Parabellum takes a licking and keeps on Wicking

John Wick 3

If you liked the original John Wick film, way back in 2014, and if you gleefully ate up what was basically a rehash of the first film, John Wick 2, in 2017, then you are likely going to love the latest effort, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum or “prepare for war,” as it were.

You either enjoy this blood, gore and gratuitous violence or you don’t; but my thoughts on the matter can be summed up in one simple expression… sigh.

To be fair, you don’t go to a film like this to think deep thoughts about the state of our society or the mess the human race has created for itself; but after your senses have been numbed by the non-stop shooting and slicing and stabbing and pounding, one cannot help but retreat to a mental safe-space and have misanthropic thoughts about his audience neighbors, who are orgasmically oohing and awing to the action they are watching onscreen.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (Courtesy Lionsgate)
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Courtesy Lionsgate)

I did like the first John Wick film. There was something to be said for its cool choreographed fights, Keanu Reeves’ action acumen, and the unique mythology and universe it created. But like the second film, Chapter 3 just further convolutes what was once a rather fun mythos, to the point that not only do I not get what is going on, I don’t care either.

On the plus side, this time around we have Halle Berry playing an old frenemy of Wick’s who is now a big player in the assassin game in Casablanca, of all places. (The writer, Derek Kolstad, must have tossed a dart at the world map that day.)

Berry has assassin dogs, which are a nice touch, as are the scenes where Wick uses a horse as a weapon. In fact, I give the animals in this film a nod for the best performances. (No, despite his simian appearance, Reeves doesn’t count in this decision.)

Directed (again) by stunt coordinator, Chad Stahelski, Chapter 3 also stars Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick and Anjelica Huston; with the standout being Dillon as a character called, “the Adjudicator.”

If you are prepared to check your brain and moral compass at the door and surrender all responsible thinking and go to that caveman place in your consciousness, then you are going to have a good time watching Keanu take a licking and keep on Wicking. It is good at what it does, but if you can’t flip those switches, just stay home and play with your dog.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (Courtesy Lionsgate)

Grade: 5.5/10

Bob Leeper
Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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