John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-?)

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domino harvey
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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-?

#26 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:44 pm


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DarkImbecile
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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-2019)

#27 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri May 10, 2019 1:27 pm

First reviews for the new entry seem to be very positive, especially when it comes to the choreography and production design of the main setpieces. Have to admit I'm oddly excited for this, given my lukewarm reaction to the first two; maybe there's just been a dearth of what I think of as "real" action movies as opposed to fully CGI fantasy films with occasional fight scenes.

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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-2019)

#28 Post by Cde. » Mon May 13, 2019 11:21 pm

The fight choreography is undeniably spectacular, and more fluid and cleanly shot even than part two. This film borrows a discipline and approach to action from the Raid films, not just cast. Unfortunately it also borrows a focus on shock and gore from The Raid 2 - the wit and physical comedy of John Wick 2 have been replaced with bones snapping, heads splitting, crotch chopping, all accompanied by disturbingly squelchy sound design. The side-effect of the protagonist's brutality being so lovingly fawned over is that it's hard to empathise with him even on the crude level we might have in the past - he is now merely the raging psychopath who serves as vehicle for more action, bigger scale, more explosion of flesh. And there is a lot. This movie brings to the screen the cognitive dissonance of video games, where a hero might be an everyman in cut scenes but then pitilessly dispatch thousands of faceless inferiors in between.
Initially the technique of the action is undeniably thrilling, but the point of excess is reached very early on. Choreography is very samey throughout, and coupled with Wick's superhero like invulnerability, the scenes eventually become tiresome and numbing.
An action movie for the Marvel generation, I guess. It also reminded me of Marvel (and The Raid 2) in the way it expects us to suddenly care about what happens to its characters and its world, which were never more than fun, weird ways to keep the plot going in previous installments and haven't picked up on any additional depth here. Very soap opera.

Glimpses of humanity are at a new low for the series, car-ad aestheticism and sheer numbing repetition to the action is at a new high. In its celebration of the destruction of bodies, slick, clinical surfaces, and it's sublimation of all else to the drive for bigger, meaner, more, Parabellum has traded what made the series fun for an all encompassing nihilistic cruelty.

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tenia
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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-2019)

#29 Post by tenia » Tue May 14, 2019 2:11 am

First French review I've read states this 3rd movie amps up even more the action scenes, but also is the first entry to thoroughly fail on the writing level, with the movie not having anything left to say halfway through (and showing) and the majority of the secondary characters being totally pointless.
However, it calls the first half hour "prodigious".

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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-2019)

#30 Post by Cde. » Tue May 14, 2019 2:41 am

The first half hour is the only time you'll really appreciate the action, because it's just the same thing over and over again afterwards.

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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-2019)

#31 Post by Finch » Tue May 14, 2019 5:35 pm

Cde. wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 11:21 pm
Glimpses of humanity are at a new low for the series (..) Parabellum has traded what made the series fun for an all encompassing nihilistic cruelty.
Maybe I'm being over-sensitive but I felt the second film already included some off-putting fawning admiration of weapons (the scene where the weapons dealer presents Wick with a choice of guns to pick from for the assassination mission) and the tone of the second film already felt more callous than the first. What you're describing makes me less and less keen on the third film.

The writing has always been somewhat iffy but listening to the dialogue from the trailer I thought, Christ, it's gotten worse. I liked the first film alright but two viewings of the second film have already soured me on this series. I'll concede that the second film has some very nice setpieces.

Finally, I can't stand Ian McShane's character in this. To me, Winston isn't any better than any of the other lousy roles McShane has been offered and accepted since Deadwood, and for me, it's gotten to the point that I find McShane's performances as lazy as the writing (I've not seen American Gods, though).


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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-2019)

#33 Post by Finch » Mon May 20, 2019 10:01 pm

John Wick 4 is happening and slated for 2021, according to Variety.

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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-?)

#34 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri May 24, 2019 10:25 pm

The first half-hour of John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum* tricked me into thinking the franchise might fully acknowledge the inherent absurdity of the world it has created and embrace a kind of hyper-violent comedy it has flirted with at times and hinted at in an early nod to Buster Keaton. Unfortunately, the film both starts to take the continuing expansion and development of the underground assassin society seriously again and the action devolves into mostly monotonous gunplay after
SpoilerShow
an enjoyably mismatched fight between Reeves' Wick and NBA player Boban Marjanovic, followed by a delightfully choreographed fight in an antique weapons shop that culminates with the darkly hilarious pin-cushioning of two villains with a dozen or so knives.

