No one thought John Wick would last this long. No one thought John Wick would last this long. Both franchise and protagonist appeared to us with what seemed like a short shelf-life. Nevertheless, the Baba Yaga is back for a third outing, and John Wick 3 takes the franchise to new heights – although the air is starting to get a little thin.
Parabellum uses its staggering 143-minute run time to expand and innovate on core ideas. New additions to the murky world are welcome, particularly homicidal homies Asia Kate Dillon, Mark Dacascos and two Belgian Malinois who rack up the film’s biggest laughs, and some of the highest kill counts.
You’d think director Chad Stahelski would have run out of variations on “John kills X” by now, but this third outing has some of the series’ best action sequences to date. It’s not just new locations; Stahelski plays with obstacles and objectives like they’re toys, with Wick as his ragdoll and Parabellum as playground. We’ve seen 205 people die by his hand and therefore don’t need any more proof that he’s a capable fighter, so Stahelski frames action sequences more as puzzles we watch John solve. Less murder, more mind games.
While the action shows Wick as intelligent, the narrative isn’t so kind. John wanders through Parabellum like the puppies he is so keen to protect. It all makes sense, but there’s only so many times you can watch John trapped or betrayed that it starts to piss you off.
It’s mesmerising, it’s thrilling, but at its core John Wick is ready for change – at the two-hour mark and the umpteenth fight against a pair of crafty henchman, you’d be forgiven for stifling a yawn. Parabellum knows this, and sows the seeds for an exciting future.
CAST: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Asia Kate Dillon, Jerome Flynn
DIRECTOR: Chad Stahelski
WRITERS: Derek Kolstad (story, screenplay, characters), Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams (screenplay)
SYNOPSIS: Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head, he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.