“John Wick 3: Parabellum was one of the most entertaining movies, start to finish, in recent memory.”
John Wick Chapter 3 is up there with some of the best action movies of the past decade and I honestly can’t imagine it won’t be the greatest action movie of 2019. This trilogy has somehow moved beyond a joke about Keanu Reeves shooting people because his dog died after the trailer premiered for the first film to a technical masterpiece with lore and history of a well realized World bursting in every scene. John Wick Chapter 3 somehow ups the ante again delivering the best collection of action set pieces in the series so far while doing a decent job of linking these fights together with a world expanding story. This movie is like having adrenaline injected directly into your bloodstream for two straight hours.
At the end of John Wick 2, John was deemed “excommunicado” from the protection of all Continental hotels and services for breaking the rules by murdering a member of the high table on the Continental grounds. Winston (Ian McShane) gave John one hour before the $14 million hit would go out on his life and John took off running with his new dog. John Wick Chapter 3 picks up immediately following the events of the second movie, finding John running through downtown New York trying to prepare for the hour to be up and every single assassin in the World to be after him.
The movie starts as a chase movie where different groups of assassins try and take out John as the hour is up. This allows the first 30 minutes to be a showcase for two of the more brutal fights in the series including one with a book and one with throwing knives. They’re insane. I assumed the movie would continue like this for the next ninety minutes but was pleasantly surprised when the plot shifted to expanding the history of this World of assassins. John seeks someone from his past to get him out of New York in an attempt to get to a man above the high table. At the same time an adjudicator sent by the high table shows up to Winston’s continental to inform him he has seven days to get his affairs in order for giving John and hour instead of killing him. This slight twist in the story allowed for the movie to carry a little more interesting of a story for the rest of the run time and really offered up some unique conflicts for hopeful sequels.
Ultimately, this movie shouldn’t work as well as it does. After three movies the script even references the absurdity of the original premise with one character asking John, “All of this over a puppy?” Even the fights have become a little more playful while still maintaining their gore and brutality. John is a legend in this universe and every single person who faces him has heard legends and admires him to some degree. The main antagonist who is sent to kill John even goes so far as to praise John and seems like he is going to ask for an autograph in one exchange. This is the type of latitude a franchise can achieve when it stays true to what it is and John Wick Chapter 3 does an amazing job at making everything work within the confines of its established (and expanding) universe.
I don’t want to spoil any of the set pieces outright because part of the joy of the screening I attended was experiencing them with a crowd. There are moments where some of the kills can only elicit laughter but not laughter because its corny but because there were 100 people all going “Hahaha holy crap! This is awesome!” I wouldn’t take that from anyone’s first viewing. The only tease I will give is that Halle Berry’s character and her dogs, which are seen in the trailer, are involved in a sequence that felt like it went on for thirty minutes and I mean that as an absolute compliment.
John Wick Chapter 3 is my favorite movie of this early 2019 so far. It was one of the most entertaining movies, start to finish, in recent memory. The hype and adrenaline I felt when Cap wielded Thor’s hammer two weeks ago In Endgame was amazing but there are 4 sequences where I felt that same level of pure joy watching John Wick Chapter 3. If you liked the first two installments you will love this one, I can’t praise it enough. Plus after what Game of Thrones has done with the Direwolves it was nice to see a John who knows how to treat dogs.