Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) 2h 10min | Action, Crime, Thriller | 17 May 2019 (USA) Summary: 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.
Countries: USALanguages: English, Russian, Japanese, Italian

The hunter becomes the hunted in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. After committing an unsanctioned killing in the New York City Continental, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is declared “excommunicado” and a $14 million bounty is placed on his head by the High Table, though the Continental’s manager Winston (Ian McShane) gives John an hour head start. With every assassin around the world after him, John Wick seeks the help of The Director (Keanu Reeves), in order to travel to Morocco, where he is reunited with fellow assassin Sofia (Halle Berry), who owes to debt to John. Meanwhile, a High Table Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) chastises everyone who helped John, including Winston and The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), and enlists the services of assassin Zero (Mark Dacascos) to finish John Wick off.

Keanu Reeves has been enjoying a late-career resurgence with the John Wick series of action films, directed by Chad Stahelski, who was previously Reeves’ stunt double on The Matrix. Beginning as a relatively straight-forward revenge story, each successful film in this series further expanded this world run by a secret organization of assassins. This has also resulted in the films becoming less grounded in reality, with John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum probably being the most outlandish of the bunch. Unlike the first two films, where John Wick had the advantage of having access to the resources available to all assassins in this world, this new entry has John Wick as an outcast, who is just trying to find a way to live at all costs.

By this point, the inciting incident of “they stole his car and killed his dog” from the original John Wick has practically become legend. That said, this is by no means that people to to see for the story and indeed the main selling point of this series are the highly choreographed violent action set-pieces. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ups the ante in that regard by adding everything from horses to samurais on motorcycles. Then there is the new antagonist du jour Zero, played in a darkly humorous manner by martial arts master Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf), who is probably most recognizable to mainstream audiences for his role as “The Chairman” on Iron Chef America.

Going into John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, it would be assumed that this was the concluding chapter of a trilogy. It turns out that this might not be the case since the film ends on a note suggesting a fourth entry to the series. However, that doesn’t make this film any less of an entertaining watch, especially the shootout in the climax, which specifically references a similar scene in The Matrix from two decades ago. To me, this series has yet to outweigh its welcome and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).