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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum  - 2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum - 2019

Director(s): Chad Stahelski

Writer(s): Derek Kolstad, Shy Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams (screenplay)

Cinematography by: Dan Laustsen  

Editor(s): Evan Schiff

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, Jason Mantzoukas, Saïd Taghmaoui and Jerome Flynn

Review:

On October 2014 Hollywood finally came to their senses and gave Keanu Reeves (Point Break, Speed, The Matrix) another starring role in an action genre movie, John Wick. The film was a surprise hit with fans and critics leading to an over the top crazy fun sequel three years later that left us in a cliffhanger around Wick's fate. Two years later and here we are, and I am more than ready to see Reeves do battle on a horse - with a sword - on a bridge - against ninja assassins. Let's talk about it.

The story picks right up after the conclusion of John Wick: Chapter 2, as Winston (McShane) the manager of The Continental Hotel in New York City gave Wick (Reeves) an hour before he declared him "excommunicado" by The High Table after breaking the rules that govern their world. A $14 million contract is placed on his head, and Wick has to race to every corner of the world he can find to collect on all the favors he gained through his past exploits. While Wick is trying to survive, The High Table sends an Adjudicator (Dillon) to clean up the mess created by Wick's actions and hires Zero (Dacascos) and his students to eliminate everyone responsible for allowing him to break the rules and ultimately to remove Wick.

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In the first film, we got minor hints at a bigger world within the organization Wick left for his wife, and in the sequel, they expanded adding to the lore and mystery of The High Table. In chapter three, the writers pushed their chips all in giving us Wick's origins, the bureaucracy, and paperwork behind what in any other film would've been just "cool" assassin organization, and how just how wide The High Table reach goes. I loved the addition of characters that added depth and backstory to the enigma that is Wick, mainly The Director (Huston) and Sofia (Berry). The comedic elements are still alive and better than ever, with Reeves' dry delivery making them work, and this time around they injected more comedic beats within the action as well. The flow of the story does dip a bit in the middle as you start to feel the 2h 10m runtime, but once the third act hits you are on the edge of your seat till the very end.

Quick note: The Director's facility foreshadows a rumored spinoff, Ballerina, while still being centric to story currently being told - and I am down for more films within this world.

While the lore and the story are fantastic in this film - we all came for the action, and they did not disappoint. From the opening, one can tell the fight choreographer, the stunt crew and Reeves' dedication to showcasing an elevation to the hand to hand combat action sequences from the previous outings - with long one take shots that do not cut with each punch, like the typical Hollywood action film. Director Stalhelski stays with the actors as he is proud of the blood and sweat, they have put into the fights, letting them play out the fight and show how taxing it is on their bodies. Once again, the shoot-out sequences are breathtaking, with Halle Berry and her dogs being the stand out of the entire film. The way the integrated the dogs and Berry was seamless and visceral - as the dogs did not hold back (my God have mercy on the stuntmen balls). I really enjoyed that this time around multiple characters had their moment to shine and it wasn't a one-man show, mainly Dacascos and his crew appearing and disappearing in the dark effortlessly taking out their targets.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is another entry into the rebirth of the action genre we are basking in this decade. Reeves dedication to performing his stunts, and the stunt crews' immense imagination for crafting visually impacting action sequences that be hand to hand, gunfight, car chases or even horses – all hit home and give you an adrenaline rush. Just like the Mission Impossible franchise, the team behind John Wick has found a way to make each new entry even crazier than the last, leaving audiences wanting more. If you are remotely a fan of action, this is the film for you.

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is Why I Love Movies.

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