With the overwhelming critical and financial success of John Wick 2 grossing 171.5 million dollars worldwide, there was no doubt that we would be seeing a third installment to the franchise making the assassin known as the Baba Yaga. Not only is John Wick a household name but he has solidified himself as one of the best action movie characters in the genre. The question is, whether or not the director Chad Stahelski and company are able to maintain the level of excitement and intrigue that the first two movies seemed to have in spades?
And my answer is… hell fucking yeah! With one tiny asterisk.
I have found myself thoroughly loving the movie after seeing the movie three times with three different people and attempting to convince my girlfriend to give it series a chance. She isn’t into all action films and when she said that, it really got me thinking. As this was my favorite genre of movie, I really wanted to know why someone wouldn’t find this entertaining. I started to look at the genre from different perspectives to see if I could find out why. (Yes, asking her would have been the easier way to get my answer but who takes the easy route?) It was in this brainstorming that I realized a potential of the shortcomings that the film could have while really appreciating what the film bought to the table. (Hehe, get it? Table? Okay, I’m done…)
So our film picks up right where the second one ended. Our good buddy John has about an hour before his excommunicado goes into effect with a bounty of $14 million on his head after he murdered a member of the High Table on Continental grounds which was the ultimate sin in this world of assassins. If you haven’t seen the first two films, I cannot stress to you enough the importance of them. Though this is not a story rich in dialogue, what you are given throughout the movie has more meaning once you have seen the first two. You can technically watch this without seeing them but I wouldn’t recommend it.
With a bounty on his head, John must defend himself from a world out to kill him… literally. Simple, right?
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed that they decided to cut straight into the action which delivers on all cylinders. This might be the only series that I can think up that manages to up the value of each scene in a very methodical way from movie to movie. From the thundering and satisfying sound of the weapons to the visceral impacts of the blows dealt, each sequence is a marvel to watch. You can tell just how much work went into each fighting scene that doesn’t run to the use of shaky cam and quick cuts to make the action engaging. (I am so glad studios are starting to move away from this!) Most of the scenes seemingly flow in one continuous take, keeping your attention where the action is and never letting go until it is over. This time around, I feel like they have added more brutal and cringe-worthy moments but I would have to go back to confirm this. The fight between Wick and Ernest will be your first clue as all three audiences I was with emoted when that fight concluded.
However, it is here in the action department where my new found perspective has given me a bit of insight that I think is worth sharing. This installment not only goes all in with the action, it makes it the primary lens by which you see the movie. For as much as each these sequences are remarkable, a true testament to the action genre; referencing in subtle ways the films that path the way to this point, they are also long which could be a problem if you aren’t necessarily invested in the grand spectacle of it all. After seeing the movie three times, I can make this claim with certainty. One could have an argument that the action scenes here may be a bit too long for some, especially considering the two hour run time. You can become rather indifferent to watching three films of Wick rolling on the floor, flipping people to the ground, and double tapping his enemies with various weapons. I’m not saying I have reached that point but I can understand the sentiment of it becoming exhausting.
And I am not saying that these scenes are boring. There are nothing short than amazing! As I said, these scenes are some of the best choreographed scenes I have seen in a movie, second only to my favorite action movie of all time Atomic Blonde. They have went to great lengths to spice things by adding different elements that fuel the legend of the Baba Yaga, the man who can kill with anything. But I feel like your mileage may vary if you go into this film not knowing what to expect.
With that out of the way, all other aspects of this film is amazing!
They continue to build up this world of assassins by introducing new players and characters in the usual Wick format and oh how I wish they would give me a book based in this world. We visit a different Continental, meet the only person who sits above the table, and several key characters that I think will have major roles to play in future installments. My favorite being that of The Director of the ballerina troupe. I won’t spoil anything.
All of the performances were top notch! Shout out to Mark Dacascos as Zero and Asia Kate Dillon as The Adjudicator, the two of them were breaths of fresh air with than rather unique characters. There is a special place in my heart for the concierge, Charon played by Lance Reddick and I am glad they gave him more to do this time around.
Overall, John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum was a really good movie. Once again, I admire and applaud Stahelski’s desire to push the metal and subvert the normal, something that he said he strives to do. Drawing inspiration from cult classics like Enter the Dragon to paying homage to The Matrix, a movie that Stahelski worked on with Reeves as a stunt double(Did you catch em?), this movie aims to entertain with high octane action and it delivers on that promise in spades. There is a reason why this movie is the highest and fastest grossing film in the franchise. Keep an eye out because the next installment already been greenlit for 21st of May in 2021.
P.S. There are ALOT of subtle and not so subtle Easter eggs in this movie. Most pointing back to the Matrix. Look out for them when you watch it!
I know it has been awhile since I have last posted and this marks my return to form. It won’t be soon, but I will be picking up where I left off. I am trying something new and I am hoping it pays off. Until then, thank you for swinging by and taking the time to read. It really means a lot to me. You are awesome!
Have you seen John Wick 3? What did you think of the movie? Though it may be a bit spoilery, I really want to talk about these Easter Eggs… Let’s talk about it in the comments, I welcome the discussion.
Until my next post…