City to the potential sanctuary of Casablanca, Morocco to the vast emptiness of the Sahara Desert, Chapter 3 takes John across the globe and back as he fends off countless assassins eager to claim the bounty as he searches for The Elder, the highest-ranking member of the High Table, who he hopes will listen to his story and allow him to undo his excommunication.
To think that this all started as a story about a man getting vengeance against those who killed his dog is insane, because Chapter 3 really blows up the scope of Wick's world to heights no one could've imagined these films would go to back in 2014. In retrospect, the original film feels downright modest in its ambitions, and one of the strengths of this ever-growing series has been its ability to continually flesh out its world with unique characters and wrinkles in the mythology without overstepping its bounds and grinding its forward momentum to a halt for the sake of one big information dump.
The world that John Wick resides in is a truly fascinating one, and yet the films never have to hold the audience's hand to explain things, opting instead to have faith that we can figure it out so things can keep rolling along. Take, for instance, the Director (Anjelica Huston), a new face introduced here in Chapter 3, who John turns to for help early in the film. It's clear that the two have a wild history, particularly when it comes to John’s own origins, but the sequel never bogs itself down in trying to expand on it and ultimately overreach with its exposition, allowing us instead to piece together vocal inflections or throwaway comments between the two to sort out their relationship. It's that kind of stripped down storytelling that really benefits the world-building – and even the overall pacing of the narrative – of this franchise.
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