Super hitman John Wick is exiled from his guild of assassins after breaking their rules, forcing him to go on the run when he is hunted by his one kind after a price is put on his head.
During the first 15 minutes, John Wick uses a book in brutal fashion to murder a giant. If this information hasn’t already purchased a ticket for you to watch this near masterpiece, I don’t think this is the movie for you.
For the rest of us, welcome to action heaven.
Back in 2014, Keanu Reeves introduced the world to retired hit man John Wick, whose life of peace is interrupted after losing his wife to a terminal illness and his dog to a group of mobsters, causing him to return to his former profession and holes to appear in the heads of around 258 henchmen. It was an unexpected hit.
Reeves once again proves to be one of the best action heroes, providing Wick with his usual stoic, soft spoken nature and powerful physicality.
The third film also continues with the excellent world building set up previously, giving audiences new bits of information on the mysterious guild of assassins in each film, beefing up the story without sacrificing the focus on action.
And the action – the real reason these movies have proven to be so popular – is glorious. With fist fights, knife fights, gunfights, dog fights and two separate chase scenes, John Wick: Chapter 3 more than satisfies fans of the genre not only with the quantity of broken limbs and shots fired but also with the quality.
New to the franchise, Halle Berry stars as Sophia, another super assassin and close friend to Wick, who also has two German shepherd attack dogs that accompany her everywhere. Although Berry is in the film much less than expected, she, along with the dogs, star in one of the very best scenes, creating what can only be described as dog-fu.
Special mention must also go to martial artist and facial expression extraordinaire Mark Dacascos in the role of antagonist Zero, the man sent to hunt and kill Wick, who also happens to be his number 1 fan, giving this villain a fresh twist to an otherwise old formula.
It also helps that Dacascos takes on the role with the same palpable joy and gusto as when he was presenting secret ingredients on Iron Chef, making him a blast to watch. Likewise, his fight with our protagonist is a highlight.
Even though the first two films already looked great, Chapter 3 is on a whole new level presenting the most visually ambitious entry with some truly fantastic cinematography, expanding the scope of the franchise to epic proportions once John is moved to Morocco and a finale, that although quite similar to the climax of the second film, is still impressive in the use of a beautiful glass wall set.
However, there are some details holding this back from being the masterpiece it could have been. For one, the film may be a little too ambitious, trying to cram too much story and action into its 131 minutes, already quite long for a film of this type.
With this run time, the movie can feel exhausting at times in both good and bad ways, particularly in the third act where you think it might be ending but ramps up for yet a couple more set pieces. Thankfully those set pieces are so bone crushingly entertaining that it’s quite easy to forgive.
Another element that did take me out of the picture momentarily is the fact that it appears that John Wick has become near indestructible. It’s fair to say that he has tolerated some heavy beatings in past films, but this third chapter might stretch that suspension of disbelief belt just a little too hard, bringing it quite close to snapping.
On the other hand… John Wick kills a giant with a goddamn book.
Lovers of head shots, stab wounds, slashed throats, exploding heads, crotch bites, bone crunching and all other manner of violence towards various body parts – this movie is for you. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum continues the expansion of John Wick’s fascinating world while presenting some truly amazing action set pieces, cementing it as one of the greatest action franchises of all time.
TOTAL SCORE: 9 out 2,438 headshots