At some point you just can’t be afraid to let the action get operatic…
In John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum the saga continues with our man now on the run and a very large bounty on his head as things get bigger and a little more intense.
The stakes are getting even more unexpected then ever as super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
In this third installment, the action gets bigger and a little more gonzo as John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum opens up this world to a lot more than just a grieving husband and his dog.
Chad Stahelski is genuinely coming into his own as a world builder and here New York City fully embraces its gothic architecture to make it feel like we are in the city of Gotham rather than somewhere that actually exists. Painting it all in a rain soaked swath of stylish chaos, Stahelski ramps us up for a ride that is going to be a lot bolder then you’d anticipate. Borrowing from stylish action franchises like The Raid; he puts Wick in some impossible situations and we just have to see how he’s going to fight his way out of them.
The deeper down the rabbit hole of this character that we end up going, the more insane and truly off the wall this all gets. In many ways this John Wick franchise feels like a budget version of the crazy Fast & Furious worlds. It all started off so simply but the more the onion peels back the more we see about this unique man and the world of trouble that he’s gotten himself into. In this film we finally get to see HOW out of the criminal life he truly had to dig himself in order to find his happiness with his wife. Stahelski gives us a visual representation of Wick having to go back in, in order to truly get out which is why the set pieces and the intensity of the action just keep getting bigger and badder.
The script with Derek Kolstad leading the way not only hits all the beats that we want but is actively opening our eyes to a much larger world that these characters live in and we just want to see more and more of it. It’s taking what could have very easily been one story of revenge and evolving into something much more as we see this man get pushed beyond his breaking point and be compelled to just keep going.
Keanu Reeves in the title role is really starting to settle into the part and he adds new layers to it all. This man has had so much thrown at him that he can’t help but laugh about it (even just a little) and this revenge story of a man wanting to grieve his wife in piece evolves into a story of a hero bucking an unfair system and status quo doing everything in his power to burn it all to the ground.
Mark Dacascos as our main bad guy is actually a hell of a lot of fun bringing not only the necessary skills to kick some ass but a wry sense of humor along for the ride.
Sadly, outside of Ian McShane the balance of the ensemble really doesn’t get a lot of room to work with and that includes Halle Berry in a small but decent role that basically plays like stunt casting more than anything else.
Ultimately, John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum does what you just wouldn’t expect it to do. It ramps up the action to a fever pitch of near exhaustion while still allowing this world to develop and expand to the point that we simply can’t wait to see what happens next.