JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM is a glossy package of eye-candy sets and expertly choreographed fights. If you were a fan of the first two John Wick films, you will not be disappointed by this show-stopper sequel.
The third in the John Wick series is directed by Chad Stahelski. (Winston tells John the phrase “If you want peace, prepare for war;” parabellum means “prepare for war” in Latin.) Featured in the film are Keanu Reeves (Replicas), Halle Berry (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Ian McShane (Bolden), Laurence Fishburne (Blackish), Asia Kate Dillon (Billions), and Lance Reddick (DuckTales).
In John Wick: Chapter 2, expert assassin John Wick breaks a sacred rule by killing a man inside The Continental Hotel, a safe haven of the High Table organization. CHAPTER 3 picks up immediately after that. Wick finds himself with a $14 million dollar bounty on his head. Suddenly he’s the most wanted man in the world, and he’ll have to fight off scores of expert killers to survive. And when the target is the notorious John Wick, everyone wants a shot at killing him.
The story opens with a woman from the High Table’s control center saying, “John Wick: excommunicado.” With that, the chase is on. There are so many amazing gun-fu fights, all expertly choreographed and filmed on vivid, memorable set pieces. My favorite was set in a room full of skulls in glass cases. In that fight, Wick breaks no less than 6 glass cases as he fights off bad guys. There’s also a fight in the New York Public Library that has to be seen to be believed. I won’t spoil any other fight locations. Wick fights people basically everywhere he goes.
Asia Kate Dillon is a bad bitch as The Adjudicator, a powerful representative of the High Table in charge of enforcing its many rules. She chews the scenery and is a lovely addition to every scene she’s in. Halle Berry plays Sofia, John’s old friend and a killer who gets an unfortunately small role in the story. The acting is generally good, with most characters delivering their lines dramatically.
Wick has to walk the line between superhuman and human with blood and bones. It’s a thin line, but Keanu Reeves does a great job making every punch, kick, and slice seem like it hurts. Wick doesn’t wear protective headgear or anything, so at times it’s a little preposterous that no one shoots him from far off. But the fights are so epic that it’s easy to forget this, and Wick is likable and fun to root for. It’s a predictable story, but it’s never, ever boring.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM got a few big laughs at my screening, and I recommend seeing it in theaters to experience the grisly fight scenes with an audience. If you loved the first two, you’ll love this. And if you’ve never seen the previous two movies, you’ll still love it, it works perfectly well as a stand-alone movie. It’s John Wick doing what he does best: kicking ass in the most fun ways possible.