My issues with guns are not simply limited to the carnage they cause in the real world. Cinematically, guns are often inert and, frankly, boring. When I like an action film, rarely do they prominently feature firearms. Take what I believe to be the three high watermarks of action cinema of the last 10 years: “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “The Raid 2.” These are films that thrive on their kineticism that let us marvel at the choreography. Car chases, hand-to-hand fights, jumping out of airplanes. These are the thrills best suited to action cinema. Always moving, always changing, and always carefully choreographed.
The first two “John Wick” films occasionally implement these sequences, but they are extremely gun-focused. Yes, these sequences are precisely put together, but there is a limit to my enjoyment when ultimately it is a guy standing and shooting at another guy who is standing and shooting. Making it even more distancing is that John Wick is in a completely bulletproof suit, thus minimizing any chance of him sustaining severe gunshot wounds. Combine these kinds of action set pieces with an overall adoration of guns, and I just found myself lost amongst the praise and adulation.
A regular person who hasn’t particularly enjoyed the first two entries of a film series would probably just stop seeing them. Well, I am no ordinary person, and out of a sense of obligation to the cinematic medium, I went back to the theater to see “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.” And it was watching that movie that my entire perspective on the series flipped.