“John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” (Lionsgate)

Keanu Reeves stars in a scene from the movie "John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Lionsgate)

By Catholic News Service

Slick but nasty action picture in which the assassin of the title (Keanu Reeves), cut off from the worldwide criminal enterprise he previously served and with a sizable bounty on his head, battles hordes of opponents (most prominently Mark Dacascos). Among the few willing to help him are a fellow Belarus-born agent (Anjelica Huston) of the syndicate, a Morocco-based enforcer (Halle Berry) and the manager (Ian McShane) of a New York hotel that serves as a sanctuary for mobsters.

While a complexly structured alternate reality and dark humor serve as window dressing for returning director Chad Stahelski’s expansion of a franchise that began in 2014, the real order of business is reveling in the resourceful ways the protagonist finds to dispose of his enemies. The film’s appeal to its audience’s worst instincts is shameless.

Pervasive violence, much of it gory, numerous gruesome images, a few crude and crass expressions. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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