'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum' (2019) Movie Review
My History with Wick
From the very moment the first trailer hit back five or six years ago for John Wick, I was immediately a diehard fan. Instantly seeing a trailer for the first movie and I could tell that this was going to be something right up my alley; Keanu Reeves playing a hardcore assassin who seeks vengeance for the death of his dog? Sold! Take all of my money right now, I don’t care. I need to see this masterpiece as soon as humanly possible. Then finally seeing the film in 2014, I only wished I had more money to spend on seeing the film again and again. John Wick was stylish, cool, ambitious in its world-building and all the ways it made use of shooting people in the head. Holy hell, the film was a beast that I instantly fell madly in love with. I’m pretty sure it got me pregnant too. Then the sequel came around a few years later and I assume the awesomeness was too much for my fetus to bear, which really sucks because I already named it Jeff. In all seriousness, when Chapter 2 came out in 2017, I was ready for Chapter 3 as soon as the credits rolled. I adored both of the John Wick installments tremendously and the third was easily one of my most highly anticipated films of 2019.
The Baba Yaga Returns
Starting off mere moments after Chapter 2 concluded, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is now on the run from the whole international assassin society as there is a fourteen million dollar bounty on his head as a result for killing a member of the High Table on continental grounds. The only way John can survive is by keep moving forward and kill everyone in his way.
F*ck Yes, It Feels So Good and I Want MORE!
That’s right, baby! Wick is back and kicking even more ass than ever before. Although don’t walk into this film under the impression that this is the final chapter for our favorite super-assassin, Mr. John ‘Mother-F*cking’ Wick. Oh no, my friends. This is no tightly wrapped up trilogy, Chapter 3 sets up for a sequel. Trust me when I say, by the end of everything that Wick goes through in all three of these films… now he’s pissed. He wasn’t quite angry before. Now… he’s angry. The secondary title, Parabellum, is an accurate proclamation of the film for the audience; prepare for war. And I, for one, cannot wait for the war!
Let me be frank in saying that you are wasting your time reading this review right now. Did you like the first two movies? Then get your butt over to the nearest theater immediately and buy your damn ticket pronto! If you didn’t like the first two movies then this will not be the one that sways you in the slightest. It is as simple as that. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum has all of the blood-pumpingly brutal action, incredible camera work, fascinating world-building within the secretive assassin society presented here, gorgeous neo-noir environment lighting and set design that the previous two movies also brought to us. Chapter 3 is yet another entertaining as hell entry in an already entertaining as hell series of action flicks.
The ActionClick thumbnail to view full-size
Let’s get right to what we’re really here to talk about, the action, which was… how do I put this? Oh, yeah. Great! The level of violence in the John Wick films are designed to specifically make the audience go, “OW”. Which it succeeds at yet again. There are some poor souls in this film that I cannot help, but to feel completely sorry for when Wick aims his sights on them because we all know that they are dead. Very, very dead. There were times where John clearly has killed someone with the first shot through their heart, that doesn’t stop him from putting five more shots into the guy with a shotgun. There were action sequences where I was literally sitting in my seat like, “John, please, some of these people have families. At the very least could you let them have an open casket funeral?”. The answer was “no” every time. So many “noes”.
The sound design on some of these shots, stabs, punches, and punctures are also so distinctly believable I could swear I could feel the pain on my own body. I winced on more than one occasion from how painful most of the injuries all these meat bags sustain, including John Wick himself. However, there is still that dark humor that the film also maintains within its fight sequences. Those little quirky moments where the action would pause for the briefest of instances to focus on something darkly funny in a way, which always kept the action feeling fresh every time rather than exhausting. There is a lot of action. I mean, a lot. Hell, I’m pretty sure the first twenty minutes or so is nothing except action and it is exciting to behold for the two hour and ten minute runtime. I was never cynically saying to myself, “Oh great, here we go again”. I was giddy with the anticipation of how John was going to viciously murder all of these naïve bastards. I laughed, I cheered, I held my groin in empathy for what happened to the multiple groins I saw mutilated onscreen. It was fantastic.
