John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ★★★½

Of all the cinematic universes that could have arisen the success of the John Wick films seems to be the most unlikely. A hard-R series about assassins seems to more of a niche genre that one that could reap the rewards that it is currently receiving.
The films are visceral and exciting and it so refreshing to see filmmakers put an emphasis on practical stunts and effects. Their is a real power to the way they build momentum and much of it is satisfyingly cringe-worthy in the best way.
I felt this was a really good film, but to be honest it was exhausting. By the time the the final set pieces arrived I was ready for it to be over. Where the movies, all three, have failed me is in getting me invested in its hero. Reeves is perfect as this empty vessel killing machine, but it is that emptiness that becomes the issue. The lip-service they give to stakes only makes it feel tedious as I don't buy it. If he were just a soulless killing machine fighting to survive I would go for it, but all these moments set up to explain motivation are tedious and hurt the film.
It is, when it is in its groove, unbelievable awesome. The action beats are thrilling and unique and I could feel my adrenaline constantly rising. Reeves is a terrific physical actor and the director's commitment to showing how much of this is done in real time is worthy.
If there wasn't a WICK 4 I wouldnt be upset, but I can guarantee that I will for sure see it. What a conundrum.

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