John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

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

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

Relentless. If you have to sum up Parabellum in one word, it's that. It's not just that in its filmmaking but in the narrative itself. John is clearly tired. One of the best aspects about this series is that while John of course plows through countless nameless thugs, he's not doing it like a superhero. Each kill requires effort, precision, and a little bit of himself being thrown into every bit of conflict. The gap between this film and the original John Wick is five years, but I believe that folks have pinned down that the entire trilogy takes place over the span of only about three weeks to John himself. That's nuts, nearly immeasurable just trying to think about the possible mental and physical anguish that John faces. A random thing that my mom said while watching this with me was commenting on how little dialogue there is throughout the film. A good bulk of the narrative of this movie is spoken through fisticuffs and loud gunshots, and I think I also landed on how much is also being conveyed emotionally for John through that action too. You know me, I love when genre filmmaking gets philosophical. Is Parabellum an intentional commentary on the metaphorical struggle of staying alive in your own way every day? I don't know. Maybe not. However, it's certainly exciting to be interpreted that way, and pretty easy too. This movie is so exciting, so gorgeous, and just entertaining and hard-hitting in the way you want "genre" to be. I like how Parabellum also of course translates to "Prepare for war.", where this film offers flourishing glimpses into the malleability of the human body and the myriad of means you can use to morph and tear skin, doing this across the world with different cultures, but we're only just preparing for a war. I would wager that in this movie alone, John Wick kills a hundred people. He's a bulletproof suit with a lead cannon that keeps moving, altering, and sacrificing bits of his body so long as he can stay alive. Where does that get him at the end of this? Falling ten stories, without a finger, bloodied and bruised to the point of looking like butcher meat. You do so much, you defy the odds, and you're somehow lower than you were before. What's that like? How does that make you feel? The final exchange makes that clear:

"You pissed, John? Are you?"
"...Yeah."

9.5/10

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