With every John Wick entry, we as the audience are privileged to a little bit of information about how this world works. Chapter 1 introduced us to the Continental Hotel; a safe-haven for hitmen all over the world where no business may ever be allowed to take place in, whether professional or personal. Not to mention the currency in which this assassin society distributes not being actual money, but golden coins. A detail that I found to be really cool honestly. Chapter 2 established these personal contracts of blood markers where there are two parties involved, one has done a favor for the other and they are now owed one favor in return for life. Also, we’re introduced to the unseen the ‘High Table’; the heads who run everything about this hitman world.
Now we’ve reached Chapter 3 where we discover more of the roots of this underground assassin world, how the hierarchy works within its system, small tidbits of the origins for how John Wick was brought up to be an assassin, we even see where the gold coins and blood markers are constructed. There is some pretty neat stuff here with figuring out how all this works and the attention to detail these writers put into crafting such an intriguing compound. I totally dig every second of watching the elements about these unique characters and colorful environments unfold in front of me. This is a world and society has been thoroughly well thought-out and engaging to learn about. No, this is far from being realistic, but I never question anything about how this secret organization functions.
John WickClick thumbnail to view full-size
A man of few words, but every word he has to say matters. Keanu Reeves is simply badass in this role; suave, quiet, intense, and can easily handle every bit of fight choreography in all three of these films. Reeves has always been an actor that I’ve loved watching his work, I was ecstatic when John Wick turned out to be such a success with audiences. Keanu’s triumphant return in the form of this highly capable assassin who simply wants to be left alone so he may grieve the loss of his wife in peace, yet one thing after another keeps him from doing so. Over the course of these three films, the time span from when he buried his wife has only been a matter of a couple weeks or so. This is clearly a broken man that this underground criminal world really does not understand who the hell they are messing with. At any point this society could call it quits and leave the man alone, yet they persist. There is a reason that this man was called the ‘Boogeyman’. He is no joke, he will kill anyone and everyone in his path in quite glorious fashion. When the credits roll, Wick is prepared to single-handedly rage war on all of them. They brought it on themselves, they should have let him play fetch with his puppy at home. Whoops. I mean… John Wick kills men with a book, a horse, and a belt… stop f*cking with this guy!
The fight/gunfire choreography has never looked better, every camera shot captures the mayhem crystal clear. At no point am I confused by some sort of shaky-cam going on, nor am I wondering who is where and how specific injuries occur; we get a good view of everything going on and it is a riot. Not only is the camera work perfect in the fight sequences, it’s great everywhere. This is a beautifully realized neo-noir atmosphere we witness in these flicks that continues here. The lights and colors are so vibrant that it lends this world such a phenomenal sense of personality that separates itself from any other action movie.
See It… Just See It.
I have no more fancy words, no more gushing over the epic action extravaganza that is John Wick: Chapter 3. Go see it. Stop what you’re doing, this is not a drill, your life is incomplete without watching the John Wick films. That’s just a fact. Go to your local theater, get a big bucket of popcorn and watch this action orgasm on the big screen. No need for extra butter though since I’m relatively certain that you’ll be able to provide your own personal butter after the movie is over. I’m sorry for all the sex analogies, please check these flicks out. They are an awesomely fun ride where you get to see a non-stop, one man slaughter and it is always exciting. Have yourselves a good time.
Which Wick is Your Favorite?
So which of the three 'John Wick' films is your absolute favorite?
That’s All Folks!
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, what did you all think? Did you like or dislike my review? Agree or disagree? Wish that John Wick would smack a horse on the butt to result in a kick that would cave in my skull? Comment down below and let me know! If you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a wicky-wicky good day… I’m not proud of myself.
© 2019 John Plocar