The entire Moroccan section of the film (including Halle Berry) is superfluous, and what could have been exploited as a change of scenery from the slick urban aesthetic present in every other minute of these films is so ineffectively utilized that it's a relief to end up back in a multi-level, all-glass room with neon psychedelic imagery flashing across giant screens in the background again. The third-act appearance of two of the best martial artists from the Raid films mostly serves as a reminder of how far the Wick films would have to evolve to reach that series' level of quality.

Still, because there's no action sequence as crushingly repetitive as the Italian tunnel shootout from the last film — the two worst set pieces here still add a wrinkle of attack dogs or insanely effective body armor to make them distinguishable from all the others — and because a handful of one-on-one or two-on-one fight scenes in the finale are well-staged, I'll say that Parabellum is probably the best of the series so far. Ultimately, though, the margin of difference is small enough between all three films that I'd argue that if they don't do something substantially different in the next installment, they'll have outlived whatever marginal value they might have as vehicles for above-average choreography and stunts, even in an action-movie landscape depressingly devoid of actual humans doing actual stunts in recognizably real settings. Since each of these films makes exponentially more money than the last one, any hope that they'd abandon their reliance on video-game-style gun massacres and the diminishing returns of adding more layers and rules to the already convoluted assassin society and instead just try to consistently be as gruesomely entertaining as the first half-hour of this entry is probably a pipe dream.

*These titles are getting as unwieldy as late Mission: Impossible entries already!

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Re: John Wick Franchise (Chad Stahelski/David Leitch, 2014-?)

#35 Post by tenia » Sat May 25, 2019 5:50 am

John Wick 3 felt like a significant step back from the previous entry. Mostly, the issues are that it doesn't want to stop extending its pointless silly mafia universe, but if there was anything making sense in the way the High Table works, Parabellum makes an appalling job at explaining it (for something that seems that entwined in order and rules, everyone seemed way too stupid to be a part of it). This results in antagonists whose motivations are pretty much undecipherable, preventing me to feel compelled by their chase after John Wick (or, vice versa, in feeling for John trying to escape them). Since John is still pretty much invincible, that doesn't help.

The issue also is that extending this universe meant extending the characters' roster, and while JW2 wasn't too bad in this regard, this third entry has a very hard time balancing all those. Dacascos is a very bad idea ("hey, what if the badass bad guy actually turns into Bozo the clown towards the end ?"), Fishburne is nothing more than a glorified cameo, Berry doesn't fare much better and exists the movie as quick as she enters it, and even McShane gets his character "desecrated" in order to create a vastly artficial open ending. All this makes it look as if the developments in this episode just slides by on John, and on us by extension, despite him being the main push for the movie. He's having the movie in his hands, yet, he undergoes it (though I laughed at Said Taghmaoui ending up here).

Oh, and Tyler Bates OST is awful.

Still, the (fortunately numerous enough - but only just) action sequences are pure visual treats. While the first half hour is something to remember (especially the hilarious knives shot - musuem ? - that had the entire theater laughing), the Casablanca choreography with the dogs are fantastic, and the later fist fights are very impressive too. Stahelski favors again longer takes and wider shots and it works perfectly. It does get a bit repetitive when a bad guy gets kicked in the nuts for the humpteenth time (the nuts-count is proably as high as the bodybount), but they're so well conceived that I was very willing to overlook that.
The production design also is beautiful, though the last third heavily leans on reproducing the technological mirrored room from JW2. It's still a beauty to look at, but it feels slightly overdone, and more unfortunately not as nice : the photo and the production design are similar, but the framing and mise-en-scène aren't as good.

Hopefully, JW4 will be a much more direct movie and will drop trying so much to build tons of needless context.

(addendum : I never found the 2 Raid movies that compelling. I have barely any memory of the 1st one except that I felt it was an "above-average choreography and stunts", while the 2nd movie endlessly tries extending its universe - just like JW2 and JW3 - in its first 45 minutes, which I usually skip when I watch it again on video)

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