In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
When Keanu Reeves first took on the role of John Wick, it was one of those intriguing cases of an actor’s persona merging seamlessly into a fictional character. Reeves’s own taciturn intensity seemed to highlight the character’s compelling mix of lethal resolve and dryly humorous charm, fierce athleticism and suave grace. He also brought something that changed the approach: a rare ability to do his own fights, mostly eliminating that last buffer between audiences and convincing action—the body-double—and making things that much more immersive. That, in turn, sparked in audiences a fascination for this quietly lethal man, a man who simply wants to live in peace with his dog following the loss of his beloved wife Helen.
In Parabellum, things have changed, though John Wick’s hope to even take a breath, let alone find peace, has never seemed more improbable. The character who once doggedly pursued revenge is now the prey, surviving solely on Helen’s memory.
In this chapter, Reeves sees the character as battling himself as much as the entire world. “There’s a battle he’s becoming more conscious of in Parabellum, a battle between two sides of himself that I call John and John Wick,” Reeves explains. “John is the guy who just wants to be left alone, who seeks a quiet life in which to remember his wife. In order to do that he has to engage the side of himself that is John Wick, the side that knows how to fight to the death. John Wick is the only one who can help John survive.”
At his age, the actor admits the training is not getting any easier, but his resolve to bring out the best in Wick is as high as ever. “Sometimes I would think that maybe the training for this film was hard because of my age, but then I realized no, this one would be hard even if I wasn't 54 because there’s so much action in Parabellum,” he laughs. “It’s demanding but I like it that way.”
At this point, he says one question keeps him coming back for more every time: “How do we continue to stay true to what we created with John Wick, while constantly upping the bar?”
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Starring Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, and Laurence Fishburne, ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum’ is now showing in cinemas nationwide.