The entire “John Wick” series is something of a surprise seemingly out of nowhere. What might have been a weak vehicle from Keanu Reeves turned in to a pretty groundbreaking and exciting action series where Reeves is able to re-invent himself once again for a new generation. You wouldn’t figure Reeves would be believable as one of the deadliest assassins in the world, but he handles the role of John Wick so proficiently. Wick has become something much more than the titular anti-hero of his film series. He’s become the key in to a very unique cinematic universe.
After gunning down a member of the High Table on sacred ground of the shadowy international assassin’s guild in “John Wick 2,” legendary hit man John Wick finds himself stripped of the organization’s protective services and branded “ex-communicado.” Now on the run and stuck with a $14 million bounty on his head, Wick must fight his way through the streets of New York as he becomes the target of the world’s most ruthless killers. It’s not often movies can competently act as a sequel and a doorway in to a larger universe. “Parabellum” manages to accomplish the ambitious feat of giving us one of the last chapters in Wick’s saga, while also opening the door for a lot of other stories.
The producers obviously have some plans for spin offs, and “John Wick 3” manages to create some exciting and amazing killers and thieves that inhabit Wick’s world. Wick’s saga has been a compelling and exciting one that examines the concept of consequences, and how our actions can sometimes create irreversible damage to our lives. After murdering on sacred ground, what became the result of his first campaign of revenge, he now has to play victim to blood thirsty and cunning assassins within his ilk. Director Chad Stahelski doesn’t waste any time, jumping straight from the final seconds we see John in part two, and the tension is ratcheted up. The way the cloak is taken off of Wick’s secret world is mesmerizing to witness.
Especially as Wick finds himself injured and without any options, as assassins creep from the shadows watching and waiting for the deadline. “Parabellum” has the task of pulling off Wick’s quest for survival, and the world building and suffice to say it’s a success. “Parabellum” feels heavily influenced by Gareth Evans, as Wick has to face off against a variety of assassins and hit men, all of whom are anxious to bring him in as their bounty. There’s absolutely no shortage of colorful killers, all of whom engage with Wick in absolutely amazing choreography and hand to hand combat. The fight choreography (along with ace editing) in “John Wick 3” is some of the absolute best of the series yet, allowing us to grab a full glimpse in to why Wick became such a mythical hit man over the years.
There’s also a wide variety of battle sequences, never once allowing the pacing to screech to a halt, or the action to get tedious at any point. From the implementing of race horses, the use of a belt, and a fight in a library, “John Wick 3” is filled with so much good action fodder. Along the way the third film in the saga introduces us to a slew of new dynamic characters including Mark Dacascos’ charismatic villain Zero, the enigmatic Adjudicator, and the crafty Sofia who, alongside her faithful dogs, is a force to be reckoned with. If you loved the previous chapters, “John Wick 3” will not disappoint. It’s an excellent, bone breaking addition to John Wick’s quest building a momentum I hope is carried in to the next chapters.