Halle Berry loves 'kicking stereotypes in the face' in John Wick 3

Bond Girl on her CV, an Oscar on her mantle-piece, a pretty bad rap song in her honour; at 52, Halle Berry is in her prime.

Now she joins Keanu Reeves in the cult action franchise John Wick as Sophia, a semi-retired assassin. 

But like the man John Wick, Sophia is not very good at retiring. Before you can say woof, she's armed to the teeth and taking down bad guys, her two trained attack dogs at her side.

Preparation for the role was intense. Berry crammed three years of martial arts training into a six month boot-camp for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.

She broke three ribs and doesn't even know how, confessing it's the hardest thing she's ever done in her life.

Chad Stahelski, director of all three John Wick movies, insists he did try to warn her.

"The first meeting was literally 45 minutes of 'you really don't want to do this', and 45 minutes of her saying 'yes I really do'. On the 46th minute, I conceded and she won," he says.

When Berry won her Oscar for Monster's Ball in 2002, she was the first African-American woman to win Best Actress.

There hasn't been another since.

Smashing Hollywood stereotypes is still very much her priority.

"I think so, especially as a woman of colour at my age in life, nothing makes me happier or prouder to kick these stereotypes in the face," says Berry.

It's not just stereotypes she kicks in the face with John Wick - she pretty much kicks every man and his dog in the face.

Did I just mention dogs? Oh yes, Sophia's arsenal includes assassins who are also actual dogs.

Dog lovers everywhere have a John Wick poster on their bedroom wall, now I suspect Sophia is gonna be going up there too.

Working with her canine co-stars was one of the major highlights of her Wickian adventurer

"It was amazing, they are beautiful animals, really smart, but they're also sweet, there is a sweetness to these dogs too and an eagerness to work," she says.

"That's what I learned, you have to work these dogs, they don't wanna sit around getting their belly scratched, they actually like to work and be as physical as they can be and I found them to be the happiest when they were doing that."

Not unlike Berry herself.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum has just hit Kiwi cinemas.