Do I really need to review this film for you? I mean seriously, this review should just say “go see it” and you should want to escape to a theater for a little over two hours with Keanu Reeves. Just like Chapter 2, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM is one of the greatest actions sequels ever made, and probably one of the best action films ever made in general. It is the best of the three (only by a small margin though as I really think Chapter 2 is very special) and completes a rare reverse trilogy for me. A reverse trilogy is that the 3rd is the best, then the second, then the first, and it will remain a rare reverse trilogy until the inevitable 4th one comes out. And if you think it’s a spoiler saying that John Wick doesn’t die in this, you haven’t been paying attention. Like Die Hard, this is now a franchise, and as long as the same people come back, and as long as the movies don’t lose any steam, they are going to make more.
Keanu Reeves (son of a gun is 54 years old) is back as John Wick, the movie continuing mere moments after Chapter 2 left off (one could also argue that Chapter 2 does the same for the first one) where he as a one hour grace period before becoming ‘Excommunicado’ after breaking the assassin Hotel Continental’s rules and killing a newly appointed member of the high table on the grounds. He’s on the run with a $14 million dollar bounty on his head…trying to figure out a way out of all of this. Now if anything of what I said was confusing, then that means you haven’t watched any of the John Wick movies and need to do so now. They are all great films, with Chapter 2 and this being cinematic action masterpieces. I was afraid that with a third film there was no way that it could top the world building and action set pieces from the 2nd. Boy was I wrong.
It not only expands upon the awesome assassin world only hinted at in the first film, and touched a little more in the second, it really comes full circle and fills in almost all of the details (you gotta hold back for the 4th one though, am I right?). I LOVE THIS WORLD. I wish I could see spin off after spin off after spin off with an occasional John Wick original adventure every now and then. It is just that diverse and interesting and I think that the world could even find tune itself to the point of having a giant fictional book about the history of the Wick-verse. The first spin off I’d love to see is a movie with Halle Berry and her dogs. Even though she is in it not as much as I’d like, when she is, she steals the show. Every reservation you have had about her in other recent crappy movies is washed away in this. The film makes it known that she has her own story to tell, and even though I’m not a prequel fan, I would eat it up if they made one.
The action in this is nothing short of masterful. You will be talking about Keanu Reeves using a book to kill somebody and the knife fight, and the horse sequence, and the motorcycle sequence, and the climax sequence for days. You can almost feel each punch and shot done to somebody in any given sequence in your seat. The sound editing and mixing on this is the best I’ve seen since….well, I guess that would be Chapter 2 huh? Some of the sequences had the audience in Alamo Drafthouse screaming giant OOOOOHHHH and AHHHHS, laughing and clapping. It was a pretty unique experience. Everything technical about this film is done so well. I’m going to be a little pissed if the Academy doesn’t give this at least a nomination for Best Cinematography. The cities, the landscapes, look absolutely gorgeous on the big screen.
And then there is Keanu Reeves. While I will even admit his range is limited, at least he is known for characters other than just John Wick (don’t forget, you got Ted and Neo). Also, even with the limited emotional range he tries to bring his A game to EVERY film that he is in. Have you seen the training video they release of him for John Wick? (They just released a Halle Berry one which was awesome too). The guy is deeply compassionate for his craft and it shows. This movie has no stupid shaky cam or any editing tricks to try and pin point all the action. The camera is super steady and relentlessly fluid. All of this make the shots seem cinematically magical. You see that it is Reeves doing most if not all of his stunts and he is pretty fucking impressive ‘beating’ the shit out of people. These movies wouldn’t be this special without him.
While there was one or two action sequences that went on a bit too long, I didn’t really care because I was enjoying each and every second of it. The John Wick films are cinematic experiences you need to see on the big screen before watching on your big screen (hopefully) at home. They are great action films and are better than most of the other action films we get today (not too surprising since most of them are CGI garbage with no more practical effects). These films are better than they have any right to be. Please keep screenwriter Derek Kolstad on (even if he has to share the spotlight like he did in this film) and especially former stunt double for Reeves now director Chad Stahelski. Without those two these movies wouldn’t be what they are. I’m done talking about this masterpiece and would rather discuss it in person with those who know me. I’ll conclude with this ‘duh’ statement: John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum is the best film of 2019 so far…and I don’t even know if at this point Tarantino or Skywalker could dethrone it.