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MOVIE REVIEW: When Reality Came Crashing Into “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”

I am crazy about the John Wick movies (okay, maybe not the second) and this new one does not disappoint. It’s like a shinier, rowdier, deadlier version of the first, but made better with even more dogs. I don’t need to write a summary of the John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum plot, do I? You already know that John Wick is going to kill a bunch of slick bad guys while making it look like an art form. That’s why we go to these movies, right? To scream, laugh, cover our eyes, and ultimately have a great time. That’s exactly what I did for about 3/4 of the movie until one scene in particular sucked the air out of my lungs.
John Wick and an ally load up several guns and start shooting helmeted villains while music blares. It isn’t anything new for the franchise, but this time it felt too close to the things I see on the news on an near nightly basis. A heavily armed man walks through a building and shoots every person he sees with the only intent of killing them.
I was instantly pulled out of the movie and back to the ride I’d given my teenage daughter to school that morning. She had been describing all the places she would hide in her school and worse, the least safe places she could be when the shooting started.
I couldn’t watch John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum through the same eyes after that. I could only think about the disenfranchised, angry people who would watch this scene and how it might affect them. I couldn’t cheer for Wick anymore because I realized how scenes like this desensitize even me.
Look, I’m not asking for a violence free John Wick. That’s the last thing I want. The best scenes from these films are not the body-count elevating shootouts, though. John Wick battling motorcycle thugs while riding a horse through the city? Give me that all day long! John Wick in a knife fight with tiny but equally treacherous ninjas? I’ll squeal and stomp my feet through the whole thing. Even John Wick in a shootout with a particularly nasty bad guy who’s just GOTTA be taken down? Yes yes yes! But can we rethink John Wick-walks-through-an-open-room-shooting-the-nameless-and-faceless so I can get back to loving him? Oh, and definitely more dogs next time, too. (A)
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  1. I agree. John Wick is too violent. We just watched John Wick 2 and liked the story/action but about half way through the violence was just too much. Just like you said…we found ourselves wondering…in this day of gun violence….who is watching this? This is no longer acceptable. We had to turn it off. We will not be going to see the 3rd for the reasons you described.

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