Review: JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM Offers More Fast-Paced Keanu Reeves Action

FIRST IMPRESSION

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum offers more of the same highly-stylized and intense action, so while it may not be as elegant or intelligent as its predecessor, it's still a ton of fun.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is the newest entry into the action franchise starring Keanu Reeves as the eponymous assassin. Set immediately following the events of the last film, this entry follows Wick as he tries to escape the contract on his head after being declared a persona non grata for breaking the rules of the assassins’ High Council.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the movie is that it seems to ignore the last five minutes of the prior entry. The last film ends with the contract having already been announced, and when this movie begins, he is still during his head-start time. The fact that this is the biggest complaint to be had about the film should be pretty revealing, but it does steal some of the movie’s authenticity.

This film’s story is also much simpler than that of other entries, although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first movie was a somewhat straightforward, but still relentlessly enjoyable revenge tale. The second was something much more complex and nuances. This entry takes the series in yet another (obvious) direction, a survive-the-night thriller in which the protagonist must face obstacles repeatedly until success or death. This does give the film an element of unpredictability because, despite the fact that you can get a good idea of what is going to happen in the individual beats of the story, you will have no idea what the next beat is going to be.

parabellum rain
Keanu Reeves stars as ‘John Wick’ in JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM. Photo by: Niko Tavernise.

At this point, it’s safe to assume that if you are watching the third movie, you will have watched the other two. As such, there isn’t a ton of development for the pre-existing main characters. We pick up the story in medias res, so if you don’t have that character foundation, you may not enjoy this film apart from its wonderful action sequences. That being said, for fans of the franchise, this will serve as a satisfying continuation of the arcs you will have seen in past movies for Wick, Winston, and the Bowery King. Chiron, the concierge of the Continental and one of the most enjoyable supporting characters in past films, gets a bigger and deeper role in this movie, and it is awesome to see where the film takes him. The new character Sofia (portrayed by Halle Berry) is an interesting addition even if she is a bit underused.

Additionally, while not living up to the world-building excellence of the second entry, this movie does a solid job of exploring some of the mythology of the assassins’ world. This entry gives us a glimpse into yet another aspect of their organization: the High Council. The introduction of the Adjudicator as a concept and character in the world is very intriguing. Again, this film will make you want to spend even more time in this world, and hopefully a long-rumored TV spin-off focused on The Continental will eventually deliver.

That being said, the movie still recaptures most of the magic that makes the series work because it is so action-packed and intense throughout. There can’t be more than fifteen minutes of the runtime that is comprised of something other than action sequences, and that brief time isn’t wasted, being spent on moments that prep you for the next big action scene. If you enjoy films that let you turn your brain off and watch some cool fights, this is sure to be a blast for you.

parabellum horse
Keanu Reeves stars as ‘John Wick’ in JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM. Photo by: Niko Tavernise.

Undeniably the best part of this franchise is its creative fight choreography that features different styles. The first movie was gritty, Chapter 2 is dance-like, and Parabellum is, in a way, campier and aims to elicit laughter from the audience. This film really allows the sets to get involved in the action, some of the best moments in the movie playing off of the locations in which the scene is set. There is a fight involving a book that rivals the pen scene from the last film.

The rest of the movie’s execution is also very solid. The style of the subtitles is pretty campy, as it was in the other films, but at this point, it works rather well. The cinematography is excellent, capturing the action with great fluidity. Additionally, the score is very good, doing a phenomenal job of setting the movie’s tone and drawing you into the action.

The actors all do a fine job in their roles, but this is a film that isn’t particularly demanding in what it asks of its performers emotionally. Instead, the actors are supposed to play it very over-the-top and cheesy, and are set to succeed as long as they can handle the choreography. This role seems like it was made for Reeves, and he seems to be enjoying it immensely. Hopefully Hollywood will leave his action persona to this and not attempt to put him in cheap knockoffs. Ian McShane is also great in his role, having a few moments in which his personality is allowed to truly shine. Mark Dacascos, who plays the movie’s primary antagonist, is absolutely phenomenal in the role. This is his first major film role, a majority of his previous work being in TV and smaller movies, so hopefully this will allow him to breakout.

Overall, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum was very enjoyable. As a fan of the franchise, it is pretty much exactly what you want. In context of the series, it ranks higher than the first, but doesn’t quite match the second.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum opens in theaters on May 17.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

The 100 | Inside: Matryoshka | The CW

The 100 is new Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW, and available next day on The CW App: http://go.cwtv.com/genHNDyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About THE 100: The human race returns, after a 97-year exile in space, to a wildly transformed Earth...only to discover that the human race had never truly left. Clarke found herself forced to lead…

Power Season 6 | 2019 Essence Festival | STARZ

The cast of Power attended the 2019 Essence Festival. Power Season 6 premieres August 25 on STARZ. #Power #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Power: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Get your free trial of the STARZ app: http://starz.tv/WatchSTARZYT Like Power on Facebook: http://starz.tv/PowerFacebookYT Follow Power on Twitter: http://starz.tv/PowerTwitterYT Follow Power on Instagram: http://starz.tv/PowerInstagramYT Like STARZ…

Sneak Peek of Part 2 | Shangri-La | SHOWTIME Documentary Series

Sneak peek of Part 2 of 4. Breakthroughs often happen when no one is looking. Rick chats with Mike D, LL Cool J and Chuck D about the early days of Def Jam and the importance of breaking rules. #ShoDocs #ShangriLa Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: http://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get…

Los Espookys: The Craft with Muriel Parra Featurette | HBO

Muriel Parra talks about what inspires her to create and her experience as Costume Designer on Los Espookys. #HBO #LosEspookysHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 From the minds of Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, alongside Fred Armisen and Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live, comes the Spanish-language comedy Los Espookys. The half-hour, six-episode series…

On Becoming a God In Central Florida (2019) Official Trailer | Kirsten Dunst SHOWTIME Series

This dark comedy series stars Kirsten Dunst as Krystal Stubbs, a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of the cultish, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin in the first place. Premieres Sunday, August 25th at 10/9c on SHOWTIME. #OnBecomingAGod Subscribe to the Showtime channel…

‘Inside Cartoon Trump’s Royal Dinner With The Queen’ Ep. 5 Cold Open | Our Cartoon President

Cartoon President Trump and his family visit the United Kingdom to toast the Queen, plus address the Cartoon Meghan Markle and Cartoon John McCain controversies. #OurCartoonPresident Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order now: https://s.sho.com/1HbTNpQ Get Our Cartoon President merchandise now: https://s.sho.com/2BXsjGv Get more Our Cartoon President: Follow: https://twitter.com/CartoonPres Like: https://www.facebook.com/OurCartoonPresident…

Homecoming Season 1 – Episode 6: X-Ray Bonus Video | Prime Video

Go inside #HomecomingTV with X-Ray: Watch as Costume Designer Catherine Thomas and Director Sam Esmail detail the difficult task of determining the overall look of the wardrobe based on character personalities and their surroundings at the Homecoming facility. » Watch Homecoming Season 1 now exclusively with your Prime Membership: http://bit.ly/PrimeVideoHomecomingS1 » SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/PrimeVideoSubscribe About Homecoming:…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here