John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Review
Director: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu ReevesHalle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane
John Wick is back in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but the question is, is the retired assassin really back, or has the franchise run out of steam? Well, turns out that Keanu Reeves’ John Wick is well and truly back, and better than ever.
This means that all the world’s greatest assassins are now desperate to be the ones to kill John Wick and retrieve the reward. However, even though he’s battered, bruised, bleeding and in an all-around terrible state, John Wick isn’t the sort of man to just roll over and die. Despite all of his injuries, he’s still the most dangerous person out there. They don’t call this guy the Baba Yaga for nothing.
If you’re going into these John Wick films for plot, then you’re better off giving them a wide birth. The John Wick franchise is about one thing and one thing only: incredible action. The fight choreography in these films in spellbinding.
All of this for what, because of a puppy?
It’s not unlike watching an incredibly well choreographed musical. Each movement is deliberate and pain-stingingly planned beforehand. There’s only one movie franchise which comes close to this level on hand-to-hand combat, and that’s The Raid movies.
But, what puts Parabellum (which means prepare for war in Latin by the way) above many of the other actions movies out there is its lead. Keanu Reeves was made to play John Wick. He may not be the best dramatic actor in the world, but there’s no one better in the fight scene than him.
He truly puts his whole body and soul into the role and making sure that every move is perfect. But then, there’s also the fact that Keanu is just incredibly watchable, and he’s also helped by the fact that he actually has rather few lines in these films, and the lines he does have are delivered with surprising gravitas.
Just take the “Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back” line from the first movie. In all honesty, I don’t think any other actor in Hollywood could have made that line work, but Keanu did.
Are you pissed off, too, John?
I’m going to have to come clean though, I wasn’t a huge fan of John Wick: Chapter 2. I felt the action was good, but it lacked that spark which the first film had. I was slightly worried when going into Parabellum that this film would end up like Chapter 2, but what director Stahelski did was made Parabellum the most bombastic film he possibly could.
There’s only one word which can accurately describe the action scenes in this film and that word is: mad. They’re bonkers. You have John Wick on a horse shooting motorcyclists in the head. You have an insane knife throwing fight. You’ve got John Wick using horses to kill people. There’s an incredible scene which involves death by book. I mean, that’s never been done before, at least, not to my knowledge.
Then, you can’t talk about John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum without mentioning the newcomers to the franchise: Helle Berry and her incredible canine friends. Berry plays Sofia who Wick goes to in order to ask her to repay a favour. Well, to cut a long story short, they end up having to kill a load of henchmen with the help of Sofia’s two incredibly well-trained and deadly dogs.
He shot my dog!
The move to add animals in this film was genius. They say never work with animals, but you have to when it makes a film this enjoyable.
Then you have the likes of Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Laurence Fishburne all returning to their respective John Wick roles, and they’re all as great as ever.
I especially enjoyed the nods to The Matrix, and I’m sure many other fans of the franchise would have spotted and enjoyed them too.
Thinking about it, there’s only one Hollywood action movie which comes close to Parabellum’s level and that Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. It’s got me really wanting a crossover film in which Cruise’s Ethan Hunt has to hunt down Keanu Reeves’ John Wick. Just take my money now!
I gotta say, I’m a pretty big fan.
Parabellum has literally reinvented the Hollywood action movie genre. They’ve taken cues from movies like The Raid and The Raid 2 and have brought them to big blockbuster movies, and I think audiences are going to really appreciate it. Now, not everyone will be along for the ride. It does get rather gory in places, but who doesn’t like watching dogs maul bad guys’ crotches? I know I do.
And never forget, this whole franchise started because some guy killed John Wick’s puppy. The moral of the story: never kill a puppy, or you’ll have John Wick coming after you.
Meanwhile, why not have a read of our articles on the 5 ways Game of Thrones season 8 dropped the ball, and the 5 movies you should watch if you still think Robert Pattinson won’t be a good Batman.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is in cinemas all across the UK now.
Have you listened to our podcast yet? Small Screen Radio features Small Screen’s Film Club and Cinema Ramble. If you like movies, listen to our podcast!