John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ★★★★

So I still think this is the weakest of the three Wick films so far, but that's partially because of the sagging middle and partially because these movies are just that good. Since pulling "Baba Yaga" out of retirement twice, John Wick's name is no longer whispered among criminals. Instead he's a celebrity, alternately greeted in the street and stabbed in the back by those seeking to claim the bounty on his head.

With notoriety on a global scale comes a globetrotting adventure and a sequel that questions the foundations on which it was built. Wick's plan is to find the obscure leader of the high table in Morocco to beg forgiveness for his transgressions. But first he has to get out of New York pursued by every assassin in New York with a burner phone and a desire for $14, er- $15 million, without anyone to aid him due to his "excommunicado" status.

The first act more than pays off the cliffhanger ending of the second film. A grand payoff to the paranoia that anyone could be a hired assassin. A library book, display cases full of knives, horses utilized as a weapon. It's clever, graceful, brutal, and funny the variety of ways he's able to take out hordes of enemies. The second act is mostly tablesetting for the finale but it does bring to the forefront how numerous players are becoming disillusioned with the high table.

The final act is jawbreaking sequence after sequence. Wick pitted against heavily-armored enemies immune to his normal tactics. Any staging that requires Wick to shoot his every combatant in the head is welcomed by me. Then the film reaches what is likely my favorite sequence in the franchise to date. Wick facing his number one fan Zero (Dacascos) and his students in a homage to Enter the Dragon that becomes wholly its own creation. Glass dividers and neon lights creating shadows in which to hide between waves of attacks. I think the best that can be said about this series is that each film manages to reveal more of the world without compromising the intrigue. Bigger than ever and still managing surprises, I haven't been disappointed yet.

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