JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM review by Rahul Vedantam – Keanu Reeves’ third time is the charm

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM review by Rahul Vedantam – Keanu Reeves’ third time is the charm

Click on image to see it full-size.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM starts just moments after the second film concludes, and keeping in step also doesn’t slow down for its entire 131-minute run time. Before we have our feet set, 7’3 NBA giant Boban Marjanović establishes the well-choreographed violent and extremely fun tone the movie strives to keep up with. This third installment reminds us how varied an art form film can be, and the exciting possibilities that it creates. When action movies today largely follow character driven formulas, films like THE RAID, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, and JOHN WICK often surprise us with their excellent use of the visual art of storytelling. The only fear is that by being the third movie in five years, the Wick legacy may trip over itself, but somehow the franchise continues to expand its world and provide innovative new action sequences.

Up until now, John Wick’s goals were very simple: get his dog back, get his car back, and then survive to continue his wife’s memory. After breaking the rules of The High Table by killing a man on neutral ground in CHAPTER 2, he is now a wanted man, and must finally travel outside the U.S. to find some sort of sanctuary. But beyond pure survival, the movie begins to question the rules of this fantastical criminal society. The JOHN WICK films may not have much to say about its characters, but it absolutely wants us to question those in power. CHAPTER 3 is at its core a vigilante movie. “There are rules and there are consequences” is an oft-repeated motif of the film, but how should we respond when those rules no longer uphold the honor and righteousness they were put in place to protect? Well in the case of our protagonist, the answer is violence.

Each film has managed to innovate new ways to keep the carnage entertaining. Each scene provides a new concept for the choreographers (and audience) to explore and play with. And as the best Jackie Chan films will attest, action is at its best when the main character is handicapped. This is why Wick spends many a fight scene without a gun in his hand. From using ancient weapons in a museum, stealthily bucking horses in a stable or using katanas on motorcycles, the film is constantly visually interesting. And when Wick does have a gun in his and, we are introduced to extra powerful armor or new characters with their own unique strengths.

Halle Berry appears as “Sofia”, and old friend of John and former fellow assassin. Despite her hostility towards her friend asking a tall favor, the film brilliantly connects Wick to the character by providing her with two amazing dog companions. The human choreography is impressive, but watching the dogs jump across the scenes in perfect step with Berry proves that the filmmakers will continue to stun us and have plenty of ideas in store.

Asia Kate Dillon provides the voice of authority for the audience to hate, which allows the more violent villains to be extremely likable and fun. Mark Dacascos plays “Zero”, the leader of a group of ninjas, who use katanas instead of firearms, in keeping with their stealthy ways. Additionally, the film blurs the line between film augmented darkness and simple camouflage, and every time a ninja sneaks out from his hiding place I find myself shocked I did not spot him before. In contrast to their deadliness is their extreme honor and respect for the legend that is John Wick, to the point of pure fandom for the man they are trying to kill.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM continues to innovate and expand. Every scene is a new exploration, and no character is wasted. When the over 2-hour run time concludes, the only emotion is somehow excitement for more to come.


Be Sociable, Share!

About the Author