Volume Eight, Issue Twenty
“Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter Three: Parabellum”
We’ve seen what John Wick, the man, the myth, the legend, the “Babayaga” can do in two movies already, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that there’s little gas in the tank for a third go round. But if you think John Wick: Chapter Three: Parabellum would see Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski limping over the finish line, you’re dead wrong, cause Parabellum stands as easily the best action film of the year, and I have a very hard time believing that anything will top it.
Picking up immediately after the events of John Wick Chapter Two, the latest film finds Wick (and his trusty dog) on the run from, well, everybody. After murdering a high profile mob boss on the grounds of the Continental Hotel (the “sacred grounds” of the assassins), Wick is enemy number one, with a $14 million bounty on his head, limited allies, and no where to hide. His quest to undo his “ex-communicado” status takes him from New York City to Casablanca, where he meets up with Sophia (Halle Berry), who offers to help him, but at a cost. What follows is a hail of bullets, bodies, and even more weird John Wick lore than ever before.
It’s really unfair to all other action movies that the John Wick movies exist. Everything about these films, from the way they’re shot to the action choreography is on a whole other level, elevating the action movie genre to a status that it hasn’t seen since Terminator 2 or The Matrix. Just like the other films in the series, Parabellum‘s gunfights, car chases, and sword fights are choreographed so well that you’ll wonder why you even bother watching other action films (except The Raid, of course). While some of the plot of this installment may get a little too out there for some people, the action sequences are so well done that they’re really just an excuse to get to the next one.
Of course, as great Parabellum is, it does drag a little bit in the middle of the film, and it starts off so strong that the action towards the end doesn’t land quite as hard as the action from the beginning (though that may be just me being desensitized to all of the crazy action). Halle Berry’s Sophia is also not in the film as much as you’d think from the trailers. There’s not a lot of explanation for the rules of the assassins and the secret criminal underworld as there was in the first two films, but like I mentioned before, the action sequences are so good that you’ll forgive the movie for any of it’s faults.
John Wick: Chapter Three: Parabellum is easily the biggest movie in the franchise, and while it has a few growing pains with the larger story, it still remembers that the heart of this franchise was two things: insane, practical action sequences, and John Wick’s love of his dearly departed wife. Keanu Reeves is really fantastic here, and that’s largely due to his dedication to this movie series. Of course, the door is open at the end of this installment for another adventure with Wick, and I’ll be there day one to see how Reeves and Stahelski top themselves.