Action Crime

Review: ‘John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum’ is an Adrenaline-Fueled Sequel that Hits the Mark

May 14, 2019Ben MK

Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson may have proven that men of a certain age are still capable of kicking ass and taking names, but Keanu Reeves certainly upped the ante as John Wick. Now, with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, the saga of the man that the underworld's most ruthless assassins call Baba Yaga comes to a close — or does it?

Picking up immediately following the bloody events of John Wick: Chapter 2, Parabellum finds John on the run. Excommunicated from the shadowy, secret society of assassins known as the High Table for killing a newly-inducted member on company grounds, he must make his way out of New York — but with a $14 million bounty on his head and every single contract killer in the city out to claim the prize, he'll have to contend with an endless onslaught of homicidal opponents hellbent on ensuring that he doesn't survive the night.

Enter the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), a High Table official who arrives in NYC with a simple agenda — to tie up loose ends. It doesn't take long, however, for it to become apparent that not only is she here to impose judgment on those deemed guilty of crimes against the High Table, from Ian McShane's Winston to Laurence Fishburne's Bowery King; she's also here to deal out swift and brutal punishment. Enlisting the expertise of a master assassin named Zero (Mark Dacascos) and his deadly crew, the Adjudicator carves a warpath through the city's dark and rainy streets, with the trail of blood leading straight to John Wick.

Also joining in on the action this time around are Anjelica Huston and Halle Berry, both of whom play mysterious figures from John's past, which he must revisit if he is to ensure that he has a future in this world. Despite their inclusion, however, returning director Chad Stahelski and writers Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins and Marc Abrams keep the film, for better or worse, firmly fixed on its titular character, as he journeys from New York City to Casablanca, Morocco and back again.

Yet, despite how impressive the world-building in these movies continues to be, the action and the stunts are, without a doubt, more so. Whether it's watching John snap an assailant's neck with a book or seeing him turn the powerful hind legs of a horse into lethal weapons, the creativity of the filmmakers in this arena is what makes the result so enjoyable. And even though it often seems like Parabellum can't go more than a few minutes without ratcheting up the body count, suffice to say that it all works spectacularly in its favor.

That said, while what Stahelski, Reeves and company have crafted here may be easily accessible, it's the longtime fans of the series that will get the most out of this sequel. After all, this is John Wick's world, we all just live in it — and if this proves to be the franchise's final installment, then it's fitting that it's also its most excellent.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum releases May 17th, 2019 from Entertainment One. The film has an MPAA rating of R for pervasive strong violence, and some language. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 10 min.

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