Friday, May 24, 2019

Movie Review: “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum”

By Emily Maier

Rated: R
Run time: 130 mins

When the world’s top assassin breaks the rules of the criminal underworld, the leaders known as the High Table put a bounty on his head for $14 million. As a result, John Wick is now being hunted by every assassin that crosses his path – and in this movie, assassins are just around every corner.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum” is the third installment of the John Wick franchise, starring Keanu Reeves as the titular assassin. The movie follows the fallout of John’s decision to murder a member of the High Table within the walls of the Continental Hotel – a place where “business” is not allowed to be conducted. The deadly gunman is once again forced to cut through a field of innumerable enemies if he ever wants to return to his peaceful life of retirement.

To anyone that likes action flicks, I really can’t recommend this movie enough– and the series in general. “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum” is stylish and fun, without succumbing to tropes typically found in the action genre. John might be feared for his invincibility, but he still gets injured throughout the film, so each fight actually has consequences. Characters frequently run out of bullets and are forced to get creative when using the things around them as weapons. For example, a few interesting “weapons” John utilizes are a library book, a belt, and horses. What’s more, I’m always amazed by the clever worldbuilding in each “John Wick” film. The criminal underworld is intricate and full of lore, and each sequel makes sure to give the audience just enough details to keep them wondering.

Whether returning characters or new additions, the cast of “John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum” is as colorful as ever. A few familiar faces include hotel manager Winston (played by Ian McShane), concierge Charon (played by Lance Reddick), and the Bowery King (played by Laurence Fishburne). New characters include Halle Berry as a German-Shepherd-wielding assassin named Sofia, Asia Kate as a representative of the High Table known as The Adjudicator, and Mark Dacascos as a hitman sent to kill John Wick.

Though “John Wick” excels in many ways, the astounding fight choreography has always been what makes the series stand out in a sea of other action films. Each fight scene has the fluidity and grace of a dance, which is emphasized with the presence of ballet throughout this third installment. The action is also very easy to follow because the movie uses long shots instead of the choppy editing found in most action flicks. Skilled choreographers, actors, and cameramen combine to make scene after scene wonderful to watch. The movie’s trademark neon aesthetic only adds to the stunning visuals.

Each movie in the trilogy is rated R for violent content, but I found “Parabellum” to be the bloodiest installment yet. However, the gore in no way takes away from the levity of the movie, as this third sequel may also be the funniest. The comedic timing had my entire theater in stitches more than once.
I’ve been a fan of the series since the first movie came out in 2014, so it’s great to see the movies are still going strong five years later. Though most franchises tend to outlive their expiration dates, leaving audiences with contrived, purposeless plots, “John Wick” has never felt tired or worn out. Much like the protagonist, “John Wick” only seems to be getting better with age. 

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