Film Review – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum


DIRECTED BY: Chad Stahelski

STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Houston, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Lord Taylor, Jerome Flynn, Tobias Segal, Boban Marjanović, Arjon Bashiri, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, Tiger Chen, Vladimir Mihailov, Vlado Mihailov, Danish Bhatt and Candace M. Smith

 

SYNOPSIS

Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head – he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.

In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, skilled assassin John Wick returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.

John Wick: Chapter Three – Parabellum picks up immediately where Chapter Two finished off with John Wick on the run in Manhattan, New York as he’s a marked man after the unsanctioned killing of Santino d’Antonio at the New York City Continental. Whilst John Wick is excommunicado and fighting off the world’s most ruthless assassins as a $14m bounty is placed on his head, am Adjudicator from the High Table arrives to deliver severe consequences to those that helped John Wick assassinate the member of High Table, as well as to ensure John Wick is put down for good.

 

John Wick: Chapter Three feels gander in scale to the first two films combined, but that’s not without giving audiences a grief glimpse into the history of John Wick as we’re introduced to Anjelica Houston’s character, as well as bringing in Halle Berry’s Sofia when John Wick goes to Casablanca, Morocco. The other 90% of the film however is filled with violent action set pieces and choreographed fights and, to be honest, that’s exactly what we’re here for and I feel that’s exactly what the creative team thought and….the set pieces are bloody marvellous to witness on the big screen. From John Wick using literature and knowledge to take care of an assassin in a New York Public Library, to a brawl in an antique weapon store, the film opens with a bang with the fight choreography and it excels the further we get into the film, with one particular highlight being a bike chase/fight sequence on a bridge. There is of course a bout between John against two guys well known for playing the main protagonists of The Raid films (Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman) that I couldn’t help by smile watching because of how it played it. The world building of the assassin world is still as interesting as it was from the first film, as we start to get a glimpse into how the High Table works and also I love how Wick has a few fanboys within that underworld, none more so than this installments main villain Zero, played wonderfully by Mark Dacascos. Asia Kate Dillon has a solid presence on screen as the Adjudicator of the High Table, I’m interested in seeing more of her in future films. I’m glad Lance Reddick gets more to do as Charon here and Ian McShane is, of course, reliably great as always as Winston. Halle Berry is a scene stealer here as Sofia, as well as her German shepherds when they join in on the action. Dogs basically doing parkour, amazing to watch and that action sequence I’ll never get tired of watching because of them and I’d love to see more of Berry’s character and her dogs. As always, Keanu Reeves is absolutely suited for this role and is one of the brightest action franchise stars (alongside Tom Cruise) today. The cinematography work from Dan Laustsen here is top notch, especially in the final act fights and I paid attention to Tyler Bates score on the second viewing of the film this weekend and I must say I found that really good as well.

 

As great as the action is and how it’s more creative in its kills compared to how repetitive it felt in Chapter Two (hence why I didn’t like that..along with its villain), I can see how audiences could feel numb to it once we get to the final act. Another thing that make go against the films favour it terms of the overall enjoyment is that John Wick is literally a video game character we follow now that’s entered ‘God Mode’  level compared to everyone he comes up against. He gets stabbed, shot at, run over and yet given five to ten minutes he’s fine to go again, like a video game character gets their health bar full again after taking a five second breather. While Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King was a highlight from Chapter Two, here he feels like he’s hamming it up on a different level compared to everyone else around him. As for the assassin world that feels like it operates in the shadows and only a few people know it exists….there’s a few scenes where you feel like at least 70% of the New York population is aware of the Continental and how it operates, as well as turning a blind eye to certain fights and deaths that goes on in public areas.

 

VERDICT

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum continues the franchise tradition of having memorable action set pieces and great fight choreography, to the point that I believe this might be my favourite entry in the John Wick franchise. Keanu Reeves is solid in the role, Mark Dacascos is an entertaining villain as Zero, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick are solid as ever, Asia Kate Dillon is good and I wish to see more of her character. As for Halle Berry, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear there’s a potential spinoff in development by the end of the summer as her character Sofia and her German shepherds absolutely steal the show. Chapter 3 was an absolute blast to watch on the big screen and easily the most entertaining film of the year so far. 8/10

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