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‘John Wick 3’ is a one-dimensional killing machine

2 stars (out of four)

John Wick is a trained assassin. He is one of the most deadly people in the world. At the beginning of the first film he is retired from the assassination business and is living happily with a puppy and his beautiful wife, and then the puppy and the beautiful wife are cruelly taken from him and he goes back into the assassination biz with a vengeance.

In the second film, he violates one of the rules of the High Table, which is a super secret organization that dominates a world of crime that exists everywhere; they’re a guild of professional assassins. So at the beginning of this film — because he has violated the rules — he is excommunicado.

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Having seen the other two films, this is by far the best of the three. Now that doesn’t mean it’s any good, because the question here isn’t: Is it well done? It’s very well done.

The question is why do it at all. This is like a two hour video game, and there’s some people for whom a two-hour video game is bliss. For me, it’s torture, and I suspect it will be as well for unsuspecting filmgoers who actually think they’re going to be seeing a real movie.

There’s plenty of shooting and eye-gouging and every kind of garroting and mutilation, with tons of elaborate weapons, and it’s all extremely well choreographed.

Keanu Reeves looks like he (and his body doubles) are in good shape. But in terms of characterization or surprising plot twists, invest your your cinema dollars elsewhere.

This is going to be a hit, though I don’t think it speaks well for the country, honestly. It glorifies the violence to the point of ballet.

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I won’t say it’s fun to watch, but it’s very compelling because of the acrobatics of one guy spinning around with different weapons in his hands, dispatching people over his shoulder on multiple sides

The cinematography is very well done, which is why I’m giving it two stars. It’s a mistake to invest two hours in this. Of course, it’s rated R, but it’s rated R really only for violence, which is different in this film.

In the first two films there are moments of friendship and love and connection, and it does make a point that John Wick is very deeply devoted to his wife. Here, John Wick is a completely one-dimensional killing machine, and I know that sounds really appealing to some people.

For people who love the first two films and are into the characters, they will love this film even more, because it’s impressive in terms of the skill and set design and artistry, and particularly the choreography. But the film would enormously benefit from about 20 minutes lopped off its running time. Don’t even think about taking kids.

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