REVIEW: John Wick Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Parabellum is the first John Wick in the franchise to earn the chapter part of its subtitle. Much like your standard novel or a Netflix original, it wastes no time on what was set up in the last chapter, choosing to instead plow forward with the overarching plot. But even if someone didn’t know a gosh darn thing about John Wick before watching the 3rd in the franchise, I believe they’d still enjoy Chapter 3 from the start.

The choice to skip the recap forces the audience to take stock of the current plot rather than dwell on what came before. Much like the Indiana Jones movies, the titular character is naturally compelling and a little mysterious, so the need for detail when it comes to lore is incredibly minimal. Just check out this 2 sentence synopsis.

John Wick is one of the world’s best assassins who has been blacklisted by almost every competent killer on earth. Now he must somehow beat the odds and fight his way to a peaceful life.

You really don’t have to see the other 2 movies to enjoy that.

That being said, you’d certainly benefit from seeing John Wick 1 and 2 before this film because Parabellum perfectly builds into the world established in the previous installments. You would never guess that chapter 2 and 3 were even shot at different times, much less handled by completely different writers and producers. The modern-day ninjas feel like a natural extension. The Adjudicator opens the door to so many great conflicts. John gets deeper and deeper as a character. Etc. Etc.

Plus, all my favorite aspects were maintained in peak condition. The fight scenes are just as creative, the criminal underworld feels just as fresh, and the cast doesn’t skip a beat.

Oh, and if I’m mentioning the cast, I gotta start a new section.

Y’ALL! THIS CAST!

From the biggest big name to the smallest bit role; the acting in John Wick 3 is on another level. Halle Barry appears with her best performance in who knows how long, Anjelica Huston was the smartest casting choice of the summer so far, and even the dude from Iron Chef America is good in this movie. The Bowery King is perhaps one of my favorite characters in all of action movie history and I just want to see Laurence Fishburne play him until the end of linear time.

The score, the locations, the cinematography, the pacing, the CGI, the costuming, the dialogue with just enough corny on top of the hyper realism, YUM YUM, I LOVE IT ALL! And I’m sure I’m skipping over tons of symbolism because I’ve only seen it once.

They say lightning never strikes twice, but it just struck 3 three times, and I’d be willing to bet the storm still rages.

5/5

P.S. If you want to hear me talk more about this franchise I made a whole 18 minute long video on the first 2 movies HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZvmBmCSHhQ

It’s not the best thing I’ve ever created, but I’m glad I made it. :)

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