A cacophony of cinematic chaos, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is a stunning piece of action cinema. A beautifully balletic bullet-strewn, bone-crunching romp, the Keanu Reeves starrer is a franchise best and while there is little-to-no plot, it’s a masterfully choreographed film which will leave you stunned and wondering how they pulled it all off.
Picking-up mere minutes after John Wick: Chapter 2, director Chad Stahelski’s film sees Wick excommunicado from his league of assassins and on the run, with an ever increasing bounty on his head after breaking the house rules of the Continental Hotel (a safe-haven for a secret world of killers). He fights, shoots and pretty much destroys anything that gets in his way as he attempts to escape the never-ending line of killers on his tail as he tries to find a way to save his skin.
John Wick 3 is packed-out with an impressive supporting cast (Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Ian McShane and Anjelica Huston) but this is Keanu Reeves’ show and boy, does he manage to deliver in a way that few A-list action stars could only ever dream of. Chad Stahelski worked as Reeves’ stunt double in The Matrix films and he seems to know what he is capable of, making sure the 55 year-old star looks his best while killing the bad guys in a cool suit (Wick 3 also makes reference to one of the 1999 film’s most famous lines). The sheer physicality of his performance is mind-blowing, with Reeves kicking all sorts of ass in many different ways in extended takes. I’ve sometimes knocked Reeves in the past for the occasionally clunky line delivery but he deserves some sort of special Academy Award for physical performance here. The list of actors who have crafted classic physical performances is short and distinguished (Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton/Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise) but Reeves’ John Wick work is up there with that level of dedication and delivery. In a world of CGI and green screen it’s a joy to see such action and stunt work delivered in camera.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum might lack in the plot depart and if you don’t invest in the onscreen action then you’ll likely become very bored, very fast. You could also argue that the film glorifies gun violence in a very extreme way (and you’d likely be very correct) but there’s a cartoonish violence to this which is about three steps away from being a bullet heavy version of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. However, if you embrace the onscreen madness and just sit back and marvel at Keanu Reeves’ work then you’ll ultimately take great joy out of what John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum has to offer.
You’ll watch John Wick: Chapter 3 and wonder how they made it. The blu-ray disc comes jammed with around 80 minutes of extras detailing how the filmmakers managed to create such a mind-boggling action extravaganza. If you loved the move, then fill yer boots.