Picking up fifty minutes after Chapter 2, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum sees John declared ‘excommunicado’ and is on a mission to ensure that it’s reversed.
The John Wick series has been a pleasant surprise, I love the first two films. I love the first film for its simplicity and tremendously deft execution, and I love the second film for its complex world-building and bigger set pieces. I went into Parabellum with decently high expectations after the prior films deadly cliff-hanger. I came out with a smile, because this movie did not disappoint.
Not enough can be said about Keanu Reeves's physical dedication to the action; it makes such a difference to see such commitment expounded the way it is here because it allows for smoother camerawork, cleaner editing and an authenticity to really seeing the character in action. Once again, Reeves owns the title character.
Parabellum is fantastically shot, the editing is urbanely fluid, and watching Reeves pulling off the insane stunts and choreography is truly a sight to behold. This is how you do action!
Halle Berry shows an equal amount of canny dominion over the stunts as she spent months training for the movie. It really pays off. The second act features an amazing set piece involving Reeves, Berry and her attack dogs. It’s creative, it’s hilarious and it’s mellifluously executed. Having attack dogs being an aptly enjoyable new addition to the series.
Chad Stahelski imbues a consistency and an intensity to this movies pacing and John’s dilemma that made it feel grandiloquent, yet suspenseful - especially with the new ‘ninja’ villains, two of which are played by Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog) and Cecep Arif Rahman (The Assassin) from The Raid films.
This movie forces John to switch up his tactics in the face of new situations and tougher opponents, in how he fights and how he shoots. He may be “the guy you send to kill the boogeyman,” but this entire series has done an excellent job humanising him, and this one’s no different.
The action scenes, while elevated, also feature distinctively small moments of humour, which I found refreshing, something I never saw in the prior two movies and it made me feel that there was more confidence in the direction.
The world of John Wick has found a stringent fecundity through its nuances and secrets, it’s a fascinating world where small characters get to make a big impact like Laurence Fishburne and Anjelica Huston. I really enjoy it!
I do have a couple of issues. The movie is a bit too long, there are moments that distended my suspension of disbelief too much, and some of the acting isn’t exactly up to par. But John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum was prodigiously poised and a blast of a time.
Everything that this series consistently delivers on, this movie follows suit because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A badass action spectacle with an exceptional lead, don’t miss it!
Written by Seán Mac G.