JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM: After fatally dispatching one of the top guys from the shadowy syndicate called The High Table, the title character (Keanu Reeves) has now become the target of an almost endless global network of assassins (Most of whom are Asian.) out to collect the fourteen million dollar bounty hanging over his head. Given the plots of the two previous films, it can only mean that the disheveled, black-suited, dog loving loner must kill all those bounty hunters coming after him in glorious, gratuitously violent, near balletically choreographed sequences that make deadly use of guns (Lots of guns.), knives, samurai swords and even horses. There’s even an equine trick-riding scene through the rainy streets of Manhattan that would be the envy of legendary horseman/stunt man Yakima Canutt (BEN-HUR, CAT BALLOU). But what really stands out is not only the cartoonish, over the top carnage but also the excellent sound editing and recording of bone-crunching, knives slashing and long sword slinging that adds to the vicarious thrill of the proceedings. The plot, which is minimalist at best, is episodic but effective enough with verbal interludes with a mysterious Russian matriarch (Anjelica Huston) and an old acquaintance (Halle Berry) of Wick’s who has the type of vicious German Shepherds that instinctively aim for the nether regions in an attack. One of the more compelling and newer characters is a cold-blooded “adjudicator” (Asia Kate Dillon) whose primary task is to maim or kill anyone who aided or abetted the titular character. There’s a literal amount of overkill to some of the violence which holds in most scenes that one pistol shot to the head isn’t enough when three or four will accomplish the job and significantly up the “splatter factor”. But in a sense, this is the kind of excess that has always typified this film franchise which shares something of a common thread with the FAST & FURIOUS movies in that both are enormously entertaining while being totally preposterous. But any movie in which the first killing is carried out on a seven-foot thug (76ers’ player Boban Marjanovic) by beating him to death with a library book knows that it’s ridiculous and fully embraces it with the idea that its’ primary motivation is to show its’ audience a good time. And that it does. CRITIC’S GRADE: B+

CLOSING CREDITS: Here are some excellent movies starring the incomparable singer/actress Doris Day a.k.a. the original girl next door who died on May 13th. – MY DREAM IS YOURS (1949), TEA FOR TWO (1950), YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN (1950), LULLABY OF BROADWAY (1951), CALAMITY JANE (1953), YOUNG AT HEART (1954), LOVE ME OR LEAVE ME (1955), THE PAJAMA GAME (1957), TEACHER’S PET (1958), THE TUNNEL OF LOVE (1958), PILLOW TALK (1959)*, PLEASE DON’T EAT THE DAISIES (1960), LOVER COME BACK (1961), BILLY ROSE’S JUMBO (1962), THE THRILL OF IT ALL (1963), SEND ME NO FLOWERS (1964), THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT (1966)

*Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress