Movie Review: John Wick 3 – Parabellum


If you made a list of all-time greatest action movies it wouldn’t be a hard guess to say Keanu Reeves might be on it more than once. While the Matrix might hold a special pedestal in the action film genre we feel we might be right in saying Neo’s body count is nothing next to John Wick. With John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (or in Latin – Prepare for War) in cinemas right now is this the next chapter for John or the end.

Ok so if you have managed to not see the previous two John Wick films (or even any John Wick killing Thanos related memes), you probably aren’t looking forward to the new film as much as everyone else. While action films for the most part with a basic plot driving what is happening on screen that you could jump on at any point and enjoy, you might lose a little bit of the enjoyment from not being there from the beginning of the story. If you are new to John Wick or just don’t remember where we left off, let’s just catch you up.

We first meet a newly widowed John Wick in Chapter One right after the loss of his wife to cancer. Aiming for Disney’s Up level of feels right in the first few minutes until he receives a late night courier delivery of a note from his late wife with a gift of a new puppy. Still grieving John cares for the puppy while doing semi-self destructive things like almost driving his vintage Mustang into a wall.

While driving back to his house John’s car gets attention at a petrol station from some younger thugs (the main one being the son of a local crime boss) who try to buy the car which is not for sale. Things escalate as those same thugs follow John back to his house to later that night break in, beat John, kill his puppy (the living gift from his late wife) and take his car. What the same thugs did not know is John Wick was an elite hitman also known as Baba Yaga (mentioned in Ant-Man and the Wasp) or the Boogyman.

After burying the puppy John excavate his Hitman working clothes and weapons and proceeds to kill everyone in his way between him and the one who killed his dog and stole his car. Completing Chapter One with the slightest look into the Hitman’s world before returning to his home with a new stray dog.

Chapter Two continues where the last chapter ended with John tracking down his stolen car before hanging up his Hitman tools again. This is short-lived as John returning to the life brings forth an Italian Crimelord from his old life that has a marker/favour (from helping John leave the life initially) from John to call in. In Chapter Two we see more of the Hitman’s world with John using a hotel called the Contential, a Hotel for Hitmen generally considered holy ground and its resources to fulfil the marker contract (killing the Crimelord’s sister to secure a seat at the ‘High Table’ the governing body over all including the Contential).

After the marker was complete the crimelord (with a mute henchman played by future Batwoman/Australia’s Ruby Rose) double-crossed John and puts a bounty out on him. In a sort of suicide run, John aims to take out the crimelord who at the end runs to the Contential for refuge. John breaks the code by then killing the crimelord on Contential grounds which sees the end of Chapter Two with John Wick excommunicated and running.

So where does Chapter 3 take us? Picking up the amount of time it takes to run from Central Park to Times Square John is on the run, from everyone. Much like John Wick 2 when John had a bounty on his head except this time excommunicated so without any of the resources of the Hitman’s world to help him. And while John tries to make amends with the High Table, to add an extra wrinkle not only does John have a bounty on his head again but the very same High Table is also going after his allies from Chapter Two who helped him.

John Wick Chapter Three is brutal. With the returning directors from the previous two movies who were also the stunt/action directors from the Matrix films. The action starts almost immediately and if you thought John Wick with a pencil was deadly you should see him bring a knife to a gun fight. If you are a little bit averse to violence (not talking about splatter/gory violence) you might be a bit uncomfortable with this one. however, if you loved how much John Wick Chapter 2 kicked things up then you will love this (and how much scarier than John Wick Halle Berry can be).

So should you go see it? Did you see the other John Wick films? Then yes. Definitely. With each chapter, John Wick seems to gain more momentum and intensity on what is happening on screen. With the planned ‘The Continental‘ series on the horizon also as long as the team behind the films so far are still attached we are definitely there for every chapter right up to John Wick: Epilogue.

John Wick 3 – Parabellum is in all Australian cinemas from May 16th

Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
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