John Wick 3: Parabellum

Grade: A+

Looking at the latest version of Keanu Reeves, you fear him thinking that he might open up a can of “whoop ass” on you for simply looking at him the wrong way.  That is what the John Wick persona has given him ever since the first movie in the franchise back in 2014 when someone killed his beloved dog. Parabellum, in Latin, means “prepare for war.”  In the third installment of the John Wick franchise, John Wick is “excommunicado” with a 14 million dollar bounty slapped on him. Basically, not only does the assassin’s guild “The High Table” want to kill him, the entire world is after him.  Parabellum, indeed.

John Wick 3 is by far the best in the franchise.  It is literally non-stop action from start to finish within the 131 minute run time that whizzes by in minutes due to the constant action on screen.  Parabellum has whatever you can possibly throw into an action movie and then some.  There are motorcycle chases to motorcycle and horse chases and plenty of hand to hand combat along side of knives, knives, and more knives!!! Not to mention enough bullets flying on screen at any given time that would be fully stock (and then some) the United States military.  

There is not much dialogue out of John Wick, it literally seems like if he encounters someone, a fight starts upon first sight.  No questions asked because everyone wants the $14 million bounty. There is a story in the movie and it is basically driven by dialogue through The Adjudicator (played by Asia Kate Dillon), Winston (played by Ian McShane) and Bowery King (played by Laurence Fishburne).  Halle Berry’s character Sofia is in the movie for about 25 minutes but her action scene along with Wick’s is one of the best in the movie.

The fighting choreography was top class.  They could have easily phoned it in and just given the fans a bare knuckled brawler but the filmmakers decided to put on a spectacle.  I do not want to give away spoilers of course but, many objects are creatively used for combat within John Wick 3.  Every fighting scene (basically the whole movie) is so well choreographed you never get tired of the fights because they are all different and creative.  Just a warning, it is very graphic and quite possibly the most violent movie I have ever seen. The movie leaves nothing up to the imagination. If a guy is to get stabbed in the eye, you will see the blade getting shoved in the eye.  Not for the faint of heart!

Paired with the incredible choreography was the brilliant cinematography and lighting.  The camera work in John Wick 3 was so good I can see it being nominated for an Oscar.  Often times the fights are presented without a cut in them and you get a constant stream of engaging action as the camera smoothly weaves in and out of various rooms in use during the scene.  If there is a cut, it is quick but you can tell what is going on. The lighting used in the movie was beautiful. The lighting crew used a cool palette of pastel-like neons against a very dark New York City.  It portrayed hope in setting of just pure death. In one huge shootout scene, a beautiful green takes over the room and the look of it was just simply amazing!

Parabellum also shined in the sound department.  Would not be surprised at all if it wins an Oscar for sound.  Initially I had a ticket to see it in a Dolby theater but I was in the front row and it was too close to the screen so I went to AMC’s guest services and had them change my ticket to a later AMC Prime showing with a much better seat.  Even though it was not Dolby, Parabellum sounded amazing!  They had the theater turned up to 11!  You felt every bullet that hit their target and especially when the heavy hitter shotguns come into play, you think you’re being shot yourself.  So loud and clear and so good! It really heightened the experience. I cannot recommend this movie enough.  You do not really need to see the other two movies in order to see Parabellum, just know that Wick is a wanted man.  Run to the theater now to see it with your friends. You will have a “wicked” good time!!!

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