John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Halle Berry, Asia Kate Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos
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Combined with a spare script containing minimal dialogue, the film is a beautifully choreographed bullet ballet of shattered glass and broken bones.
The original John Wick came out in 2014 and was a neo-noir action flick with a tight premise, spectacular action and an utterly committed performance from the apparently ageless Keanu Reeves. A sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2, dropped in 2017 and while the action remained kinetic and exciting, it was let down by an overly convoluted plot that rather diluted the elegant simplicity of the original. Now, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (oy, that title) is here, snap-kicking its way into your heart. But is it worth the bruises? Actually, yeah!
The story starts seconds after the previous film, with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) declared excommunicado by The High Table, and a fat bounty placed on his head. Basically, in a city brimming with assassins, John is now a very tempting target. As is typical of this series, the action begins almost straight away and rarely relents for the following 131 minutes. Parabellum is, thankfully, a lot more streamlined than Chapter 2. Oh, there’s still a bunch of goofy bullshit involving golden coins, secret societies, claimed marks and whatnot, but it never slows the pace of the overarching plot.
Keanu Reeves, still drinking from the same fountain of youth as Paul Rudd, delivers another grim but knowing performance as the titular Wick, and is joined once more by the always reliable Charon (Lance Reddick) and Winston (Ian McShane). Also, we have some newbies this time around, with canine-friendly killer Sofia (Halle Berry) and dark matriarch The Director (Anjelica Huston). Not to mention a delightfully camp villain, Zero (Mark Dacascos), who exudes giddy madness.
Chad Stahelski once again directs and does so with style and panache. Almost every action scene is shot in long lingering takes framed for maximum clarity, showcasing just how much of the action is genuinely performed by humans, and the result is often breathtaking. Combined with a spare script containing minimal dialogue, the film is a beautifully choreographed bullet ballet of shattered glass and broken bones.
Ultimately, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is not quite the equal of the first film, but a stark improvement over the second. Fast-paced, explosive and chockers with jaw-dropping stunt work, it’s easily the best pure action destination in town. If that sounds like you, put John Wick on your hit list.