Reel Reviews | John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

by Charles Kirkland, Jr.

One more time, Keanu Reeves is the super assassin known as the babayega, John Wick in the high octane action extravaganza, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.

When we last saw the killer, John Wick (Keanu Reeves), he had broken the rules by killing Santino D’Antonio, a member of the High Table, on the hallowed, protected grounds of The Continental. Because of his disobedience, Winston (Ian McShane), manager of The Continental, was forced to declare John excommunicado which placed a bounty of $14 million on his head. Out of gracious loyalty to his friend, Winston stayed the execution of his friend and gave him one hour to run before the contract on his life was made effective. Now John is running. As the hour comes to a swift ending, John becomes engaged in, literally, the fight of his life. Unfortunately, the more he fights, the more he gets dragged into the world of assassins that he fought so hard to escape. Meanwhile, the actions, and thereby loyalty, of all the people who assisted John in any way are called in to question.

Starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, and many others, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is an action tour-de-force. Directed by former stuntman Chad Stahelski, the martial arts choreography in this movie is incredible as Wick elevates from his typical “gun-fu” to battles using his hands, swords, knives, hatchets, dogs and even horses. But once Wick gets his hands on some guns, the movie is an all-out assault on the senses. Headshots galore, John Wick 3 transcends even the most violent of action films and becomes a type of action snuff porn where the objective is to make the most blood fly and elicit the most groans, gasps and squeals from the audience. Having said all of that, John Wick is the most incredible action film since The Raid: Redemption. Stahelski seems to have a solid idea about what draws people to this franchise and he spotlights it above all else.

It has to be said that the plot of the movie is very simplistic and of course very implausible but who watches a Wick movie for a story? Regardless, the most likely prevailing theme this movie is survival. Can John survive the consequences of his actions? Can John’s coterie survive the consequences of their own actions? What is John prepared to do in order to get back into the good graces of the High Table?

In a super smart effort to keep the franchise from getting stale, the introduction of Halle Berry’s character, Sophia gives not just Oscar caliber eye candy but an intriguing infusion of #MeToo-girl power that is rewarding. Sophia is a tough as nails, hard-nosed ex-assassin who has risen through the ranks of “service” to become a boss. But just as John Wick himself has proven, once a killer, always a killer. Maybe a spin-off of the series could focus on the backstory of Berry’s character.

Rated R for pervasive strong violence and language, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is a violent, violent movie that mixes the best of action movies, video games and mixed martial art contest into one slam-bang good time.

Forget about the plot and character development, get in the car and go for the ride. This movie is fun for real. Don’t miss a moment.

Grade: B+