Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
Director: Chad Stahelski
Running Time: 130 mins
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is an American film and the third in the John Wick series. Having been excommunicated and with a $14m bounty on his head, John Wick must do everything he can to survive under threat from the world’s fiercest hitmen.
Following on from two deliriously entertaining, visually gorgeous and blissfully simplistic thrillers, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum keeps up the franchise’s unique appeal in stunning fashion. Complete with electrifying action, beautiful cinematography, a pulsating score and a great sense of humour, the film is pretty much as purely joyful as action thrillers get, and proves two hours of brilliant entertainment.
Before I get into all of that, though, one of the greatest things about this franchise is just how simplistic it is. You may have seen John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2, you may not have done. Going into this third film, however, it’s all pretty irrelevant, and while the first two films are certainly worth your time, absolutely anybody can go and watch this movie without any prior knowledge, and simply sit back and watch the fireworks.
The plot is effectively laid out for you in the first ninety seconds of the movie. John Wick is excommunicated, and there’s a $14m bounty on his head. That’s it. Following that brief bit of exposition are two hours of beautifully simple yet endlessly entertaining action, and while the film does keep you engrossed with its sense of mystery and intrigue surrounding this world of allegiances and deception, it’s the thrill of the chase that really matters.
In that, there’s almost never a moment where storytelling takes precedence over action thrills, with the movie bursting into life by way of an exhilarating opening act. However, much like the first two films, not every moment is fighting and shootouts, with the mystery, the tension and the intrigue all playing a part as John Wick encounters numerous people from his past in all manner of different scenarios.
There are moments in its middle portion that do drag a little more than others, and where the story perhaps gets a little self-indulgent, however there’s no denying just how slick and purely entertaining a thriller this is regardless.
Of course, the action itself is brilliant as well. The opening act is astonishing, filled to the brim with insane action that features seamless fight choreography, brilliant camerawork and a fantastic sense of self-awareness that allows you to laugh at the most ridiculous moments. From then on, the film continues to burst into life with mad, energetic and dazzling action sequences again and again, only furthering the sheer entertainment appeal of the whole affair.
Also, there’s no getting away from just how good-looking a movie this is. The camerawork in the fight sequences is certainly excellent, but it’s the film’s kaleidoscopic colour pallette and slick cinematography that makes it a feast for the eyes, pulling off the style of a pure pulp thriller in brilliant fashion once again, and with a pulsating, intense score playing throughout to boot, you’ll definitely be on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
All in all, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum isn’t much different from the previous two movies. It isn’t the world’s most intricate or intelligent thriller. However, with brilliant energy, dazzling visuals, stunning action and an invaluable sense of fun, absolutely none of that matters, and it instead proves a solidly entertaining, manic and dizzyingly joyful thriller throughout, which is why I’m giving it an 8.2.