Oh, John Wick…
I don’t think three movies in it’s much of a spoiler for me to say that his dog dies in the first one. There’s a reason I have to talk about this.
My “insta-hate” gimmick for a movie is to kill a dog (see my much maligned Alita Battle Angel review that I still stand by today).
I hate that concept so much that I refused to see the first two John Wick movies when they came out because everybody knows the dog dies.
“But Scott,” my friends would say, “it’s such a great movie!” Don’t care. I’m out.
“But Scott,” they’d argue, “I don’t think you understand the wrath this dog’s death invoked…” Don’t care.
“Seriously Scott,” they’d plea, “he kills everybody in the movie because of that dog.” And then, after the second one came out, “He is still killing everybody he comes in contact with over the dog—you’d really love it.” But no.
It was only after I was assured by a trusted neutral party that that the Baba Yaga known as John Wick would spend not one, not two, but THREE entire movies on a ruthless, pitiless, murderous, rage-fueled killing spree avenging his fallen puppy that I thought, “okay, that might be enough to make it okay.”
So I watched the first two movies back to back before seeing the third. I have two things to say about that:
1. Wow. He really killed a lot of people over that dog (and they all deserved it). Well done!
2. I am so glad I watched the first two because I would have had absolutely no idea what was going on in the third one without the back story.
I don’t generally like movies with a lot of gratuitous violence; however, I maintain this was not gratuitous since it was righteous fury for dog-murder so with that understood, I LOVED IT!
But seriously, you absolutely have to see the first two before watching this one. This is not a movie you can go into blind.
This third installment picks up the moment the second one ended with Wick being given one hour to prepare for excommunicado status. As one might expect, he takes full advantage of every minute and the second the bell tolls, the rest of the movie is basically just him killing anybody who gets in his way as he tries to deal with things above the table.
While there were some disappointing developments, I must say that that the most exciting twist was the fact that this third installment was left wide open for Chapter 4 and I can’t wait! I’m officially a fan!
The only negative thing I have to say is there was an odd casting decision. One of the countless people trying to kill him was the guy who played “The Chairman” in the original Iron Chef. He did a great job and I’m glad to see the guy working at all, but it was a little distracting as I kept waiting for him to scream, “Allez cuisine!”
On the mild spoiler side, where we saw a defenseless puppy die in the first one, we get to see two highly trained K9s rip the balls off of more mobsters than I can count in this one and it officially made me want to get a German Shepherd. I love my Shih Tzu, but seriously, those dogs were freaking awesome!
So the morale of this story is to listen to your friends when they tell you you’d like a movie. That and if anyone hurts your dog you should burn their fucking world down.
Two worthwhile life lessons if ever there were!