In my review for John Wick Chapter 2, I made it clear that I didn’t necessarily like the ending, stating clearly that it was a bit too comic for my taste. However, I also called for a discussion about the chances of the series maintaining its success in chapter 3, and in that rare occasion I pitched my own opinion stating that I have no doubt it will indeed succeed. What I never imagined though, is those 2 arguments ending up being so connected.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum starts in direct continuation to the events of John Wick: Chapter 2. After being declared excommunicado, John is trying to make the best benefit from the 1 hour head start awarded to him by Winston. That doesn’t prevent him from going into a few fights for his life before realising that he just can’t make it on his own. So he goes back to his old books in search of friends and connections that can help him restore and keep his life. John’s situation is delicate and everybody is reluctant to offer a helping hand. Especially that members of the high table is now tracking and punishing anyone who dares help him.
Chapter 3 in the John Wick series doesn’t have a plot of its own. It’s basically a continuation to where Chapter 2 ended. It is worth mentioning here that you cannot follow Chapter 3 properly without seeing Chapter 2 first. We pick up only a few moments from where we left off. Yes, that same comic point in a world where almost everyone is a contract killer. Only this time it is somehow unnoticeable. Simply because the film managed to get us fully immersed into that imaginary crime world. The idea of a normal world existing out there is no longer present. Everybody is a criminal and every entity is a criminal entity or a cover for a criminal entity. That doesn’t only help the flow of the endless violent confrontations It also offers the needed contrast between the world John is stuck in and the world where he needed to live. I’m not guessing or over analyzing here. This is told straightforwardly and more than once during the film. I’m just amazed on how this is all connected to offer a decent dramatic foundation for our events. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in it for the drama anyways. I was in it for the hottest action party of the year and boy it didn’t disappoint.
This is exactly what the John Wick series has become guys. Not only the most innovative, risk taking, challenges increasing, incredibly entertaining for the audience. I think by now it’s safe to say it’s the standard setting product for the entire genre. It dictates what a good action sequence is supposed to be like. It’s like there’s a high table in real life with members that meet to dare Chad Stahelski to execute crazy scenarios they come up with. How would you convince the audience that a man can beat an opponent twice his size with a book? How would you design a fight that is all about throwing knives in a space that is 2 meters wide? Can you do a chase between motorcycles and a man on a horse? A Fight between an army of men and two people armed only with 2 dogs? Who comes up with such ideas? And who can do them as well as they are done in the John Wick movies?
What’s also amazing is how casually they treat those scenes! You don’t see a single one of those is slow mo, or with a setup that gives you the impression you’re seeing what nobody has ever seen before. They’re just there, blink and you’ll miss them.
With all that I can’t say that Chapter 3 tops Chapter 2. Not in action sequences nor in the story and the way it develops. It just manages to keep itself fresh in both aspects 3 movies deep. In the first film we got introduced to John Wick in a tale of revenge. In the second film we witness John Wick the professional on a mission. In the 3rd film we see him fighting for his life, and we take a deeper dive into what makes him what he is and keeps him going. Always loyal to the subtle facts that really make him different. He is an incredible fighter of course with a huge range of exceptional skills, but what keeps him winning is his will power and determination.
We see that in full effect in Chapter 3 through the scenarios of his fights and also through the performance of Keanu Reeves. Who never gives us the expressions of a confident man though we know that 99.9% he’s going to win. Also in this film we again see the world of the continential hotel and the order of the high table growing and expanding. This time for example we get to see their judiciary system. The secret to how they keep their universe flowing without anybody breaking the rules. Those are the elements that made me confident Chapter 3 was going to be a winner, and that’s what keeps me confident now that Chapter 4 is also going to be a huge success.
John Wick Chapter 3 is everything I expected it to be. It builds on the success of the series, takes on new challenges. Make things difficult and deliver in every way possible. Even the let downs of the film were expected to me. The whole inclusion of Sofia character portrayed by Hale Berry wasn’t on the level of everything else in the film. Even her conflicting emotions were too fast to absorb or relate to. However, even in that area, the film refused to leave us in disappointment, and gave us the gift of the fighting sequence with the 2 dogs.