By Daniel Paiz
“John Wick Chapter 3—Parabellum” is the culmination of this trilogy. The precision shooting and hand-to-hand combat, the stakes each character faces, the inclusion of good dogs doing their best; this film has it all. I went into the theater tonight hoping for a good film, and I walked out having witnessed one of the best action films I’ve ever seen. Before I gush too much about this, let’s get into a bit of plot in this newest Cypher Flicks review. Obviously there are minor spoilers below, but not enough to truly ruin the movie for you; like this film, you have a choice to now make.
“Parabellum” picks up exactly where Chapter 2 left off, with our title character running through the streets of New York City with his dog, aptly named “good dog”. The “excommunicado” order is placed and everyone is chomping at their chance at Wick (Keanu Reeves), especially due to the $14 million bounty on his head.
The first sequence includes various fight scenes, including what might be the best fight scene of the film. The creativity in the knife fight scene is honestly one of the first things you’ll discuss with others who have watched this film. I cannot recall another fight scene from another action film that uses knives in such a wild sequence.
Wick then moves along to figuring out how he’s going to stay alive, which involves passage to a certain place and meeting up with a couple of people (including an old friend named Sofia, played by Halle Barry). Meanwhile in New York, the High Table is distributing consequences for those who previously helped Wick. Rules are not meant to be broken, and the High Table is finally showing up. While you might feel like there could be a couple of villains, The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) emerges as the biggest problem. Dillon does a superb job of showcasing what the High Table can do, as well as the cost for rules broken.
I’d say more about how The Adjudicator dispenses punishments, but you’ll just have to see who they choose to bestow such judgements.
After Wick returns from his trip visiting Sofia and a certain someone else, he has the task of making a very big decision with Winston (Ian McShane). The Continental has to deal with a few decisions of their own. Finally we get to see Wick and his Continental friend Charon (Lance Reddick) team up to take down High Table henchmen that encounter the gnarliest bullets I’ve ever witnessed. A parlay takes place to determine a couple of character’s endings.
Another victim of the High Table is everyone’s favorite boss, the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). Like Winston, Bowery King has some consequences to face for getting a certain man a gun in Chapter 2. A different decision is reached by our favorite King, which determines his fate.
With all of that being said, here’s what makes this film stand out.
That choreography though…
The way Wick continues to have tactical precision in his gun usage and precision shooting. The way in which he continues to get beat down again, and again…and again. The fact that there are multiple times where you’re like this might be The Boogeyman’s last hurrah. How many films have a knife fight scene, taking apart and putting together a gun like it’s a video game, and not one but two fight scenes where animals play a huge role?!?
None of Wick’s fight moves are gratuitous (despite the overall violence level of this film being super high). His tactical firing and martial arts skills disable a majority of his threats quickly. I’m not one to champion or look for obscene levels of gun violence, but it doesn’t feel like it’s there just to be there. The overall narrative of how rules and consequences impact our choices are why all of this unfolds in front of us.
One last word
Rules and consequences will piss you off at times in this movie, but so will the ending. If you’ve enjoyed the first two chapters of John Wick, this is a must-watch.