MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum” stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, Constantine ), Halle Berry (X2: X-Men United, Kidnap), Ian McShane (Snow White and the Huntsman, Hercules ), Laurence Fishburne (Mystic River, Passengers), Mark Dacascos (Iron Chef America: The Series [TV series], Maximum Impact), Asia Kate Dillon (Billions [TV series], Orange is the New Black [TV series]), Lance Reddick (White House Down, Fringe [TV series]), Angelica Huston (The Addams Family , Prizzi’s Honor), Tobias Segal (Glass, Sneaky Pete [TV series]), Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman , G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), and Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones [TV series], Loving Vincent). It is directed by Chad Stahelski (Kill or Be Killed, Gangsters of Shanghai [TV series]), and written by Derek Kolstad (The Package, Acolyte), Shay Hatten (Army of the Dead, Ballerina), Chris Collins (The Wire [TV series], Sons of Anarchy [TV series]), and Marc Abrams (The Bernie Mac Show [TV series], Zip [TV movie]). Having been excommunicadoed for killing a member of the High Table in a Continental, John Wick (Reeves) is on the run for his life in a scramble to figure out how to survive the bounty on his head and make amends for what he has done.
This has been the underdog release I’ve been waiting for this year: “John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum.” Screw “Game of Thrones” and move over “Avengers: Endgame” (well… maybe not), because the Baba Yaga is back in business! It’s a shame that this franchise doesn’t get more recognition than it has. The fact that it’s one of the most volatile, bad-a action flicks of current cinema should be enough to garner more people, especially in this world of shoot ‘em ups and heavy set pieces. Thankfully, the Wick series is getting more followers, as its opening weekend has already amassed the same amount of earnings as the entire first movie, and has squashed the opening proceeds of the second. It’s gaining traction, and for good reason. While the Wick flicks are purely popcorn entertainment gold, they have a very unique, interesting world set up around them. One of assassins, a hierarchy known as “the High Table,” and a code of honor everyone follows. It’s what separates the people from the monsters. “Chapter 2” left on a giant cliffhanger, one that had me dying to see what’s next. I mean, that movie was bonkers in and of itself. It upped the ante on action and delivered on some brilliant stuntwork and set pieces. With each flick, you’d figure they’d go bigger and bolder, and “Chapter 3” does, but not in the way you’d expect. The film capitalizes on expanding its locations and developing its universe, choosing to further its story rather than go balls-to-the-wall with nonstop action like the second entry. I was surprised, and initially let down, but soon enough I came around; and for good reason. “Chapter 3” is more of a film than the second outing; it’s more well-rounded in both action and story, learning to create a balance that, while leaning more so to its plot, keeps you invested to see how everything plays out. The best part about this franchise is how, even though you know Wick will win, he loses at every turn. Heck, this entire movie (and I’m not exaggerating) is a big failure for John Wick as a character. There’s no where he can go or turn that will have him walking out of this mess alive. Whether he likes it or not, he’s dead, and that’s what makes things so riveting. That, and the awesome action sequences that are laden throughout this movie. While I prefer the nonstop, craze fest the second feature had, “Chapter 3” presents us with a different approach to its fights. What I failed to realize is how this series takes place within two weeks or so. They follow almost immediately after one another, making it more believable in seeing how freaking tired Wick is in these fights. The battles are more drawn out, and he’s slower to the punch because he is so worn. Also, the action scenes have far less cuts, some choosing to hold on shots for seven seconds or longer. This makes things feel more strenuous for me as an audience member; it’s crazy to watch Wick struggle so much, but he’s facing his biggest odds yet, and the man hasn’t hardly taken a break. There’s some things in this film that’ll make you cringe and shock you. I’ll speak for myself when I say that I didn’t see a few things coming from the story. Granted, there’s not much to keep under wraps with this plot, but with what they did there were some elements that I couldn’t predict so well, mainly because I couldn’t believe it (especially how this one ended). It’s a lot to chew on, as this third entry feels more to be a story developer than action romp. They’re laying the foundation for, yes, another film, and while it may seem agonizing to think, it actually doesn’t feel like it’s trying to make another movie until the third act. Like I said, there’s so much to digest in this story as it’s crammed with a lot of stuff. By the time the third act approached, I knew that there was no way they could wrap everything up in time. There’s too many loose ends and ground to cover. But let’s move past the observations and head straight to the opinion. I thought this story, albeit slow at times, was intriguing. It kept me invested and I thought everything was spread out well. The pacing could wane a bit for those looking for the crazy action that was dealt in “Chapter 2” (like myself), but if you walk in expecting a different approach, you’ll be satisfied. There were a lot of great action moments in this, some better than others, and I thought all of it was choreographed phenomenally. But that’s a given; it’s directed by a stuntman for Pete’s sake. Keanu Reeves is fantastic once again in his titular role, and the stars that are newcomers and returning were all solid. I liked Halle Berry’s character, as I did Angelica Huston’s. They certainly have more to offer (which I’ll be looking for in the fourth movie), but with what they were given in this hey were cool. Also, the score was awesome, as it always is. I didn’t expect nothing less. Really, the only issue I have with “John Wick Chapter 3” is how it feels more so like a part one to a two part finisher when looking at it from afar. There’s a lot of set-up and a lot of talking, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some of it can be a bit drawn out. The dialogue isn’t Oscar-worthy; while it certainly is awesome and solid most of the time, there’s some spots where it feels filler. Specifically the parts where we know the person John is talking to won’t help him and gives the same spiel everyone else gives. I’ll admit that I slightly zoned out a few times. However, as a whole, this movie succeeds. While it may be placed a bit lower in score than the previous two, it is certainly strong in its story and has some dope action scenes to keep you engaged. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what is next in store for Mr. Wick, who is without a doubt pissed off. FINAL SCORE: 89%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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