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John Wick 3 (no spoilers)

OK, so I’m just going to get it out of my system. We all have our favorites and Keanu Reeves has been one of mine since I first saw him as dopy Ted. Then came the conflicted Neo, and later my all-time fave movie of his, Destination Wedding.  He flings himself into all sorts of career risks and all of them work in his favor. Because Reeves in person is so laid-back and gentlemanly, it’s easy to overlook his history, unless an avid fan. (Passivity is not in the lexicon or personality of anyone who yearned to play pro hockey.) The eclectic range of genres in his film history is all over the place. He personifies my personal adage of: If you can do comedy well, you can do anything. He swings from courtly aristocrat (Dangerous Liaisons) to deranged avenger (JW2) without a misstep.

Anyway, I liked JW3. I wasn’t too impressed with 2, as you can tell, but 3 has incorporated some very creative and outré enhancements to a genre I don’t usually pay to see. And it has Reeves in it, so off I went to the cinema, especially after seeing The Impossible Dream trailer.

What stood out:

Halle Berry. You have to see to believe the kick-ass-ness. And her dogs.

Next, fight scenes with numerous opponents attacking separately. What we are usually served is a situation where the hero/heroine is surrounded by assailants coming at them one at a time. Not in this flick. It’s all pile on the rabbit, if you remember that old Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Angelica Huston as a Russian mafia queen

Xbox addicts are going to mainline this puppy. Their fingers will twitch through all the shoot-em ups. I loved the unique use of music for the finale shoot-out underscored by Vivaldi. Classical music, for me, allowed for suspension of belief and enhancement of the choreography needed for sustained violence. After a while,  constant glass breakage and auto weapon discharge sags into over-the-top sensory overload.

Much of what occurs in films of this genre has to be taken with a sense of humor or a chunk of salt. I mean, how many times can you get kicked in the head, ribs and chest and still function?

Worry about the story arc started to nag about halfway through. I know what I hoped to see and started to lose confidence in the plotline. The worries got resolved by the film’s end when I understood the reason for the red herrings.

Thumbs are up for JW3.

On CD: Destroyer

Nicole Kidman does a tour de force in this grim odyssey of a cop’s relentless pursuit of a stone cold criminal in order to expiate her mistakes of past and present. Kidman is remarkable and believable, almost unrecognizable. She would have benefited from a less heavy-handed makeup artist. That was overdone, and I think unfair to Kidman, and because of that bit of distraction, stole from her ability to relate all that the character was and going through, without slathering on the makeup with a density more appropriate for stage than screen. Kidman’s work in this film is a revelation. I got lost in her, not the story.

Next up: Rocketman

M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)

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