John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ★★★★

Heard this was about to be taken down from HBOMax and wanted to rewatch it in preparation for "Chapter 4." This was my first viewing since theaters in May 2019, which was one of those ideal screenings that I haven't really experienced post-COVID, even though theaters are back to normal operations—a packed theater at the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco on opening night, an electric charge and palpable feeling of excitement running through the room, especially as the first 40 minutes or so of "Parabellum" deliver an almost Looney Tunes-like sense of escalating violence, perhaps peaking with that knife hallway sequence that sees John Wick turning a bunch of goons into human pin cushions.

I tend to feel like the movie loses a bit of momentum when we get to Casablanca—you start to get the feeling the whole film is structured around John Wick retrieving the next 'plot coupon' so he can receive some exposition or clue to the next plot coupon—and I think Keaunu's strengths tend to lie in the dynamic gunplay over the hand-to-hand fighting...during the climax, it's way more fun to watch Keanu have to deal with reload after reload as he takes on a bunch of armored foes vs. watching Keanu get the shit kicked out of him by "The Raid" boys. Chapter Two continues to be my favorite of the series, but I'm psyched for what Chad Stahelski and company have up their sleeve.

Another thing I appreciate about the Wick films: in an era of digital mush, these movies look damn good. Hiring Guillermo Del Toro's DP turned out to be a very smart move for this action series.

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