IN the first ten minutes of Keanu Reeves’s actioner the man in a designer black suit has been shot at, stabbed, beaten to a pulp and run over twice. By the time he jumps on a horse and battles assassins on motorbikes while riding through rush hour Manhattan it seems as natural as him strolling into a library and checking out a book. Which reminds me: at one point he kills someone with a book.

It would not be John Wick without a triple digit body count and a long list of creative ways to kill people. And all of this, as one character reminds him, because of a dog.

To recap: A-grade assassin Wick had retired from the killing game following the loss of his wife. His only pleasures in life being a Beagle puppy and his classic car, Wick lived as peaceably as a monk until some rotters stole his car and killed his dog. Thereafter, Wick has been engaged in a retaliation quest with enough violence to make Game of Thrones look like a baby shower. As every dog lover will say, fair enough.

The third instalment of the franchise finds Wick with a $14 million bounty on his head for killing someone on the sacred grounds of the Continental Hotel, a sort of Four Seasons for criminals run by the delightfully twinkly Winston (Ian McShane). Now with a new dog in tow (a gorgeous grey Staffie), Wick must find a way to stay alive long enough to plead his case with the elite crime lords.

It’s look-away violent stuff, with fight scenes that go on forever. But the pleasure in John Wick lies not in the combat but the camaraderie (John doesn’t have many chums but the ones he does are good ones), the supporting cast (which here includes Halle Berry as fellow assassin Sofia, and Anjelica Huston as a ballet director from John’s past), and don’t forget the dogs.

Or Reeves, for that matter. Though his total dialogue would struggle to fill a side of A4, the former Matrix star has charisma to burn. By the time two hours are up, Wick is once again living up to the Latin in the title, desiring peace but preparing for war. Fetch, John, fetch.

From one actioner to another, though this one rather more grounded. Arctic (12A)**** stars Mads Mikkelsen as the sole survivor of a plane crash. Though there is evidence of his suffering (watch out when he takes his socks off) he is the picture of resilience, planning for a rescue he hopes will come. When he sights a helicopter it looks like his luck is in, or perhaps not. The directorial debut of Joe Penna, Arctic is a tightly scripted, surprisingly moving picture that knows when to be quiet, and when to scare the snowballs out of an audience. And all with barely a word spoken by Mikkelsen.

Arctic: GFT and Filmhouse, Edinburgh