Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Chad Stahelski.
 Starring Keanu Reeves, Bill Skarsgard, Donnie Yen.
Action, US, 169 minutes, certificate 15.

Released 23rd March in cinemas in the UK by Lionsgate


Funny to think that this all started with the death of a puppy. Since the poor defenceless animal was shot by some car thieves its owner has since gone on to shoot and stab several people that after this entry looks like it is approaching the four-digit range. When we last saw him, John was not in the best shape after being shot, by his close friend, and owner of The Continental, Winston and falling off a roof. Now John is annoyed as ever, donning the black suit once more to take the fight to the High Table in one last bid for his freedom. No spoilers but lots of people get shot. Lots of people.


The thing is it is the way they get shot. This is a dizzying and beautifully choreographed exercise in excess that pays off beautifully for fans of this franchise. Think you’re ready for yet another nightclub shootout? Well let’s throw in some bow and arrow wielding yakuza members and Kevlar wearing sumo wrestlers. How about Scott Adkins in a fat suit and a dodgy German accent? Well, you can have that too. It seems that director Chad Stahelski, after his career as stunt performer, has taken advantage of the anticipation for this entry, as well as its inflated budget, and channelled it all into delivering one of the best action spectacles in American action cinema.


Giving Donnie Yen his best English-speaking role ever is a masterstroke, and by pitting him against John Wick and another bounty hunter known only as Tracker, who takes advantage of the rising bounty on John’s head, the film feels like a neon lit, 21st century riff on Sergio Leone. The love for the gunplay that was popularised by the Heroic Bloodshed films from Hong Kong in the late eighties is spun on as ever but taken to the next level here. The climax alone knows it has to deliver and does so in merciless fashion with a series of Paris based showdowns, also inspired by THE WARRIORS, that feels especially tailored towards action audiences who have been let down by an anaemic run of films that that rely on the likes of CGI far too much. One shootout sequence filmed from above sets a high bar that you can fully expect it to be ripped off countless times in the future in much the same way that filmmakers tried to use bullet time techniques after THE MATRIX was released.


If this is The End then it is a great one, although the forthcoming Continental TV series and spin-off film BALLERINA, should hopefully keep us sated for the future. It may be bloated with its near three-hour running time but the time flies by as Keanu Reeves glowers and strides across the screen shooting and getting shot at. An action spectacle that has been designed to be shown on the biggest screen you can see, this is as next level as action cinema can get, recalling the glory days of John Woo and completely sets in stone, Reeves place as a god of action cinema.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans