John-Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum

In New York City, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a wanted man. Marked out by the mysterious fraternity of assassins known only as ‘The Table’, they have declared open season on him with a $14 million bounty. With every contract killer in town now alerted to his presence, the dog-loving vigilante will have to work very hard if he wants to clear his name before the hunt closes in.

Looking surprisingly fresh for a third film in what feels like an unexpected franchise…

Looking surprisingly fresh for a third film in an unexpected franchise, ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’ shows no signs of letting up on its previous editions. Boasting great set pieces that always have a kernel of inventiveness at their core, the story continues on from John Wick’s previous quest for bloody redemption.

Where scenes seamlessly segueing from one fight to the next, one of many reasons this franchise works is that it doesn’t waste time world-building. Each location is just a staging post for further confrontations, more acts of deceit and even more dubious offers of aid. Add to this, a fun roster of acting stalwarts (Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne, Jerome Flynn et al) feasting their way through plenty of portentously parched dialogue and it would seem you have a recipe for box-office success. 

Still very much a franchise for dog lovers, this time ‘John Wick’ puts our feline friends more front and centre. Often used as a dramatic device so as to channel John’s outrage, in this time they get to sink their teeth more directly into red-blooded revenge. Sat next to the series’s keynote sparsity for dialogue in its preference for bullets, this amount s to even more neatly piled-up bodies next to oblivious bystanders. Stepping over their inert corpses, Asia Kate Dillon arrives in this sequel as ‘The Adjudicator’. Shorn of head and crisp of vowels, her heel-clacking silhouette cuts an indifferent yet sexy silhouette through all of the bloody proceedings. Enjoyably spitting back threats, her acid tongue assembles plenty of fresh scenery for us and Ian McShane to chew on. Add to this Halle Berry’s Sofia and Angelica Huston as ‘The Ballet Director’ and the ladies round out proceedings with plenty of women who are definitely not-to-be-messed-with. 

Tongue-in-cheek and still firmly lodged into overdrive, ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’s finale efficiently nods towards Bruce Lee’s ‘Game of Death’. With its increasingly adept opponents who are comically enamoured by John Wick’s reputation, this is a sequel that judiciously uses levity to keep its fights formidable yet fun. As a result these pointedly humorous barbs lance any languor, keeping both its characters and audience on the edge of their seats. With all of its inventiveness in evidence, you can’t help but wonder what Jason Statham and others must be thinking? With Keanu Reeves rapidly approaching bus pass eligibility, and his martial arts showing no sign of slowing down with yet even more complex takes, this John Wick sequel looks both revisionist and fresh, whereas other action movies of late have looked expendable at best.

Settling in the in the mind as a a chapter that takes no prisoners, ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’ is a polished continuation of what went before. Making no excuses and looking damn sprightly for a movie operating on such a mint thin rationale, this is entertainment dispatched as quickly as it arrives. Like its villains, smart, charming and never outstaying their own transitory appeal, ‘John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum’ is another slice of martial-arts madness that knows exactly how to delight its audience. 

Roll on, chapter 4.

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