Keanu Reeves shines as John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum adds stunning martial arts choreography to its patented Gun-Fu combat, bringing a worthy new chapter to a near flawless franchise.
The John Wick series has been one of the most impressive Hollywood film franchises we’ve seen in the last decade. Ever since 2014’s John Wick took audiences by storm with its silent movie like structure, fluid action sequences and stylized set pieces, audiences just can’t have enough of the notorious hitman.
Returning to the director chair is Chad Stahelski, having helmed the franchise since the beginning, Stahelski is clearly getting more comfortable with the world of John Wick, increasing the stakes, the choreography and the violence with each sequel. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is no different. Parabellum gives fans everything they loved about the previous two chapters, just dialed up to 11.
Keanu Reeves is Impeccable as John Wick
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is once again led by Keanu Reeves. The star has reinvented himself in recent years and through the John Wick franchise, has brought himself back to super-stardom. Ever since the Matrix franchise made him a household name, Keanu Reeves has an instant charm about him. The way he carries himself on and off set perfectly elevates his sober yet violent persona as the Boogyman of the underworld. Reeves returns to the role of Wick with an angrier, dangerous and weary personality. Pulling it off effortlessly, Reeves’ presence on the franchise is unmistakably great and he is just as responsible for the success of the franchise as anyone.
Outside of Keanu Reeves, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum brings faces new and old to surround the notorious assassin. Joining him are returning faces Ian McShane as Winston, Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King and Lance Reddick as Charon. Each of them have done a terrific job in the franchise up until this point and continue to do so here. Newcomer to the franchise Halle Berry shines as Sofia, another master assassin. Halle does a great job and fits right into the John Wick saga, particularly with incredible choreography surrounding the character and her dogs. John Wick has always been a franchise of little words that puts action over story, yet John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum adds more exposition and fleshes out the world around the assassin that much better.
Stunning Action & Beautiful Cinematography is the Key
As with any John Wick film, most of the audience is there for one reason, to watch extremely violent acts with beautiful cinematography. In this area, the franchise has always excelled. While John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 are the gold standard of Gun-Fu, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum goes a step further with incorporating actual martial arts, asian swordsmanship and a plethora of Samurai and Ninja influences. While there is a ton of strong Gun-Fu action sequences, particularly in the second act, the film’s highlight action sequences came surprisingly in moments without any gunfire. Hand to hand combat, knife combat, swordsmanship and martial arts were the true kings of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Jonathan Eusebio, the stunt and fight coordinator, alongside director Chad Stahelski, brought the best fight sequences of the franchise so far.
Speaking of cinematography, John Wick has always excelled at creating beautiful backdrops for the violence and carnage to breathe in. Whether it is the rainy, neon soaked lights of New York City, the sounds, smells and sights of the Desert sequences, or the brightly lit, mirror ridden maze of the final act, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum never disappoints in looking beautiful. Classical music, ballet performances and iconic venues become home to the High Table’s ever reaching power in the underworld and John Wick’s playground for action. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen goes above and beyond in creating the world of John Wick in Parabellum and deserves high praise for his work.
Overall, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is an incredible entry into the franchise. With this film, one can argue the John Wick franchise is one of the most flawless trilogies we have seen. John Wick has surpassed the likes Jason Bourne and John Rambo and is quickly closing in on James Bond for the title of greatest action movie franchise of all time. Personally speaking, I wouldn’t bet against John Wick anytime soon, the Baba Yaga of Hollywood is here to stay.