The third John Wick movie, by director Chad Stahelski, is everything but a sedate stroll in the park. Even the full title, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, hints at the carnage in store. The subtitle derives from the Latin phrase Si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” And, apparently, it’s war we shall have.

In this third instalment of the adrenaline-fueled franchise, Keanu Reeves returns as the eternally embattled super-assassin John Wick. At the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, he wasn’t in the best shape. “The third chapter is literally connected to second and starts with John Wick on the run,” says Reeves, who has enveloped himself in intense training to make his portrayal as realistic as possible. “It goes crazy from there.”

And he is not wrong. In JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, John Wick is on the run for one seminal reason: he broke a cardinal rule by taking a life on Continental Hotel grounds and, for that, there is a $14 million open contract on his life. The victim was a member of The High Table who had ordered the open contract on Wick. He should have already been executed, but the Continental’s manager, Winston, has given him a one-hour grace period before he is “excommunicado”. With his membership revoked, banned from all services and cut off from other members, Wick must fight and kill his way out of New York City – a seemingly impossible feat with the world’s most ruthless hitmen on his tail.

According to Stahelski, the movie will feature horses, dogs, cats, a raven, a flock of pigeons, shotguns and ninjas. Basically, just another day at the office for Wick.

Besides this strange assortment of animals – John Wick may be cinema’s most notorious dog lover and protector – Reeves won’t be alone in the threequel. Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and John Leguizamo are all back as The Bowery King, Continental Hotel owner Winston, Continental concierge Charon, and chop shop owner Aurelio, respectively.

There also won’t be a shortage of new assassins after Wick, with Mark Dacascos playing Zero and Jason Mantzoukas appearing as the Tick Tock Man.

In addition, Anjelica Huston has joined the cast as The Director, who will presumably work closely with The Adjudicator, played by Asia Kate Dillon. The two are members of The High Table, who are displeased that Wick killed one of their own in Chapter 2.

The most exciting new cast member, however, is Halle Berry in the role of Sofia, a fellow assassin and friend of Wick’s who risks everything to help him on his mission to escape New York City.

John Wick is the rare action franchise that is as critically praised as it is commercially viable. In an action-movie landscape where superhero movies and sci-fi epics have dominated, the success of the franchise should be commended.

With Reeves’ complex portrayal as a hurt man who just wants to live in peace with his dog, riveting action sequences and efficient world building, John Wick has become the modern mid-budget action answer to the lamentation that we no longer have decent action heroes.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM is distributed by Filmfinity (Pty) Ltd. and will be released in South African cinemas on 17 May 2019.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7XM597XO94

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