John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick’s actions in the previous film – killing a member of the High Table – has labelled him excommunicado. With a $14 million dollar bounty on his head, he has few friends and nowhere to run.

The Highs
I love that Chad Stahelski returned to form with Parabellum, and fights here are actually exciting and frenetic. In Chapter 2 most of the action sequences were made up of John running around headshotting people. With this film, we get fight scenes that are exceptionally choreographed and are delightfully brutal.

Parabellum combines the intense action of the first installment with the intricate worldbuilding of the second, and we’re left with the best of both worlds. The plot, while not deeper than either of the predecessors, never drags and never feels contrived. The intrigue between the High Table and other members of the assassin society was an excellent addition, and it was really cool that we were allowed more insight into John Wick’s history.

I absolutely loved Sofia (Halle Berry). Her character is badass and powerful, and her dogs are awesome. The action sequence with her and John and the two attack canines fighting through a literal sea of enemies was one of the most exciting things I’ve witnessed on film in quite some time. But, more than that, Sofia isn’t just eye candy. She doesn’t exist as a love interest, or a sexual icon. It’s refreshing that women in the John Wick universe are represented in the way that they are.

The cinematography is great overall, and all of the performances here are fantastic.

The Lows
The only real issue I have with Parabellum is that it’s a little too long. I believe it would have been a stronger film had it ended as John (Keanu Reeves) and Winston (Ian McShane) and Charon (Lance Reddick) prepared to take on the might of the High Table. As it is, the ensuing fights feel tedious and uninteresting – the sequence with the armored soldiers, especially. The drawn-out nature of John’s encounter with Zero (Mark Dacascos) cheapens it, and I think saving it for the beginning of the inevitable Chapter 4 would have been a better decision.

Parabellum runs into the issue of repeating gags past their point of effectiveness. Two examples of this are the horse kicking guys, and John crashing through glass in the last portion of the film. This is a minor complaint, however.

Final Thoughts
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is not only an excellent installation into the franchise, but arguably the best one yet. Despite being slightly overlong, it keeps the audience entertained with its relentless action, colorful characters, and the unique world it portrays.

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