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Movie Review: “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/17/2019

Theatrical Release: 5/17/2019

Synopsis

The Continental has served as a haven in the assassin community for decades. Assassins live a wild, violent, and unpredictable lifestyle, and the Continental is an assassin hotel with a very simple set of rules. Part of those rules state that business may not be conducted on the property, which means an assassin may not kill a target on the property. Additionally, fighting and murder of any kind is strictly prohibited.

The Continental strictly enforces its rules, as anyone who breaks them becomes excommunicated by the assassin community. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has broken one of these rules, he is being excommunicated, and he has a massive bounty on his head. With the excommunication—and with it, the bounty—going into effect shortly, John Wick will have to be alert at all times. He is feared within the assassin community, but the bounty is large enough to make many assassins willing to put their fears aside. John Wick is injured, he is desperate, and he needs to rely on his skills and resources to survive. However, how long could anyone survive the seemingly endless number of assassins who are hunting him?

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

John Wick & The Action (+10pts)

The Adjudicator (-4pts)

Sofia & Zero (+6pts)

John’s Plan (-2pts)

Ian McShane & The Continental (+6pts)

Winston (-3pts)

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Pro: John Wick & The Action (+10pts)

If you have seen the last two movies in this franchise, then you know that the filmmakers have done an outstanding job with their action sequences. John Wick is a complete badass, and the action always does a really good job of playing into that in an entertaining, brutal, and realistic way. Despite everything that John Wick was up against, the action made him feel dangerous, and it made him such a fun character to watch. The last two movies had outstanding action, but I would go as far as to say that it was even better in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.

The filmmakers did a great job at making all of the action feel fresh in this movie, in a franchise with tons of action. They did this by giving each action sequence its own "gimmick", so to speak. One action sequence had John Wick using a book as his weapon—yes you read that correctly. Another action sequence was set in the middle of an antique blade shop—with glass cases filled with various blades surrounding the characters. Then another action sequence had John Wick using horses. I do not want to give away what made each of these action sequences so entertaining, but know that each action sequence was fun in its own, unique way. This, mixed with the same incredible fight choreography that the filmmakers showcased in the last two movies, made this a very entertaining action movie.

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Con: The Adjudicator (-4pts)

One area where I felt this movie was lacking was with its primary antagonist. Asia Kate Dillon did a fine enough job in the role, but it always felt like the character was missing something. She did not feel intimidating, nor did she feel interesting or mysterious. The character came across as fairly one-dimensional, and she also did not feel like much of a threat. Sure, she was powerful in the sense that she had vast resources and seemingly endless henchmen at her disposal, but I have literally seen two movies where such an antagonist was no problem for John Wick. This was the third movie of the franchise, and I thought that the filmmakers needed to do something more with their primary antagonist. Unfortunately, the Adjudicator felt like more of the same.

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Pro: Sofia & Zero (+6pts)

Sofia (Halle Berry) was not in the movie much, but she was definitely memorable. She was an old acquaintance of John Wick, she had two highly trained dogs, and she could hold her own alongside John Wick in intense combat. I do not want to spoil anything, so all I will say is that Halle Berry added drama and depth to the character, and the action sequence involving her was easily one of the best parts of the movie. She was not in much of the movie, but she definitely left an impression.

While I thought the filmmakers did a poor job with the primary antagonist, I thought they did a pretty decent job with the secondary one, Zero (Mark Dacascos). He was a silly character when it came to his view of John Wick, but he was a very capable and ruthless assassin. Was the character one-dimensional? Sure, but he was also entertaining, and it was interesting to see John Wick taking on such a formidable adversary.

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Con: John’s Plan (-2pts)

To be completely honest, I did not think much about this during the movie. I recognized that John’s plan seemed pointless or illogical, but I did not think much about the extent that the pointlessness went until afterward. Without giving anything away, John’s plan makes absolutely no sense. He was kind of on the run. He was running from the countless assassins, but he was also running toward something else.

After seeing how the whole thing played out, I really do not see what John Wick was hoping for. Again, I do not want to give anything away, so excuse my lack of details, but know that the result of John’s plan does not seem to be worth all the trouble he went through. It even made the entire plan leading up to the conclusion feel like a waste of time. If the filmmakers wanted his plan to feel like a desperate Hail Mary, that would have been fine, but that was not how it felt. Instead, it felt like the plan that was nonsensical, and that it was just a lazy excuse to string some action together. The filmmakers definitely could have done better.

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Pro: Ian McShane & The Continental (+6pts)

Ian McShane has such a unique screen presence, and it always makes his characters so much more entertaining than they would have been, had another actor gotten the role. This movie was no different. I thought the character’s story could have used some work, but the actor in the role was solid. Additionally, I liked spending time in the Continental once again. The filmmakers did a really good job of setting up the fascinating, and almost mythological hotel. It is an interesting place with an interesting culture that I enjoyed seeing get explored a bit further.

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Con: Winston (-3pts)

I like Ian McShane, and I liked him in this role, but I thought that the filmmakers dropped the ball with his story in this movie. His actions at the end of the movie seemed to contradict his actions in the last movie—in terms of his actions and his motivations for them. The character seemed to want something very different at the end of this movie, and it did not make sense, given everything we had seen about the character thus far. The filmmakers wanted a twist, and it seemed like they were willing to sacrifice the development of one of the franchise’s key characters in order to do so.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (88pts)

I liked the first movie quite a bit, and I thought the filmmakers somewhat dropped the ball with the second, but I thought they knocked it out of the park with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. It was not perfect, but it was pretty darn entertaining and it was easily my favorite movie in this franchise. The action was outstanding, as was to be expected for anyone who saw the last two movies. There was a ton of action, right from the beginning of the movie, and this action never felt stale or redundant. The filmmakers did a fantastic job at making each action sequence feel different from the ones that came before it in one way or another. The movie also had two new, memorable characters—with Zero and Sofia—who were both entertaining and interesting.

I enjoyed seeing more of the Continental and I enjoyed seeing Ian McShane reprise his role as Winston, but I thought that the filmmakers dropped the ball with Winston's story, as his actions did not make sense for the character. I also thought the filmmakers dropped the ball with John’s plan, as it did not seem like it had been thought through very well—by either the filmmakers or John Wick himself. These issues, combined with a poorly executed primary antagonist, made a movie with its share of issues. Fortunately, all of these issues were relatively minor and they were far outweighed by the movie’s strengths. This movie was packed with action that always felt fresh and exciting, and it had plenty of interesting characters doing really cool things. If you like action movies, or were a fan of the last two movies in this franchise, then this movie is a must see.

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