"John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
At the end of "John Wick: Chapter 2", John (Keanu Reeves) makes the dreadful decision to assassinate one of his enemies on the ground of the Continental Hotel, forcing him to become excommunicado and losing all privileges and safety that is granted to other assassins. Now on the run in the next entry of this fantastic action saga,"John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum", John must find out how to save himself and put an end to his involvement within the worldwide crime syndicate.
Being briefly teased in the second film, the High Table is dissatisfied with the way John handled things, especially since he killed a member of their own. Because of this, they send an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), who will now handle all of the affairs that goes on in the Continental, as well as dealing with those who have assisted Mr. Wick. At the same time, John now finds himself in the middle of trouble, being hunted by nearly every assassin throughout the world.
Hoping to use his long-time connections, as well as tickets into different organizations and a blood oath he has with fellow hitman Sofia Al-Azwar (Halle Berry), not only does John think he can win his freedom for good, but he can take down the High Table in the process, helping people like Winston (Ian McShane), who got in trouble due to his actions in the last film.
In a way, this film sort of feels like one huge chase scene. John is constantly running his way through different cities all over the world, fighting off whoever comes near him due to the massive bounty on his head. In terms of the chase and fight sequences, I think this movie does a fantastic job overall. The action sequences, while smaller in comparison to the other movies, still have the adrenaline and fantastic choreography found in the first two movies. Consider the sequence where John and Sofia go meet Sofia's former boss, which then ensues a terrific fight sequence of John and Sofia against an entire crime boss organization. Not only are guns and knives in play, but so are Sofia's dogs. This is the first time in this franchise we have really seen dogs utilized in fights for a long period of time, and I think it is complimented greatly by the great cinematography.
However, when John is not fighting against those rushing him, there are numerous scenes here that drag quite a bit. I mentioned in my review for the second entry that there are moments that throw off the pacing of the entire film, but this one does it quite a bit more. With scenes that should have worked, the filmmakers craft these segments that don't need to be included into the final product and loses the momentum that Reeves and the rest of the cast has been setting up through the great opening moments of the movie.
Reeves is once again great as the titular character, and he does a wonderful job of showing a different side of John we haven't seen before. While he has seemed hard-headed and fearless, this movie really breaks him down and shows his real human instincts come forward. He is in pain in some scenes, he is remorseful, he pleads for help; all of this goes to show how he is simply not a murdering machine, which is conveyed about some protagonists in movies like this. I'm really glad they added in that more human element, and I think they really let the character connect with the audience more.
At the same time, Berry is a great addition to the cast here, but I would go as far as to say that she should have been present more throughout the movie. She was only here for roughly twenty or thirty minutes, when they could have utilized her much more throughout the two-and-a-half hour runtime. The same could be said for Laurence Fishburne's character, who I feel like this movie always sidelines when trying to set up his character.
While this is without a doubt another great action movie, as well as a great addition to the franchise, this is easily the weakest of the three films. They could have tightened up the script much more and explored some of the minor characters throughout the movie, but this is easily overlooked by the great action sequences and Reeves' performance. This franchise will easily go down as one of the best action series to ever be created, and that is seen throughout all of the movies these filmmakers can make.