Movie Review: John Wick – Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019)

The third entry in the John Wick franchise, John Wick – Chapter 3: Parabellum is a 2019 action movie, directed once more by Chad Stahelski. On the run, directly following the events of the second film, notorious hitman and assassin, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) must survive an open contract put on his head across New York and the world at large. Meanwhile, an Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) is seeking out previous allies of Wick’s, including Winston (Ian McShane), Charon (Lance Reddick) and The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) to pay for their roles in breaking the rules of the assassin underworld.

+ Keanu Reeves is still great as the stoic, but becoming more human hitman. This role doesn’t really call for award winning emoting, but Reeves’ ‘subdued range’, to put it politely, perfectly fits the character. Ian McShane is fantastic as he is in everything he appears, but I was most glad that Reddick was given a bit more to work with instead of solely being the Continental concierge.
+ newcomers, Dillon and Anjelica Houston are not particularly important players in the grander scope of things, to be frank, but neither are offensively bad in any aspects. Primary physical antagonist, the assassin Zero (Mark Dacasos) was a joy, both in his immense physical prowess but also some unexpected lighter comedic moments
+ the action, of course, is intense and gory, exactly as fans of the series have come to expect. With the inclusion of personal favourite martial artists, Yayan Ruhian (aka The Raid‘s Mad Dog) and Cecep Arif Rahman (from the final fight of The Raid II, ie the best fight scene in the history of martial arts movies) there was more melee/bladed weapon moments in this than the previous, which was something I personally find far more engrossing. If they can get Iko Uwais (also from The Raid, and many other of my favourite action movies) in this franchise I might explode with happiness

– I very strongly prefer Wick on the offensive, i.e. being the hunter rather than the prey. Having him be the underdog in this film felt significantly less special than the first two films, mostly because it was a case of watching enemies come to him, opposed to him stalking them
– I commend the films for attempting to do some world building, but after the barely acceptable inclusions of the second film, there is just too much new stuff introduced here. Several new characters are given immediately-meant-to-be-important backstories, but the simple fact we’ve never heard of them has it come across ‘all talk, no action’
– for the second time, following the second movie, the soundtrack fails to live up to the fantastic music from the first movie (especially Think by Kaleida and Killing Strangers by Marilyn Manson). I don’t recall any memorable song or score from this movie as i write this review

> Jason Mantzoukas and Robin Lord Taylor cameo as two new characters, not worth naming. At least Mantzoukas, however, may have some more fun in future instalments (assuming he survives, and let’s be frank, most people outside the core cast don’t)

Should you see this film: I would argue this was the weakest of the three films so far. I still very much enjoy the action, and I am glad this film made the point that ‘It was never just about a puppy’, but hopefully the upcoming Continental TV series can flesh things out a bit, because it is getting a little bit bloated.


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