John Wick is a series that has escalated with each entry. Escalating in acting, story and of course over the top gunplay choreography. I remember watching the first John Wick after several friends stated they liked it when they didn’t think they would at first. After watching the trailer, which I thought was just ok, and putting it off for some time I finally sat down with a group of friends and watched it. Was I blown away. The ‘gun-fu’ the acting from the breathtaking Keanu Reeves, all came together to make a very fun very good film. Chapter 2 took things further and expanded the lore of this world, and now we have the third chapter in this series.
Parabellum starts off right where the second film ended with John on the run after he is declared excommunicado. He has no access to any of the Continental Hotels, which in the Wick-Universe are a safe area for assassins and a place to access weapons and other items needed for their line of work. He seeks help from others, but most are hesitant to help as it would put them under fire from the High Table who run the assassin organization. John persuades them and we also get a look into John’s past, learning his true name and origin. John then seeks out The Elder who is the only man above the High Table. Along the way we meet new characters like Sofia (Halle Berry) a Manager at the Casablanca Continental and who John has a marker with as well as returning characters like the Bowery King (Lawrence Fishburne).
Halle Berry is great as Sofia. What little backstory we get of her establishes her character immediately. You can tell the chemistry between her and Reeves is great and together they have a fun time on screen. Then Berry’s action sequence with dogs came in and it was easily the best action sequence of the film. The choreography, which has always been amazing in these films, continues to be amazing, with Berry not only holding her own in the fight, but also commanding two dogs to go after enemies. I really enjoyed her character and would love to see her return in future installments.
It’s not just her action sequences that are amazing, but unsurprisingly, so are Reeves. Things escalate so much in this movie. The man finds anything to kill. Did you think a pencil was good enough? No? How about a book, or horses. When you watch behind the scenes videos of how they choreograph the fights and gun play, it’s so incredible. How every little detail is perfected in the actors movements. I thought the action in Chapter 2 was insane, however there are some fights in Parabellum that take it further. ￼While I did think the final fight with Zero (Mark Dacascos) was a little less spectacular than the rest of the action sequences, the character of Zero himself makes up for it. He had some comedic moments throughout the film, and you could tell Mark was enjoying himself.
As for the music in the film, Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard return as composers for the third time and nail the atmosphere once again. I’m currently listening to it while writing the review and the very ominous nature it gives off is chilling. On the flip side we then have these fast beat songs which add onto the action sequences and compliment it perfectly. The music and fight choreography have always been done well in the previous films and it does not disappoint here either.
This film was so enjoyable to me, and I appreciated every minute of it. I also really enjoyed, while not intentional, the parallels this movie had with another series I deeply enjoy Uncharted. In Uncharted 3, you learn more backstory about the main character Nathan Drake, learning that he also has a true name and he also traverses the desert in search of answers. Familiar? I just thought it was a fun coincidence.
While the three films make a great story arc for John Wick, it comes as no surprise that this films sets up a forth entry with an already set release date of May 2021. While I would have loved for it to be a great trilogy, I think I’ll be okay with it being a quadrilogy of films. The Wick-Universe will also continue to grow as a new series entitled The Continental will be airing on Starz. The show will have a new guest and show how this guest becomes and assassin. No release date has been set as of yet. There is also a game called John Wick Hex coming to consoles and PC from Bithell Games. It’s safe to say that this franchise that started as a one off and has now turned into this massive series, is not going anywhere anytime soon. And I for one am perfectly okay with that.