When John Wick came out in 2014, most people had written off Keanu Reeves as something of a Steven Seagal or a Jean-Claude Van Damme type, being big in the late 80s and throughout the 90s and now only starring in really bad movies, but after John Wick, Keanu Reeves is… well he still stars in a lot of awful movies like Replicas, but now he is also in an actually good franchise with the John Wick films.
The first film is an action-packed thrill ride which delves into a dark criminal underworld with a secret alliance of assassins and mysterious coins. The second film dives deeper into the world building and mythology of the John Wick Universe with learning more about the Continental hotel and the process of being excommunicated. Soon, we’re getting an entire TV Show about the Continental. Before getting into that though, let’s start with the third movie in the franchise, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, or as I call it, “John Wick and the movie with too many subtitles”.
Another film which many members of the general audience had already decided to award one of the best movie of the year spots before it even came out. Having seen it myself, I feel like I should contribute my thoughts on this debate, so here is my review of John Wick: Chapter 3.
Now, the best part of this movie is obviously the action, and oh my is the action spectacular. The first half hour or so has some of the best action scenes since Baby Driver. As you can tell by the title, it is… fairly gruesome, and not with items typically used for deeds such as these. There’s books, horses, the freakishly long arms of Philadelphia 76ers center Boban Marjanovic.
It has all that, as well as boosting things that have been done over and over again like knives, guns, and swords. We’ve seen these things done countless times in mediocre action films before, but John Wick 3 does it with such an intensity and sense of style that it becomes mesmerizing. The director, Chad Stahelski is an accomplished stunts worker for such blockbuster hits like The Matrix, Spider-Man 2, and 300, (He also did Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, but let’s focus on the good.) so he knows how to direct top notch action. Keanu Reeves also, in a Tom Cruise-esque manner, did a majority of his own stunts, and they are roughly the same age. This is just another sign that we will soon be getting the crossover we have always wanted, Mission Impossible: Pet John Wick’s Dog.
Next, I have to talk about the production design. This is an amalgamation of some of the best designed films in recent years. There’s people who have worked on things like Pride and Prejudice, American Gangster, and Wonder Woman, all high quality films when it comes to production. John Wick 3 continues its tradition of looking extremely cool with sets in cool Casablanca castles, cool desert tents, high class vaults, and extremely depressing Russian ballet studios. Also, I think they stole the glass skyscraper from Skyfall, but being that Skyfall is one of my favorite Bond films, I’ll let it slide. The exotic locales all display a look of class and prestige that most action films don’t have (I’m talking about you Miss Bala) and it is a feast for the eyes to behold.
The third and final thing to talk about is the continued world building the film has. This will be the thing that will divide people on how much they love this movie. I can see how someone may not like it, but I adored the development of the John Wick-iverse. We get a lot about the High Table, the shadowy assassin Congress that started this whole thing, more rules about the Continental, and a pretty awesome new character played by Asia Kate Dillon called “The Adjudicator”.
They, along with the Ninja Assassins who serve as a deadly version of HR in the film, go around and hand out penalties for breaking the rules of the mysterious assassin world that we’re in. This leads to a great non-violent scene where they talk to the Bowery King about his penalty. Asia Kate Dillon and Laurence Fishburne are probably the two best performances in the film, and I’d be surprised if they don’t get some credit at award shows, especially our award show. Nevertheless, returning to the point, the world-building in this film is outstanding and should be commended.
I need to bring up something bad… hmm, well, as I said, the world-building will divide some people as it is an incredibly large amount of exposition and it does get fairly complicated at times. Also, the second act does somewhat die down when it comes to the overall action, even with one incredibly choreographed scene in the middle of the film. Also, maybe the fight scenes run a little bit long, especially toward the end, as one fight in a glass room feels way too long. Besides that though, there aren’t any major complaints worthy of an entire paragraph.
So those are my thoughts on John Wick: Chapter 3 and I really enjoyed it. It hit one of the hardest ratings to hit on my own personal scale, a 9/10, and for a while, I thought it might even exceed that. While the second act and some overlong fight scenes do pull down the overall quality of the film, it is very miniscule in the dip. The action, the set design, and the worldbuilding for the film make this easily my favorite film of the year so far and one that I am so excited to see the inevitable fourth film in the franchise. Lionsgate, if you’re listening, I’m telling you, get together with Paramount, because I need Ethan Hunt v John Wick: Who Can Defy Age the Most? Please?