Taking place an hour after “John Wick 2” (2017), the latest chapter in the hyper-violent, pro-gun franchise, find our killer ready to defend his life again. The more of these films they produce, the less plot they accommodate. In one scene John Wick kills some people, then literally moves up a level, via steps, just like in a video game, to continue killing until you reach the final boss. Director Chad Stahelski has presided over the trilogy, a rare original film that has spawned it’s own mini-franchise, thanks to a society hungry for violence and brutality on screen. “John Wick 3” is an endless buffet of stabbing, neck-breaking, and body-mutilating deaths for viewers who crave mindless, inconsequential killing.

You have to go back to the first film to understand the motivation this retired killer-for-hire has for taking down the underground organization he’s affiliated with. They killed his dog. Wick (Keanu Reeves) broke one of the many rules, killing one of his enemies inside the protected and off-limits Continental Hotel in New York. Winston (Ian McShane) The Manager, unfortunately has to mark Wick as a target. A bounty of $14 million is placed on his head, with every deadly assassin in the city wanting to collect. Wick’s only hope of survival is cashing in all his special coins (various allegiances and ties) in order to get out of the city and find mercy from high upon the food chain. Meanwhile, the deadly Russian hitman organization has sent in an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) to hold anyone accountable for assisting Wick.

The script for both sequels isn’t interested in deepening the plot as it’s concerned with the organization or this world in which these killers flourish. The script also has little interest in reminding the audience, who likely only saw the first two films one time, why all of this killing is so important to Wick. New players in this sequel barely get an introduction. Anjelica Huston stays up all night in an old theater directing dance rehearsals we surmise. Halle Berry’s character appears midway through the film for one large action sequence, she is someone he used to know apparently. The two hour running time is devoutly reserved for fighting and nothing more. “Guns, lots of guns,” Reeves repeats one of his famous lines from “The Matrix.” Indeed more and more cast members from that trilogy have been folded into this one.

“John Wick 3” might be the first non-stop action film that simultaneously manages to be boring due to its extensive repetitious nature. Killing people on horseback, killing people from a speeding motorcycle, with knives, fists, even a book. Imagine watching a movie where the actors just talked for two hours and rarely did anything else, maybe changed venues every now and then. That would bore audiences who expect action scenes, romance, drama, comedy, etc. “John Wick 3” is the inverse of that notion, removing character development, plotting, dialogue and intrigue, by having one man just kill hordes of men for two hours straight. The editing, cinematography and even some new interior locations in The Continental are quite impressive technically, and perhaps more interesting for those looking for anything to break up the monotony of incorrigible behavior that’s being advocated and glamorized.

Final Thought – Rarely has a movie worked so hard to advocate and glamorize violence and gun use.

Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor with Texas Art & Film, which is based in Galveston. Visit texasartfilm.com.

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