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Keanu Reeves kills them all in ‘John Wick 3’

051719SherrilRhoades

Keanu Reeves revives his role as a super assassin in John Wick Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

I’ve never thought Keanu Reeves was a great actor, but I’ve loved many of his movies.

“Point Break” was a thrill ride. The “Bill & Ted” movies were a hoot. Those “Matrix” blockbusters were memorable sci-fi. And his “John Wick” action flicks make my adrenalin levels hit all-time highs.

That’s why I’m happy to hear that Reeves and Alex Winter are reprising their doofus characters in a new comedy called “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” What have they been up to in the intervening years since the last film? Have they grown up any? Or are they still the goofy slackers we loved in the two earlier comedies?

That said, I was even more excited to catch Reeves in his latest movie, a third installment about John Wick, a retired hitman who gets angry when someone kills his dog, an act that results in lots of bad guys dying at Wick’s hand.

Assassins Guild Exec: “All of this for what, because of a puppy?”

John Wick: “It wasn’t just a puppy.”

As a web site devoted to this movie series warns, never kill a man’s dog.

In the very first “John Wick” flick, he was quietly mourning his wife’s death, but then some Russian mobsters made the mistake of killing his dog, Daisy. Wick returns to the world of contract killers to get revenge. There’s enough carnage to fill two movies, “John Wick” (2014) and “John Wick — Chapter 2” (2017).

Now we have “John Wick – Chapter Three: Parabellum,” which picks up the story exactly one hour after the last movie, one hour being the head start the High Table gives Wick before placing a $14 million bounty on his head. This is his punishment for killing an important member of the international assassin’s guild at the Continental Hotel, a supposed no-kill zone. He’s now in the crosshairs of an army of super-assassins.

Don’t worry. Wick is up for the challenge.

When asked what he needs, Wick replies, “Guns. Lots of guns.”

The movie might be described as a non-stop shoot-’em-up intermingled with martial arts fight scenes.

Keep in mind, director Chad Stahelski is a former stunt man. He personally choreographed all the fight scenes, with Reeves doing his own knock-’em-down and break-their-neck stunts.

“John Wick – Chapter Three: Parabellum” is kicking butt and dispatching bad guys this week at AMC Fire Tower, 1685 E. Fire Tower Road, and Regal Cinemas Greenville Grande, 750 S.W. Greenville Blvd.

Ian McShane returns as Winston, manager of the Continental Hotel in New York, part of a chain of hotels around the world that serve as a neutral territory for members of the criminal underworld.

Lance Reddick is back as Charon, concierge of the Continental Hotel.

Angelica Houston is cast as the Director, a member of the High Table who wants to protect Wick.

And Halle Berry takes on the role of Sofia, a dog-walking assassin who remains a friend to on-the-run Wick.

The film also reunites some of Reeves’s old “Matrix” buddies: Laurence Fishburne as an underground crime lord known as the Bowery King; Tiger Hu Chen as a member of the Triad (uncredited); and Randall Duk Kim as an underworld doctor.

In the world of John Wick, the underworld is everywhere — from street vendors and waiters to shoeshine guys and dog-walkers and homeless people — all acting as the eyes and ears for the High Table. And the organization has more assassins chasing Wick than troops in a military parade in Red Square.

“John Wick – Chapter Three: Parabellum” has been called “breathtakingly violent.”

As Reeves explains, the title “Parabellum” comes from the Latin phrase: “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” which means “If you want peace, prepare for war.”

War it is.

According to a blog called “John Wick Kill Count,” in the first movie in the series he dispatched 77 bad guys. This includes 59 shot, five knifed, two choked, three with broken necks, two blown up, and six run over by Wick’s 2011 Dodge Charger.

Nobody has completed the headcount for this third movie, but IndieWire notes that Wick is “a semi-retired super assassin who’s killed more people than the Bubonic plague.” That sounds like the right number.

Shirrel Rhoades is a former executive with Marvel Entertainment, a writer, publisher, professor and filmmaker. He is from North Carolina and lives in Florida. Contact him at srhoades@aol.com.

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