#REVIEW: “JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is Excommunicado and on-the-run. He has a $14-million bounty on his head, and has every assassin in the world looking to take him out. With a few favours left, John must do whatever it takes to stay alive.
The Plot is not as concise as “Punks murder John Wick’s dog, he swears revenge”, but John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is an ass-kickingly great time. It hits the ground running and picks up immediately after its predecessor ended. And from there, it delivers one chaotic action scene after another and packs every frame with incredible Fight Choreography, luscious Cinematography and Lighting, and a whole lot of John Wick doing what he does best: killing bad guys in increasingly inventive ways. I knew to not trust horses and dogs, but I never thought the hard covers on my bookshelf could be used as murder weapons. After watching Parabellum, I am now scared of every single one of them.
Much like its predecessor, Parabellum spends a portion of its running time world-building and unpacking the mysterious and outrageous world of assassins John Wick inhabits. And while many of these ideas are intriguing and even more are obvious allusions to the future spin-off TV series The Continental (and perhaps, future sequels?), I found a large majority of these moments slowed the Film down a bit too often. I loved each and every second of the opening act, but once the Film starts slowing down, I found my patience waning. Of course, it does pick-up, but less stopping and starting could have only improved the Film’s momentum.
While some of the CGI is less than stellar, I found Parabellum had a nasty habit of introducing characters like Anjelica Huston’s The Director, Saïd Taghmaoui’s The Elder and Jason Mantzoukas’ Tick Tock Man, and then barely does anything with them. The reason everyone loved the original John Wick was because of its simplicity. And now two sequels in, it feels like all of these explanations and new underused characters are just taking away from letting the audience bask in the chaos the titular character inspires in his wake.
In that respect, it should not be surprising to say that Reeves is just as good, if not better than he has been previously. I have always been a huge fan of his work, warts and all, and his performances as John Wick have only gotten better with each entry. What he lacks in dialogue subtlety, he more than makes up for in physicality and ferocity. He makes reloading a gun look like high art, and makes knife and hand-to-hand combat look positively dazzling. His level of commitment and precision is spectacular and goes practically unrivaled. If you have ever had any doubts about Keanu, this should alleviate all of them.
As for the rest of the Cast, the returning players Ian McShane, Lawrence Fishburne and Lance Reddick – who finally(!) gets his hands dirty – are as great as expected, and Halle Berry, Mark Dacascos and especially Asia Kate Dillon are all welcome additions.
Pacing and world building issues aside, I really enjoyed John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The Film looks absolutely gorgeous, the bone crunching action scenes are magnificent and the majority of the cast of characters that inhabit it are great. But the reason we all keep coming back is to watch Keanu Reeves be John Wick. And when the Film just lets the Baba Yaga do his thing, it practically soars.
eOne Films unleash JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM Friday, May 17, 2019.