The John Wick franchise has to be the most surprising franchise I have seen developed in my lifetime. The first one looked terrible from the trailers and then surprised us all by being a kickass action film. Then the second one came out and showed not only does it get better, but it has a devoted audience which gives it staying power. The latest installment John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is absolutely incredible and probably the best of the franchise.
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum picks up right where John Wick Chapter Two left off. John Wick is ‘excommunicanoed’ and was given one hour to run before a contract of $14 million is put on his head for the world to try and claim. Of course with his decisions, there are consequences and while John has the toughest time, those who assist him also feel the repercussions. As soon as the second film ended, we knew exactly what we were in for in this film and it did not disappoint. While the action is the key to this franchise (more on that later), the story is not to be thrown away. My favorite thing about these films has been the world they created. This totally believable underground organization of assassins that secretly control everything. They have their own currency, hotels, and janitors and our introduction to that world has been fascinating. In this film they take that world and apply it to the story even more, to where it is now essential to the plot. On top of that, we get hints and reveals of John Wick’s past which is something I never thought I would need in these films. Usually, backstory with a badass character, takes away their mystique but they do it right in this film and adds to the overall success of this franchise.
Now what draws us most to this series? The action. The action is the selling point of the John Wick trilogy and people expect to be awed. As a lazy magician would say, “prepare to be amazed”. I kid you not, I screamed audibly at least four times from some of these action sequences. Previously, we witnessed the ‘Gun-Fu’ that director Chad Stahelski coined where it is fighting creatively with guns. In this film, John Wick uses the whole kitchen sink (I still don’t understand that saying). Everything is a weapon, such as knives, axes, and even horses. There are too many amazing sequences to name but the one at the beginning really sets the stage for the rest of the film. Is some of it a bit long? Yes, some sequences could have been cut down, but when it is executed (pun fully intended), as well as it is, there are no complaints. Action junkies will eat this up.
Finally, the cast that makes up the John Wick franchise is just as good, if not better than they always have been. Keanu Reeves has firmly cemented himself in my eyes as the best action star of our time. Yes, above Tom Cruise. When I think of Keanu, I think of John Wick. He is synonymous with the role. Actors and characters sometimes just find each other and become the perfect fit. No one else could play this character. Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, and Lance Reddick also return to their roles and absolutely crush it. Halle Berry is a new addition whose character was so much fun to watch develop. I want to see her have a movie down the road. Also, look out for Mark Dacascos to be a scene stealer. This franchise has always been great at balancing realism, these characters walk that line and never cross it.
At the end of the day, John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is everything John Wick fans can expect and more. They deliver on the action and double down on the world development to create a thrill-ride at the theater. Keanu Reeves has found his career defining role and you appreciate every second he is in the suit with a gun in his hand. I could watch this franchise forever.
The Verdict: 4.5/5 Stars