John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ★★★★½


We open on a shot of the Statue of Liberty. Lightning strikes, and thunder cracks. New York is a neon nightmare. John Wick runs. Rain pours. Assassins come out to play. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Parabellum is not in any way a remarkable example of storytelling in film. It is, however, far and away, beyond a shadow of a doubt, no questions asked one of the most stunning examples of action to ever grace American theater screens. It is action in bold, italics, and all caps. ACTION. You're more or less watching an action sequence that occasionally breaks into a narrative, and the mileage you're going to get from your experience depends on how you react to that.

Death by gun. Death by knife. Death by knives. Death by more knives. Death by dog. Death by horse. Death by book. Death by Halle Berry. Enough bullets to make the NRA blush. Enough broken glass for eternal bad luck. It's almost complete pure kinetic motion from start to finish. The nightclub shootout from the first flick is still my favorite action set piece from the franchise, but there's a knife fight at the beginning of Parabellum that makes your jaw drop, rips your jaw off, and shoves your jaw in your mouth. Not often you hear audible audience reactions from an action sequence that doesn't have "Marvel" or "Star Wars" stamped on it. (And as icing on some more icing, John gets to fight not one, but both villains from The Raid films? Our God is a gracious God.) The John Wick series is becoming a staple of modern American filmmaking, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Really just gonna keep it that. See it for yourself. Strap in. Prepare for war.


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