Movie Review – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (John Wick: Chapter 3, John Wick: Parabellum, John Wick 3)

TL;DR – It takes everything that worked in the last two films and took it up to 11 

 Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Image Credit: Lionsgate.


One of the first reviews we ever wrote back in the day was for the first John Wick film and since then we have really had a love affair in this world of under the table dealings, societies in this world but out of this world, visual storytelling, and neon rock operas. This is a world that is told in part by creative directing, interesting stories, and also the sheer determined strength of character that is Keanu Reeves and everyone in the whole cast and crew that make the character of John Wick shine. Today we get to look at the third film in the series that has John at his lowest and discovering there are more places to fall.

So to set the scene, at the end of John Wick Chapter 2, John found himself in a very precarious position. Someone had Marker on John (Keanu Reeves) forcing him to do his bidding (killing his sister) and then turned on John putting a contract out on his life for the before mentioned killing of his sister. After fighting his way through New York he arrived back at The Continental Hotel and though warned by the Manager Winston (Ian McShane) John killed the man on hotel grounds one of the few unbreakable rules in their universe. Winston gives John one hour of life before he is excommunicated from the organisation and this is where we open. John is running through the streets of New York as the skies bucket down because the Gods are at war. He is trying to get to the New York Public Library but as one of the Bowery King’s (Laurence Fishburne) henchmen calls out tick tock, tick tock John.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Image Credit: Lionsgate.
Keanu Reeves brings it in every moment. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

There are many reasons you go to see a John Wick film and for many people, the foremost of those reasons is the action. Each movie has taken what happened in the last film refined it and outclassed it in every way. The first twenty minutes of this film has some of the most creative and absorbing actions scenes put to film. There is the brutal one on one brawls where it is just a matter of sheer determination as to who will win, there are the group battles with guns and knives flying, and then there is the creative use of what is around him like a horse stable. I don’t think I have audibly yelled ‘oh damn’ as many times in a film before. When those moments hit, they hit hard, and the whole audience felt it. There was also a real variety to the fights with ebbs and flows between who will get the upper hand, but also moments of humour, which I was not expecting.

I have talked extensively in previous reviews at the sheer tenacity of Keanu Reeves in his drive to do as many of the stunts as he can in this film. Spending months training in the lead-up and it shows on camera. However, in this film, it is not just Keanu making that leap with the supporting cast also here for it (as they were in every other film). Halle Berry has been in action films before, but never like this. Here she is not only one of the strongest characters with her drive, but Halle is there for everything they throw at her in the action scenes. I am sure there are discussions about her leading a solo film and that would be an amazingly good choice. Adding to this is also Mark Dacascos as a rival assassin called Zero. Having him almost be a John Wick fanboy was not a direction I would have gone with but then that is okay because I clearly don’t know anything because he was a delight, Also of course Anjelica Huston is amazing, but then that almost doesn’t need to be said.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Image Credit: Lionsgate.
Halle Berry matches the intensity of this world and then takes it to the next level. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Parabellum also fleshes out the world of John Wick adding more layers to the world and more competing interests. The full reach of the High Table is shown in all its glory with The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon). Here you have someone that is in essence just a bureaucrat, but one that can decide if you live or die on a whim. Dillon was such an immediate presence from the moment they walked on screen and their banter with Ian McShane’s Winston was amazing. This is all before we get to all the religious allegories layered throughout the film in some subtle and some not so subtle ‘oh goodness is that a brand’ kind of ways.   

However, more than all that I want to take a moment to champion all the people that work to bring these scenes to life. There are hundreds of people both in front and behind the camera that need to be working in tandem for it to come even close to this. There are the animal trainers, armourers, trainers, choreographers, and stunt coordinators who work for months and more to make those scenes both amazing and safe. Not enough praise is given to the work that they do, so mad respect to Jonathan Eusebio, Scott Rogers, Jérémie Vigot, and their teams. It is because of all their hard work that the action in this film is as good as it is. So good that it sort of shines a light on all the other movies that don’t put the same amount of effort in and rely on quick edits to smooth it all over.         

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Image Credit: Lionsgate.
Dillon is like the oncoming storm in this film. Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Before we finish up, I do want to talk about the ending for a moment, so obviously there are [SPOILERS] ahead and if you have not seen the film, you might want to skip to the conclusion which is the next paragraph down, but you do you fam. As I was watching the film one of the things I was most surprised about was how they had avoided doing a victory lap by bringing back more characters from the last two films for the conclusion, and as we find out that is because this is not the conclusion to the series. This might have been the most surprising thing about the film, and this is coming from someone that was surprised by the second horse kick death. In a film that the main mantra was consequences and well the consequences of this film will be dire moving forward. Also if there is anything we can take away from that final fight it is don’t play with your food and Vivaldi is always a good choice.

In the end, do we recommend John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum? Well besides the mouthful of a title we completely recommend it. I walked into it knowing what to expect and being blown away at every turn. It expanded the world and players, put John in real danger, and showed technical excellence that is yet to be matched. It was also one of the best cinematic experiences I have had in a theatre with the whole audience being invested in the outcome. If you like action films, you probably have already pre-ordered your ticket, but if you haven’t trust me three films in and they are still going for gold.             

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched John Wick: Chapter 3?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.

Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of John Wick: Chapter 3
Directed by
– Chad Stahelski

Story by – Derek Kolstad
Screenplay by – Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins & Marc Abrams
Based on – Characters created by Derek Kolstad
Music by – Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard
Cinematography by – Dan Laustsen
Edited by – Evan Schiff
Production/Distribution Companies – Thunder Road Pictures, 87Eleven Productions, Summit Entertainment & Lionsgate.
– Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Asia Kate Dillon, Mark Dacascos, Anjelica Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jason Mantzoukas, Robin Lord Taylor, Margaret Daly, Susan Blommaert, Randall Duk Kim, Jerome Flynn & Tobias Segal with Boban Marjanović, Arjon Bashiri, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, Tiger Chen, Vladimir and Vlado Mihailov, Danish Bhatt, & Candace M. Smith             
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: na; New Zealand: R; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R


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