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article imageReview: ‘John Wick 3: Parabellum’ delves deeper and hits harder Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 19, 2019 in Entertainment
‘John Wick 3: Parabellum’ has the unbeatable assassin preparing for war in which the odds are even in spite of every trained killer being out to get him.
Action movies and thrillers driven by revenge have been commonplace since the ‘70s. When someone with access to a gun or other weapons is wronged, it seems to be a recipe for enacting cold, hard, brutal vengeance against everyone responsible. But “every action has a consequence” and unflinching, ruthless violence is bound to eventually draw blood from a forbidden pool. Running only gets you so far and then confrontation, surrender or – if you’re lucky – negotiation become the only options. In John Wick 3: Parabellum, the title character opts for all-out war against anyone who tries to stand in his way.
After being excommunicated, John (Keanu Reeves) has one hour to try to get out of the city before all its assassins come to collect the eight-digit price on his head. Traffic, rain and eager killers stand between him and potential safe passage. As the clock ticks down, he becomes desperate to find refuge and evade his trackers. In the meantime, an Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) assigned by the High Table arrives in New York. Her business is with everyone who helped John immediately before and after he broke the rules. As she delivers her verdict to each of his associates, he attempts to contact the head of the High Table in a last ditch effort to save his life.
The first film’s introduction to John Wick and its incorporation of gun-fu made it the standout action movie of the year. It also made the sequel one of the most anticipated. The second chapter combined gun-fu with car-fu, yet again delivering a hard-hitting, high-impact film with an even higher kill count. Within the first 15 minutes of this movie, John’s killed someone with a book, a customized antique gun and a horse. But what’s left for the man who’s used every weapon and numerous ordinary objects to dispatch his opponents? Apparently the answer is not much, so they give him a partner in the form of Halle Berry. She plays a former acquaintance of John’s who comes equipped with two attack-trained German Shepherds. As dogs have always played a critical role in the narratives, these furry killers are a welcome addition; however, during the gunplay there’s an uneven focus on Berry that may annoy fans wanting to see more of John.
Where this movie lacks finesse, it replaces it with brute force. There’s definitely still a thrill to watching John escape only slightly scathed even though he was exhausted and/or significantly outnumbered. His dexterity when reloading a gun is captivating and his aim is impeccable. But the most interesting action sequences bookend the picture. Once the bounty hunters begin their assault, the rapid fire action is spellbinding. From a library to the streets of Chinatown and from a horse to a motorcycle, John must adapt quickly and dispatch his pursuers with whatever is at hand in order to stay alive. At the end, he has a couple of more humorous clashes with the High Table’s henchmen, including brothers who admire John and want a fair fight, and a ninja (Mark Dacascos) who believes they could’ve been friends under other circumstances.
The shadow society’s hierarchy, rules and penalties are further revealed in this installment, though there will likely be much more to uncover in the next one. The three returning men — Reeves, Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne — resume their roles perfectly, though at least one of them will surprise everyone. Joining the cast are Dillon and Anjelica Huston. The former exudes power, confidence and sophistication, but all on her own terms; while the latter embodies a Russian matriarch — concerned yet cold, hardened by power and loss.
Each chapter builds on the previous one, finding new ways to take down John’s enemies and expanding this fascinating world of honour-driven killers.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry and Ian McShane
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