The John Wick series of movies is perhaps one of the best franchises to come out in the last few years. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is the latest entry, set for release on May 16 2019.
Like Equilibrium, the film’s heady mix of hand to hand combat and gunplay is sublime and simply to die for. It also helps a ton that Keanu Reeves is a badass. Yeah, he proved it when he was Neo but it’s still awesome to see he’s still one decades later.
Thanks to Golden Village for inviting us to the premiere, we’re able to get the review out right as it opens nationwide today!
What is John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum?
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is the latest in the line of John Wick movies. It stars Keanu Reeves as the titular character, a retired assassin who is dragged out of retirement to right some personal wrongs and is then caught up in a whirlwind of events which ultimately leads to him being marked for death.
To truly appreciate the movie, you’ll NEED to have watched the first two installments. Since the movies all take place within a span of days, returning characters, plots and events are all referenced heavily with no exposition for newcomers.
Parabellum picks off immediately after the end of the second film, with Wick on the run (with his dog), looking for safe haven as the clock counts down to 6PM, when he’ll be an open target for every assassin out in New York.
Like all of the other movies, it combines slick gunplay, awesome fights and a simple to follow plot.
This time around it’s as basic as you can get; survival. Wick has everybody out for his head and surviving, even for the somebody like him, won’t be easy.
Even the Baba Yaga has to deal with consequences.
We learn a little more about Wick’s origins and background in the early going of the movie, and it’s an incredibly tease.
Suffice to say, there are shades of the Red Room (where the Black Widow trained). If there ever comes a day when the main series ends, I’ve no doubt this will be mined for prequels about how Wick grew up.
Still, the plot this time around seems a bit forced.
I got the feeling that the writers seem to have written themselves into a corner with Wick being headhunted by everybody. While it makes for some frenetic action, it also makes for a deus ex machina reveal about a third of the way through the movie; a way out for John that doesn’t involve him dead that seemingly comes out of nowhere.
It comes as too sudden, too easy…like lightning on a clear day. It’s clearly taking the easy way out, without laying any foundation or groundwork beforehand to even hint of the possibility of such a thing. If there’s anything I really dislike about the movie, it’s this.
Speaking of action, Parabellum rarely lets up on it. Even when it does, it’s to prepare you for an even more hardcore scene.
To put it in simpler terms, think of most movies as being 75% story, and 25% action. John Wick is 90% action (it’s one set piece after another) with 5% scene setting for more action and the last 5% for exposition and plot.
It seems like a totally insane way to build a movie, but it worked very well for past movies in the series and it works in this one too. In fact, if anything, the action parts are juiced up even more in this one.
John’s shown to be an incredible badass. If you thought he was good in past movies, wait till you see him in this one. When he tangles with the High Table elite forces near the climax, he shows that even fully armored, nigh bulletproof suits can’t stop him from killing them.
Wick always seems to find himself in outlandish locations throughout the movie to fight in. Early on, there’s a brutal knife throwing fight scene set in a collector’s storage facility then followed almost immediately by another scene in a stable…in the middle of New York City.
It keeps on escalating throughout the movie, with the final fight happening in an all-glass location called the Administration Room. As you’d expect, it’s a gloriously destructive battle, with glass shattering everywhere.
I’m not complaining; it sure beats the monotony of fighting in generic alleys or buildings and it adds character and flair to the whole experience.
A new challenger appears!
Incredibly that also applies to the new main antagonists; the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) and a ninja master called Zero (Mark Dacascos).
The Adjudicator is all business; she never fights, or carries a gun but yet is feared (and respected) by all. All she does is show up, brandishes a token that signifies her rank (sort like the gold coins Wick and the others use to barter and pay for things) and everybody falls in line.
On the opposite end is Zero.
Introduced as a sushi chef, it’s quickly revealed how badass he and his crew are as they stealthily decimate the Roma Gypsies that aided Wick and rain retribution down on the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and his crew for them helping Wick in the second film. It’s never explicitly mentioned who they used to work for, but it’s pretty much safe to say they’re ninjas.
In a neat twist, the movie introduces a new side to his character in the last acts of the film, as he’s revealed to have a fanboy-ish side to him. He gushes over John Wick, claiming how similar they are, how he’s always admired Wick’s skills. It brings unexpected humor to the film, and it’s even funnier with Keanu’s deadpan delivery and reactions.
The bottom line.
There are two things I really dislike about John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. I mentioned the deus ex machina reveal already. The second is the cliffhanger ending.
Come on man…this is the second movie (IN A ROW) where it ends in a cliffhanger! At least have some closure for goodness’ sake! Now I need to wait a few more years for the next one! That’s horrible!
With that out of the way, the latest installment in the series is definitely a worthy sequel. It pretty much ups the ante in every aspect you can think of; location, setpieces, new bad guys…you name it, it’s probably improved and upgraded in this one.
It goes without saying that if you’re a fan of the movies, this is a no-brainer. You HAVE to watch it.
If you’re new, you might want to watch the first two before diving into this one. You’ll still love the movie if you don’t, but you’ll love it a LOT more if you do.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is out in theaters from May 16 2019.
Awesome movie. Tons of action, lots of visceral deaths. Watch watch watch.
– Tons of action.
– Tons of action.
– Tons of action.
– Cliffhanger ending.
– Some plot elements.