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"John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
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Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

"Si vis pacem, parabellum." says Ian McShane's The Manager as John Wick prepares for another bout. This echoes the title, but what does it mean, you may ask? The full quote reads: "If you want peace, prepare for war." The title is Parabellum, so it's safe to assume it refers to the latter half of the phrase. The film was named appropriately as the new entry in the John Wick franchise is so non-stop that it almost induces whiplash.

We last left John Wick on the run at the end of part 2. He carried out a hit on Continental grounds, which is a big no-no to The High Table. The Manager has declared John excommunicado with all privileges and assistance revoked. A contract was put out on him for 14 million. Every hit man (and ninja!) in New York City wants it. John makes a Hail Mary pass and escapes to Casablanca where he meets up with old partner Sofia. He's going to need all the help he can get if he is to make amends. But, The High Table has other plans.

One thing I love about these films is that they waste no time. Every frame, every second has a purpose. There's always a story, a deeper meaning to everyone's actions. Part of the thrill of these films is the inability to predict what will happen next. There's quite a few WTF moments in this film, keeping the audience on their toes and out of breath.

Thankfully, Lance Reddick and Ian McShane had more screentime this go-around. They're both brilliant actors and I have felt that they were underused in the past two films. Parabellum changes that in a major way. I fully expect them to be far more central if there's a chapter 4. Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry made for a brilliant team-up. It's a bit of a shame that she's not in Parabellum very long, but what we do see of her is outstanding. Who knows, she may be back in the next one too. One new member that I definitely want to return is Asia Kate Dillon's The Adjudicator. You may know her from the show Billions as Taylor. She's cunning and manipulative and adds to the tension of the film. She's brilliant in her acting and has a tendency to make you tense up when she comes on screen because you just know something's about to go down.

There was a surprising amount of humor in this installment. Applause all around for the writers for being able to incorporate these moments into serious moments without taking away from the film itself. If anything, it added some humanity to the characters.

In conclusion, if you loved the first two films, then you'll be impressed by this one. It's so fast-paced that, by the time it's over, it's hard to believe two hours has passed. Keanu Reeves never fails to impress me and he always seems to climb to new heights with every new film he makes. I give John Wick 3: Parabellum a 4 out of 4.

© 2019 Nathan Jasper


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