‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’ is More Bang For Your Buck

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I must admit that upon initial viewing, I didn’t care much for the original “John Wick” film. Coming as it did in the post “Taken” wave of old guy revenge thrillers, I found it to be stylish but supremely silly nonsense, since it was the death of puppy as the spark that lit the fuse. However as time has gone by, John Wick has grown on me.

It was “John Wick: Chapter 2” that managed to do a deeper dive into the strange mythology of John Wick’s underground society of assassins … complete with their own code, their own currency, and their own boutique hotel (The Continental). That was the right move, because even in my initial review I recognized that this world building was interesting. fresh and the most promising element.

The Title Character has a Bad Day in ‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

“John Wick 3 Parabellum” picks up mere moments after the events of Chapter 2, with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) on the run in the rain after breaking the rules and killing a man inside The Continental hotel, which is supposed to be safe ground for those of the trade. The plot involves John Wick seeking the head of the “High Table,” which governs the assassin trade to personally promise to make amends. He picks up assistance from his old mentor (Anjelica Huston) and then heads to collect an old debt from Sofia (Halle Berry), who runs an overseas version of The Continental Hotel in Morocco. Meanwhile, The High Table sends down an enforcer known as “The Adjudicator” (Asia Kate Dillon) to extract punishments on those who allowed John Wick to escape … and she hires a sushi chef named Zero (Mark Dacascos) with a seemingly endless supply of ninja students to take down the man himself.

But it’s the fight scenes that are this series bread and butter. John Wick easily ups his kill count to the triple digits this time, managing to dispatch assassins with guns, knives, and even a horse. In one memorable early scene, Wick manages to beat an opponent to death with a library book and then calmly replaces the book in the stacks from whence it came. Wick’s pit bull companion gets some scene stealing competition in this third installment, as Halle Berry as Sofia has two german shepherds who chew the scenery and multiple bad guys during a memorable escape from a Moroccan fortress.

Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry in ‘John Wick 3 Parabellum’
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment

“Chapter 3” is essentially one long gory fight, but with a cinematic beauty to it all. Reeves doesn’t go for the puny one liners, instead the fight scenes themselves offer a form of surreal black comedy. One scene goes far beyond self parody and back into surreal brilliance for the sheer number of glass cases broken in a single fight. And a scene where two opponents gush about how honored they are just to fight the legendary John Wick works both as comedy, and completely in character for the world they’ve built. 

If “John Wick 3 Parabellum” is financially successful – and all signs point to yes – the film sets up a potential fourth installment. For once, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing.

“John Wick 3 Parabellum” opens everywhere on May 17th in IMAX, RPX and regular screenings. See local listings for format theaters and show times. Featuring Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane and Anjelica Huston Screenplay by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins and Marc Abrams. Directed by Chad Stahelski. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


© 2019 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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