John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ★★★★

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"Fourteen million dollar bounty on his head, and every interested party in this city wants a piece of it. I say the odds are about even."

"John Wick - Chapter 3" picks up exactly where its predecessor ended. John has been excommunicated from the underworld and has just under an hour before every person on earth (it feels like there are no normal people) will try to collect his bounty. Wick is still the best of the best though, so killing him is harder than said. With the help of old faces including an old friend and his old family, the professional assassin still has a few aces up his sleeve. So it's now the world against John Wick. Stahelski has always had a distinct talent for spicing up his action parables with new, fresh ideas and elements. That's what made the second part so appealing. And that's also the case with the third "John Wick" film, which once again completely exaggerates and thus actually becomes the strongest installment of the franchise (without including chapter 4).

As in its two predecessors, quite a few people are shot in the head in Parabellum. It would be difficult to estimate the total number of people who ended up in the cave in this movie, probably somewhere in the range of 200- 220. Not only guns are used, but also axes, rifles, katanas, a (damn) lot of knives, motorcycles, horses, dogs, belts and books! Exaggerated? God, YES! It's the defining characteristic of "John Wick" movies. Called to life by screenwriter Derek Kolstad and explosively brought to life by director Chad Stahelski with Keanu Reeves in the title role, the franchise goes so far over the bar in terms of mega mayhem that it's frankly hilarious. Wick slapping a horse on the butt while one of his opponents is standing behind the animal; Throwing knives at a guy until you don't recognize him; A book to read? Mhhh nope, better stuff someone's mouth with it; A fanboy of Wick wants to kill Wick? What luck he has to meet him. He didn't get an autograph, unfortunately, but something else (great humorous character, by the way); Although a war starts between The Continental and The High Table, Winston relaxes comfortably in a safe vault while sipping a cognac and his killer friend and loyal hotel employee fight for their lives upstairs. Not even the interruptions of Wick and Charon replenishing guns and ammo can bother him; Bullets fly in the faces and necks of thousands of people and it just doesn't stop. God I love this movie!

We can't even breathe during these 2 hours. Already in the first half hour of the film the audience is reminded who John fucking Wick is. The highlight of the franchise is and remains the perfectly presented hand-to-hand fights, which are sophisticated with different fighting techniques and are impressively rounded off by a perfect handling of firearms. Especially the remarkable camera movements or the chosen fight locations are a visual enrichment that captures every scene in a proven way and lets the potential of the performance fully ignite. Director Chad Stahelski takes it as a personal challenge to up the ante and outdo himself, so if that means staging a fight underwater in a pool on the moon, so be it. And just like Wick, he does it with an elevated sense of style, setting the stage for a brawl with Vivaldi's "Winter" from "The Four Seasons." While I'm on the subject of action, I might as well mention a problem with this chapter. It's also a film in love with its own mythmaking. Even the characters John Wick faces are enamored with Wick, as if they were beaming fans of the first two films. Two of his enemies, feel so honored to have a fight with Wick that practically in the middle of it, they ask for his autograph or when they send him to the ground, they let him up, of course. This is the kind of humor and levity that helps set "John Wick 3" apart from a dour exercise in hyper-violence. Rather, it's a fun, entertaining romp that knows it's ridiculous from the moment Wick takes out a 7-foot-tall assassin by beating him to death with a book in a library. Or for one, the big action sequence in Morocco where John and Sophia (good performance by the way) shoot what feels like 50 million guys in the head. These ridiculous henchmen spawn endlessly like in a video game that won't stop. By the way, am I the only one who notices that Wick always hits his opponent in the balls (I mean good tactics, but it's really funny), or in all movies literally always gets run over at least 6 times each (this man has crazy durability feats). At times you even get the impression that John Wick is always superior to his opponent despite some injuries and can't be seriously wounded - at this you can't help smiling smugly when you watch it from a certain point on. The attempt to increase the action and to excite the viewer once again is praiseworthy, but the credibility should still be maintained. It can sometimes go over the line, but not to such an extent. Oh god, it's an action movie, I forgive you, Chapter 3.

John Wick: Chapter 3 is the most entertainingly, satisfying and bombastic entry in the triology. For a franchise that has defined itself by high-difficulty action, this is the best looking and most loopy action they've filmed to date (look at date of watched). One wonders how the hell they're going to top that again? Well whether they did or not you'll find out in my next review.

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