Movie Review: “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum”
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
The Continental has served as a haven in the assassin community for decades. Assassins live a wild, violent, and unpredictable lifestyle, but 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 (meaning an assassin may not kill a target on the property). Additionally, fighting and murder (of any kind) is strictly prohibited on the property.
The Continental strictly enforces its rules, as anyone who breaks them becomes excommunicated by the assassin community. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has broken these rules, is being excommunicated, and a massive bounty has been placed on his head. With the excommunication, and the bounty, going into effect shortly, John Wick will have to be on alert. He is feared within the assassin community, but the bounty is large enough to make every assassin put their fears aside. John Wick is injured, he is desperate, and he needs to rely on his skills (along with old promises) to survive. However, how long can he survive the seemingly endless number of assassins who are hunting him?
The Pros & Cons
John Wick & The Action (+10pts)
The Adjudicator (-4pts)
Sofia & Zero (+6pts)
John’s Plan (-2pts)
Ian McShane & The Continental (+6pts)
Pro: John Wick & The Action (+10pts)
If you have seen the last two movies in this franchise, then you know that the filmmakers do an outstanding job with the action sequences and action choreography. John Wick is a complete badass, and the action always does a really good job of playing into that in an entertaining and realistic way. The action feels as smooth, as it does brutal. Despite everything that John Wick is up against, the action makes him feel dangerous and makes him so much fun to watch. These movies put everything into the action, as well as making Keanu Reeves look cool, and it pays off. The last two movies had outstanding action, but I would go as far as to say it was even better in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.
The first two movies had great action, there is no doubt about that, but the filmmakers definitely ran into the problem of having to make the action feel fresh to the audience. I want to be clear that I do not think this issue hurt the last two movies (at least not significantly), but the filmmakers eliminated this "issue" for this movie. They did this by giving each action sequence it's 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 for a very entertaining action movie.
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 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 this time around.
Pro: Sofia & Zero (+6pts)
Sofia (Halle Berry) was not in the movie much, but she was definitely memorable. She is an old acquaintance of John Wick, has two highly trained dogs, and can 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 adds drama and depth to the character, and the action sequence involving her was easily one of the best pets of the movie. She is not in much of the movie, but Sofia definitely left an impression.
While I thought the filmmakers did a poor job with the film’s primary antagonist, I thought they did a pretty decent job in delivering the secondary antagonist, 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 pretty unique and entertaining.
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 is kind of on the run, running from countless assassins, but he is also running toward something.
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 makes 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 be fine, but I did not get that impression. Instead, it felt like the plan that was poorly thought through.
Pro: Ian McShane & The Continental (+6pts)
With the intent of not rambling, I will keep this one brief. Ian McShane has such a unique presence and he always makes his characters so much more entertaining than they would have been, had another actor been chosen. This movie is 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 again. The filmmakers do a really good job of setting up the fascinating and almost mythological hotel. It is an interesting place that I always like learning more about and spending time within.
Con: Winston (-3pts)
I like Ian McShane, and I like him in this role, but I thought that the filmmakers dropped the ball on his story in this movie. His actions at the end of this film seem to contradict his actions in the last film (in terms of what motivations could lead him to making the decisions he made). The character seemed to want something very different at the end of this film and it did not make sense, given everything we have 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 (Winston) in order to do so.
Grade: B+ (88pts)
I liked the first movie quite a bit, and I thought the filmmakers dropped the ball with the second, but I thought they knocked it out of the park with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. It is not perfect, but it was pretty darn entertaining and was easily my favorite movie in this franchise. The action was outstanding, as is to be expected if you have seen the other two movies. There was a ton of action, right from the beginning of the movie, but this action never felt stale or redundant. The filmmakers did a fantastic job of making each action sequence feel different from the ones that came before it in one way or another. The movie also has two new, memorable characters (with Zero and Sofia) that were both entertaining and compelling to watch.
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. That being said, all of these issues were relatively minor and were far outweighed by the movie’s strengths. This movie was packed with action that always felt fresh and exciting, and 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.