The spectacular third instalment in Keanu Reeves’s fighting franchise overwhelms with opulent martial arts phối pieces

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‘A flying kick khổng lồ the senses’: Keanu Reeves, centre, in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Photograph: Niko Tavernise/AP

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‘A flying kick lớn the senses’: Keanu Reeves, centre, in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Photograph: Niko Tavernise/AP

We know by now that John Wick (Keanu Reeves, wearing stubble and an increasingly machete‑slashed đen suit) is not in the business of taking prisoners. And neither, it seems, is the production thiết kế team of this riotous, relentless third instalment. It’s not just the violence that’s excessive. Pretty much every frame is a flying kick khổng lồ the senses. The distinctive aesthetic – a kind of hi-tech baroque, with a cảm ứng of fetishy transgression for good measure – is not the only reason that this action series punches above its weight. But it is a significant factor. After all, a fight scene is a fight scene is a fight scene, even one featuring some of the most highly skilled martial arts practitioners in the world (look out for purveyors of Indonesian tower-block carnage from The Raid). But put a fight scene in a room stacked with antique ceremonial knives, or in a glass room displaying nothing but crystal skulls, and there’s a whole new level of spectacle lớn be explored. & spectacle, rather than internal logic, has always been what the John Wick movies vị best.

Chapter 3 takes over where the second film left off, with the whole of thủ đô new york a ticking clock counting down the minutes until Wick is rendered “excommunicado”. Once his status is officially downgraded, he becomes persona non grata within the shadowy underworld governed by the criminal council the High Table. More importantly, there’s a $14m bounty on his head. Even so, Wick manages to lớn trade on his birthright to lớn beg a favour from ballet mistress and gang boss the Director (Anjelica Huston, all languid cruelty & sneered lines). The favour sends Wick to lớn Casablanca, and the weakest segment of the movie involving Halle Berry, dog peril & a wearisome gunfight. Wick is a man who can kill a 7ft assassin using just a library book. Seeing him scurrying around a Moroccan bazaar brandishing a firearm seems rather basic. Fortunately, he’s soon back on US soil doing what he does best – dispatching his foes in a variety of creatively agonising methods. “Art is pain. Life is suffering,” growls Huston. But the latest instalment of John Wick makes an art of pain in a way that is curiously life-affirming.

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