John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum movie review — Keanu Reeves excels in a tailor-made, top-tier action entertainer
Keanu Reeves is impossible to look away from in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum as everything in the series is tailored for him and his acting abilities.
At some point in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, Keanu Reeves, wearing a suit walks into a barn, and when a gang of bad guys follow him in, he deals with them by slapping a horse on its behind which Karate kicks the bad guys' heads till they die. With this information up front – how much more convincing do you really need to watch this movie at the very earliest?
Roll up, folks for a ride that you will probably never forget – this is top-tier action cinema, the absolute gold standard of popcorn entertainment with solid repeat value, and also the rare franchise that is somehow getting better with each instalment. And with this entry, director Chad Stahelski has fully morphed John Wick into a modern version of The Crow, with the best gun fight choreography since The Raid series.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum picks up literally the moment the previous film ended – a wounded Wick is on the run and a horde of assassins are chasing him. Right from the opening scene, we’re teased a build up of an action scene that will make your tongue well up in excitement, and when the action does explode, it just never lets up. It is clear, right at the onset, that you’re in for something special – there are impossible camera angles, stunt work that is so polished you’ll be rubbing your eyes in disbelief, and just pure badassery with a high dosage of style and panache. And the violence – it’s Coen brothers level poetic – gratuitous in just the right amounts and containing the fine tuned elegance and artistry of a master at work.
The biggest achievement of Chapter 3 is how Stahelski manages to expand the world that he introduced in the first film – the layers are being peeled off and every time one has a certain expectation of how things work in the John Wick universe, there’s a new crazy addition you won’t see coming. The ludicrousness of said elements, mainly the fact that the world is full of assassins and shadowy groups, is a nice suspender of disbelief that serves as a primer for the crazy action. More importantly, every action setup sets out to prove that a blockbuster needn’t be brainless to be exciting, and even in the moments that are too far fetched for even the Wick universe the payoff is just too high for us to bother about logic.
This is also, clearly a higher budged film than its predecessors and it shows – the lighting and production design values are through the roof, complete with a neon lit house of mirrors action movie playground which is a cross between the sniper scene from Skyfall and a certain Bruce Lee film. The mundane looks classy, thanks to the deep blacks of Dan Laustsen’s cinematography who saves the best bits of every action scene for the last with wide shots to give you a perfect view of the fireworks at display. There are a couple of moments where the CGI is obvious, for instance in a scene featuring Wick on a motorcycle, but you’re too engrossed in Mr Wick lopping heads off to care.
Reeves is once again impossible to look away from, because clearly everything about this franchise is tailored for him and his acting abilities. Reeves is so magnetic in these films because his persona off camera is exactly the way he’s shown as Wick, and the fact that Stahelski stood in for the late Brandon Lee in The Crow is a clear indicator of what these guys are tapping into. But that’s enough talk for a film that needs to seen again and again rather than read about so head to your ticketing portals, karate chop the buy button and horse slap yourselves to the theatre. The censor board got its grubby little hands on the film but don’t let that deter you from the fun to be had.
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