John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ★★½

Winston : This haven is safe no more.
John Wick : Are services still off limit to me?
Winston : Under the circumstances your privileges are reinstated immediately, what do you need?
John Wick : Guns, lots of guns

The John Wick films are baffling to me. The more entries the series releases; the less of an actual character John becomes. You see, I don’t care about most scenes mid-film revolving around plot armor, and scenes that make CinemaSins go “he shouldn’t have survived that”. I see that as living up to the mythos. John Wick is a caricature, he’s supposed to kill everybody as rad as with a pencil - that isn’t my problem though. As I said earlier, John’s arc has downgraded after every release, turning more and more into a plot device himself - simply reacting to the plot happening in front of him. The films feels more like a spreadsheet rather than a painting on a canvas. Wick used to be a puzzle of personality; now, he’s a blank sheet of paper. In addition, Chapter 3 has way too many stylized subtitles and is far and away the dullest entry in the franchise. It gets repetitive and stale VERY early in its runtime. Despite having its choreography and fighting scenes on par as the other two, there has to be a line drawn on whether or not we can criticize something for not offering something new as opposed to constantly delivering the bare minimum.

In retrospect, it isn’t an understatement to call John Wick one big long fighting video-game with cut scenes as the main source of story - if the movie actually had any story to begin with. It’s all so upsetting. John Wick 1 felt like the perfect set-up AND the perfect ending to a trilogy - not whatever this bloated and stretched 2-hour fight scene. And to be completely frank, I can’t even call Chapter 3 as a product of pure escapism because I’d often view escapism to have some sort of essence, some sort of soul. It’s all one big piece of turd served on a silver platter. I’m a fan of the horseback fights, the two dogs sequence, and even Boban Marjanovic’s little cameo. I just don’t like the fact that Chapter 3 just feels like one big bridge to connect Chapter 2 to Chapter 4. John’s arc does absolutely nothing to progress in any meaningful way. This series should’ve started with Chapter 1 and ended with Chapter 1. Just like Chapter 2, The actors’, especially Keanu’s, physical performances shine the best with their sheer viciousness and natural brutality. If Chapter 3 was nothing else but a stunt reel, I would’ve probably liked it more.

I’m honestly completely stumped as to how so many people think highly of this film. It’s entertaining on surface, for sure, but come on, this constant theme of consequence and penance is present but not exactly quite impressively cathartic. There were moments and aspects in the movie that stood out and really contributed to what I liked about it. This movie has better cinematography than the former two - I’ll give it that. The way some of the action was filmed and directed, as well as how they incorporated visuals into key scenes like the duel with Zero, was really cool. Speaking of Zero, this guy is another one-dimensional villain in the Wickverse. The fan-boy angle the writing took is something I’m not particularly a fan of, especially with how much Wick just doesn’t care and is almost always just trying to find a way to shrug it off and avoid it. But, the standout character to me, is still very much so, Winston. The ending, as absurd as it is for Wick to have survived that, was probably the best way to go because, while nearing the end of the film, I simply could not find a great way to close off a trilogy with the messy pile of screenplay pages the Wickverse already is. Chapter 3 struggled with trying to patch up the cliffhanger of Chapter 2. I can’t wait to see how badly Chapter 4 tries to patch up Chapter 3’s. Fuck me, Ghost Protocol and Fallout are both significantly better than any of the Wick films, despite the concepts and ideas presented by the Wick films being so much more interesting while possessing so much more potential

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