JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM [2019]


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Unsurprisingly, Chapter 3 immediately follows the events that ended the previous film. Wick is limping and bleeding, constantly checking his watch, as is every assassin in the city – all receiving information that there is a 14 million dollar reward on his head. The fact that any person could be an assassin is a highly unstable situation for Wick, who is looking over his shoulder constantly, keeping the audience guessing.

The action does not take long to kick into gear, as a very huge assassin (who is actually the tallest player in the NBA currently, the giant 7’3″ Boban Marjanovic) attacks Wick despite the fact that they were formally friends.

14 million is a large stack of cash.

As they are in a library, Wick puts a thick hard-cover book to good use as he fights the much bigger opponent. Much like its predecessors, there is no shying away from brutal action here while avoiding anything excessively gory. The camera-work is again sublime, a signature of the series.

Injured, but of course still able to fight, Wick seeks the help of old friends, but they all tell him that they could be killed by the high table (those who pull the strings in this intriguing world of assassins) just for talking to Wick, let alone helping him.

Now the hunted rather than the hunter, Wick’s desperation leads him abroad to again try to have old friends help him. He is unsuccessful, until he meets an old friend in Sofia (a feisty Halle Berry) who shines in her limited combat scenes, fighting alongside Wick as their tag-team face countless enemies.

Ex-stuntman Chad Stahelski returns to direct Chapter 3, again without his directing partner from the original film, David Leitch. Many argue that the first film was superior due to Leitch’s involvement, especially after he belted out the incredible Atomic Blonde. But Stahelski has established himself also, and Chapter 2 and 3 are proof of this.

He is obviously taking this franchise seriously, directing all three films. It is no surprise then that he commands brilliant and extended combat scenes, creatively constructing scenes involving motorbike chases and even Wick riding a horse through the streets of New York. Dogs trained to attack also add to the body count. The action is smooth, with many extended takes, showing that the actors can actually perform the fighting moves, unlike most action films with ADD-like cuts.

For a straight action film, the story isn’t terrible or clichéd. There are plot holes I am sure, but really, who cares? The idea of a world of assassins, and a hotel that provides a safe haven for them is surreal and original. The underground world of assassins posing as homeless people is another well executed idea as it instantly puts Wick and the audience on high alert, as these people are everywhere, posing as insane homeless people… until they suddenly jump into action. 

As well as Keanu Reeves, it is fantastic that those who survived the second chapter return. Lance Reddick, the assertive but friendly concierge, Ian McShane as Winston, manager of the Continental Hotel, and Lawrence Fishburne as the slightly unhinged homeless man whose looks vastly contrast the power that he wields within his underground world.

Parabellum translates into ‘Prepare for war’ in Latin, an appropriate title given it is exactly what Wick needs to do, and there are other parts of the film that also require… well, preparation for war. The final moments take place in a neon lit room, with a giant screen projecting psychedelic images. It feels like this should be distracting, but the quality of the hand to hand combat is too good, creating fabulously lighted moments.

A final stamp of approval is the soundtrack by Tyler Bates. Interestingly, while he chose existing songs for Atomic Blonde, here, he and John J. Richard have created a thumping soundtrack that never intrudes, rather it amplifies each scene with its genre-splash of rock, electronica, ambient, and traditional soundtrack moments.

Go see it. Now. Or Wick will come for you.


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8 Comments on “JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM [2019]

  1. Sonofa . . . you’ve already seen this?! Nice! And I’m so glad you tossed in the Boban Marjanovic cameo — that’s news to me and makes this thing even more of a must-see. That’s a great choice for a baddie. Dude is frikkin gigantic.

    Speaking of which, I saw your comments about the 76ers on one of my posts and I gotta say, there was not much love lost there for me. Kawhi’s shot was freaking brutal the way it went down but I’m really not a fan of Philly. I think their fans are trash, the city is trash and the team is young and immature. (Joel Embiid springs to mind immediately.) I do like Ben Simmons, though. That kid is super-talented and it clearly is a work in progress for him too, shooting-wise. I think his development (or still lack of it) hurt the team vs the Raptors. Jimmy Butler I really don’t like so that was the biggest thing for me, seeing him lose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so surprised to see him I had to look it up!! Hehe, I saw the very first session of this with my Dad, its so much fun. And we’re a day ahead of you guys (and going by posters got this flick a day earlier than you guys). Hooray for us! I totally forgot this was being made until Dad asked me about it not that long ago

      As for Philly, I can’t say I remember any fans anywhere booing their own team so freaking much. Are the like the hicks of the northern half of the US or something?

      Simmons needs to develop into a player who can make plays in the half court, as well as an ability to shoot more than two feet away. Honestly its pathetic and unimproved after college and his first year in the league. It is also really clear that he is still not used to NBA defense, he is so goddamn sloppy. Man I could go on, obviously I’m watching every game he plays but still… effort is another problem, like he doesn’t really care if he wins or not.

      I hate people who do this to coaches… but I’m about to. Brett Brown needs to go. He should have addressed Ben’s lack of shooting the second Simmons was drafted. People are starting to laugh at it now, if it doesn’t improve next season it never will.

      Hehe whats wrong with Jimmy? I do think tho he is a touch overrated and unfortunately will probably walk from the team, if he hasn’t already.

      Like

  2. Oh….I saw it already….but I would very much like Mr. Wick to come for me 😀

    Really loved this one. Not as much as the first but it was better than second and the look of the movie is INSANE. It looks gorgeous and surreal and that music is always excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • with you on the surreal nature of it. I’ve enjoyed all of them, the 2nd was a slight drop off but what a way to kick back into gear!!

      and YES a THUMPIN soundtrack that not once intruded

      Like

      • I think this score may be the best in the trilogy so far, there are so many standout track especially the one where they fight at the Continental and McShane is dodging calls

        Liked by 1 person

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