Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Keanu Reeves returns as the expert assassin John Wick aka Baba Yaga in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.

Parabellum picks up a short time after the events of John Wick: Chapter 2. On the run after killing Santino inside The Continental, John (Keanu Reeves) is declared “excommunicado” by The High Table and a $14 million bounty is placed on his head. The rest of the film is John fighting off people eager to claim the bounty as he looks for a way to reverse the damage he’s done. John’s journey takes him across the globe where he crosses paths with an old friend named Sofia (Halle Berry), her dogs, and more deadly assassins.

While John is on the run, The Adjudicator (Billions’ Asia Kate Dillon) has been sent by the High Table to discipline those who’ve helped John and make sure John pays for breaking the rules.

Parabellum means “prepare for war” and war is exactly what this movie is for 2hr 10min. To be fair, “war” would be an understatement. The film is John Wick finding inventive ways to kill people. John is a prolific assassin and this movie reminds audiences just how good he is. John kills people on a horse, with a horse, and with various firearms. The best kills come during a sequence in the first act that involves knives – lots of knives. The scene’s blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the trailer seems forgettable, but full scene has some of the best choreography and provides a few “WOW! moments.

Keanu continues to deliver as John Wick. John is arguably his most iconic character since playing Neo in The Matrix. John is a man of few words and Keanu does so much with his eyes to convey what John is feeling or thinking. Keanu’s ability to give John emotion is what makes him a fascinating character and not a wooden assassin.

Halle Berry shows up as Sofia to wreck havoc with her dogs and guns. Berry does a really good job with the action and the gun-fu scenes. She’s so good; it’s surprising she doesn’t do more action movies. I hope she does less missing kid movies and more movies like this.

There’s no big villain in this story, but the final boss battle is John facing off with Zero (Mark Dacascos). Dacascos gives an excellent performance. Despite his character having zero facial expressions for most of the film, Dacascos has one of the funniest scenes. After a long fight sequence, Zero has a moment to tell John he’s a huge fan.

Speaking of humor, the movie is surprisingly light and funny. When the film isn’t an avalanche of violence, it finds moments to be funny and tongue-and-cheek with how ridiculous the violence is.

It wouldn’t be a John Wick film without 2-3 outstanding action scenes. Parabellum does not disappoint. Motorcycle riders with swords is reminiscent of  1989’s Black RainParabellum take that concept and expands on it by finding  interesting ways to use guns and words during a high speed  motorcycle chase. There are jaw-dropping action scenes sprinkled through each act and they save the best for last.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is a perfect addition to the John Wick franchise. It’s exhilarating, insane, incredible, and imaginative. Most importantly, it’s fun. Watching people get killed nonstop for 2hrs sounds absurd, yet somehow Parabellum turns that chaos into art. It’s unclear if Chad Stahelski will continue making John Wick movies, but a lot of us are praying he never stops.

Grade: B+