Arguably the best so far John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is a tension filled, high octane action flick that doesn’t miss a single beat
Continuing with the only films he has directed to date, Chad Stahelski brings the third instalment in the John Wick franchise. A franchise built on the idea that a group of stunt men and other passionate creatives can present great action cinema, Chapter 3 continues the excellent franchise with style and substance to match. It is arguable whether or not it is the best in the franchise and such a question will likely split fans and critics alike, but it is without question that the most recent instalment is absolutely up to standard.
Picking up immediately where the second left off, John Wick is on the run and has only one hour to get his affairs in order as a massive bounty is placed on his head and he is declared “Excommunicado,” meaning he is to receive no help from the various services available to mercenaries and assassins across the globe. The story expands on the violent world John Wick exists in, taking it beyond New York City and revealing the great reach the so called “High Table” has. Whilst lacking the punchiness of the second film the plot does move along at a fast pace tying together the action sequences nicely. However the world building can take a bit too much precedence over what is otherwise a relatively simple action franchise. Trying to complicate the world with political structures and hierarchy is welcome but upping the scale too fast and too quickly can distract from this franchise’s biggest strength, its stunts and fights.
Several characters from the second film make a return including Winston (Ian McShane), The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and Charon (Lance Reddick) and many more new characters are introduced such as Sofia (Halle Berry), Zero (Mark Dacascos) and The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon). All the actors play their parts with wonderful seriousness in an utterly ridiculous world and keep the plot moving nicely between them. The star of the show is Keanu Reeves however for producing a wonderfully choreographed physical performance doing all of his own stunts. In a film and franchise like this it is incredibly important to reach the highest level of authenticity and it really is a testament to Reeves iconic status as an action hero.
The film is astounding visually, featuring some of the best cinematography and editing seen in the franchise so far. Dan Lausten returns as the cinematographer from the second film and simply ups the ante on visual ideas and colour schemes explored in the second film. Whether its wide shots of Wick taking on three or four guys hand to hand or close ups of him gunning down 20 men in front of him you’re never at a loss for astounding visual content that goes at just the right pace it needs to in order for the audience to be fully aware of what is going on and not get lost in the chaos.
Chad Stahelski’s experience as a stunt man shines through once again as Chapter 3 features some of the best action sequences in film today. Using minimal CGI to generate fight and action scenes of this scale is no small task and he handles it expertly. John is never safe, not in a single scene throughout this film and holding that tone without it becoming tiresome for over two hours is an impressive feat for any director let alone one who has only been on the scene for four years and only has two previous directing credits. It will be interesting to see the other projects Stahelski has in the works and how they turn out since he has only directed John Wick films so far, but so far he has done nothing but impress.
John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum creates a tension within the first five minutes that doesn’t let up until the credits roll. Featuring some of the best fight sequences of the franchise so far, Stahelski’s magnum opus is in full swing and still manages to impress in ways we weren’t expecting. It will be a long time before another original action franchise such as this creates so much buzz and excitement but there is no question that Keanu Reeves will live forever as one of the action movie greats because of this series of films.
Written by Alfie Smith