About John Wick: Chapter 3– Parabellum
Director by: Chad Stahelski
Written by: Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins & Marc Abrams
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Asia Kate Dillon & Mark Dacascos
Release date: May 17, 2019
Rating: R (for pervasive strong violence, and some language)
Running time: 131 min.
The original John Wick is one of my most pleasant surprise films of the 2010’s (click here to see the whole list). I wasn’t expecting much heading into the theater and walked out with a new all-time favorite film. With John Wick: Chapter 2 in 2017, director Chad Stahelski and company proved that there is plenty left in the tank of this quirky, balls-to-the-wall action franchise. Now, the exhaustively titled John Wick: Chapter 3– Parabellum cements the franchise as one of the greatest American action film franchises ever.
The third entry picks up almost exactly where Chapter 2 left off, with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) on the run with one hour to get his affairs in order before he is declared excommunicado and every gun-toting, katana-wielding assassin in the world tries cashing in on the $14 million bounty on Wick’s head.
The first thirty minutes of Parabellum feature some of the most exciting and imaginative action sequences in the series, if not all of film. There’s one fight in particular where the titular hitman utilizes a fun array of old-timey weapons displayed throughout an antique store to dispatch a gang of high-kicking ninjas. In another scene, Wick gets creative with a book to fend off an premature attempt on his life. I squealed out loud during both sequences more times than I care to admit and combined they’re enough for this reviewer to recommend paying the price of admission right off the bat.
Parabellum isn’t entirely all-out war. After the opening thrills, the world and story of Chapter 3 open up. We catch new glimpses behind the curtain of the assasinhood that John Wick and his fellow killers inhabit. We also travel to some gorgeous new locations and meet some memorable new characters, including Halle Berry’s Sophia. She’s the tough-as-nails manager of the Moroccan Continental who possesses a pair of snarling, scary dogs that can be a bad guy’s worst nightmare during a shootout. These canines are the standouts of a precisely choreographed and kinetically shot sequence wherein Sophia and John clear out a stronghold of trained militia. This sequence is also one of a handful that, despite their excessive entertainment value, feel a bit dragged out and ultimately leave Parabellum feeling overly long and dare I say exhaustive at times.
Then there’s the ending. Much like John Wick: Chapter 2, I had to reassess my expectations going into the film and reflect back on what the film actually gave me. Despite what I wanted, John Wick: Chapter 3 is not the definitive conclusion to a kickass trilogy. Instead, it’s very much the next chapter in an ongoing saga. And also like the last film, Parabellum ends on an tantalizing cliffhanger that promises yet another exhilarating installment.
Few sequels, let alone threequels, pull off what John Wick 3 does. It successfully maintains what made the first two films so great– the beautiful, graphic novel-esque cinematography; the brooding but badass score from composer Tyler Bates; the universally charismatic performances; the intriguing world building, including compelling consequences; and, of course, the high-octane action we’ve come to love and expect from one of these movies– and builds upon them on its way to delivering a sleek, stylish and action-packed new addition to the John Wick canon.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of five)
Those are my thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 3– Parabellum. Have you had a chance yet to check the film out? If not, do you plan on making the trip to the theater to do so? Jump down to the comments below and let me know your thoughts!