Picking up immediately after the events of John Wick: Chapter 2, Parabellum sees Wick on the run for his life against the assassins of The Continental. Continental manager Winston has placed a worldwide bounty of $15 million dollars on Wick’s head after he violated the rules of the hotel by killing someone on hotel grounds. Excommunicated and on the run Wick turns to unlikely allies in his time of need. Rounding out the cast are Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston and Asia Kate Dillon.
Directed by Chad Stahel (John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2) and written by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams, Parabellum tells a story of betrayal, revenge and rebirth. The stakes of the story are personal yet high, this is about a man who has lost everything and hardly has anyone to turn to. What makes this installment different from the previous two? This is John VS The World. Remember at the end of Chapter 2, Winston puts out a global contract on Wick which truly puts him on his own. In the last two movies, Wick had a small support system around him. At the beginning of this film, he is all on his own and has no one to turn to. He has to fight and fight harder than ever before to stay alive.
The writers and Stahel get the most out of their actors in every scene: Reeves is at the top of his game along with series regulars Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and Laurence Fishburne. Every scene that they are in is pure gold and only enhances the story even more. The standouts in this movie are McShane and Reddick as they up their game in even bigger ways. However, while the old guard is better than ever, Halle Berry comes in and shows that she can hang with Reeves at his best. Berry plays another manager of a different Continental in Morocco who Wick helped in the past. She brings so much to the table and takes part in the film’s best action sequence.
The production value in this film is absolutely fantastic. The cinematography is stunning, each shot more beautiful than the last. My favorite sequence of the film is in the second act where Wick and Sofia (Berry) fight their way out of an assassin stronghold in Morocco. It is so bloody and violent and it has such a satisfying conclusion. The sets also look fantastic and become characters themselves. I wanted to learn and see more of Sofia’s Continental. I love the mystery and the rules that surround it as they only enhance things more.
While I did enjoy this movie, there was one thing I took issue with: the villain. I won’t say who it is but let’s just say that they are so over the top in their performance that it was a little distracting. They also act like a giant fanboy when it comes to Wick and it takes away from how menacing they can be. They also come off as comic relief and it doesn’t help in the situations that it occurs in. For a movie like this, in a series like this, the villain should serve the story and the situation. Here? They do not and are in fact the weakest villain of the series.
All in all, I enjoyed John Wick: Chapter 3 -Parabellum. Other than the villain, it is a solid entry in this series and one that I will go back to again.
4 Continentals out of 5