Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Mark Dacascos, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Chad Stahelski
There aren’t too many mid-major action franchises that can continuously produce great movies with every iteration. We’ve seen the Mission Impossible franchise hold this title for quite some time, but over the course of the last decade, I don’t think we’ve seen anything close to what the John Wick movies have accomplished and we have another success on our hands with John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum. Beautifully choreographed, thrilling, and introducing new characters that add depth to the universe, John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum is another instant classic in a franchise that has only seen success.
The film follows John Wick (Reeves) after the events of the previous film. John has been declared excommunicado after killing a member of the High Table and tries to survive the waves of assassins coming after him while trying to make amends for his previous actions. Right from the beginning, this movie establishes itself as an elite action movie due to the variety of fights that occur. One of the more entertaining ones is an intricate knife fight almost immediately after John becomes excommunicado. The John Wick films have been known primarily for their gunfights and their realistic reloading and movement techniques, so a knife fight shows that this franchise still has some magic left in it. Whether it’s John chucking knives like a madman or fighting up close and slicing them open, this sequence is believable, entertaining, and not for the queasy. While the knife sequence is the main example of this, the cinematography keep this movie feeling fresh and fluid from start to finish. Some of the things commonly associated with a poorly made action movie is when there are too many cuts in a short period of time making the scene looking jumbled and confusing or when the camera is wobbling too much to produce a coherent shot. John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum avoids these issues by practicing a commonly-used phrase in the film industry; sometimes less is more. By a lack of quick cuts and more tracking and wide shots, the movie can focus more on the action sequences and setting up scenes that the audience will enjoy. These techniques are imperative when introducing new characters like Zero (Dacascos) and Sofia (Halle Berry) as it shows just how much of a threat they can be and that John needs to tread carefully when he’s around them. Speaking of the new characters, Dacascos and Berry are both brilliant in their roles and show that this franchise doesn’t have to rely on Reeves to be successful. Berry wasn’t in the movie quite as long as I thought she would be based on the promotional material for this movie, but she makes the most of every scene she’s in. She’s an equal to John in almost every way and the action never slows down when she’s fighting alongside him. Regarding Dacasacos, he acts exactly how I would anticipate an assassin to act if they were fighting John Wick. In a universe full of assassins, you can imagine that you hear stories of the accomplishments of your peers and the lengths to which they will go to for accomplishing their goals. When you have a reputation as impressive as John does, you’re sure to attract some fans, and Zero expresses that he is one of them. While Zero has a job to do and John is on his hit list, he makes it very well known how much respect and admiration he has for John. This makes their struggle that much more captivating, as Zero has to accomplish his mission by killing his idol while John has to get through Zero to accomplish his. A combination of emotional investment, beautiful stunt choreography, and characters that deliver in every scene make John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum a borderline perfect action movie.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum is now the gold standard for action movies. Reeves continues to show us that he’s a modern-day legend for action films and his career from The Matrix to today has been built up to a level that few will be able to surpass. A creative and impressive movie from beginning to end, I realistically can’t wait to see what happens in the next movie regardless of how tough it will be to top this one.
Overall Score: 9.5/10