With John Wick: Chapter 2 being my second favorite movie of 2017, I don’t have to tell you that I was excited about the follow-up. The ending of that 2017 release left me wondering what they could do as they moved toward opening up the world they built as Wick himself was facing a challenge like no other. Needless to say, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum appeared to have loads of potential. If done right, I wasn’t expecting it to match what came before it, but I was hoping they would at least give it a try.
After the events of Chapter 2, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is still in the position where he must use the deadly skills that built his reputation over the years. Instead of him using his gifts for a job given to him by members of the High Table or by any one of his past employers, the incredibly brutal assassin is in it for himself now. Now, he has to save his own life as a number of world-renowned killers are out to collect the $14 million dollar bounty on his head after he broke the rules of The Continental.
The selling point for these John Wick movies is the action and the high volume of violence that comes along with it. To keep that up, they switched things up a bit here in terms of what we consistently get to see. The first two films are really gun heavy throughout. There are a few scenes with hand-to-hand combat, but it’s never really a focal point in movies containing this deadly marksman.
Chapter 3, however, is different in that it focuses much more on fighting than the previous two. I didn’t keep count, but there were plenty of scenes where guns weren’t really used before we actually get to the familiar style of bloodshed that we’re used to in this franchise. This adjustment proved to be a positive one as it keeps things from becoming too repetitive since there clearly isn’t much more they can do with guns in these movies.
It isn’t just hand-to-hand combat that’s more prominent either. There are knives, swords and even more that allows them to vary the way John Wick’s foes meet their demise. I guess that theoretically could be a negative in the eyes of some people, but most will welcome it since it adds on to what we’re being offered.
This temporary shift in focus also shows that they’re at least trying to keep things fresh. Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of franchises rely on the same things until audiences get tired of it. At that point, things tend to fall apart fairly quickly and abruptly. Doing it this way allows for the movies that we’re getting to remain familiar while also giving its audience different looks over time.
Of course, even with the new or more frequent additions, the gunplay is still here and still highly important. While they get innovative by using some of the other forms of combat, they also attempt to add more wrinkles with their utilization of firearms to some degree. I won’t go into too many details here, but they’re able to mix the old with the new just in this feature alone. Together, all of the action fits well next to one another and will have you loving every minute of it if you’re into this kind of violence.
As much as I loved Chapter 2, I was hoping its follow up could pull me in just as much as that did. While I definitely enjoyed what Chapter 3 offers us as viewers, I must admit that overall, it’s not as good as its direct predecessor. The main reason for this is due to the fact that they had a difficult time reproducing the level of detail that was added to what came before it.
In terms of story and character development, you’re not receiving a whole lot of depth in these movies, so being able to develop and grow in other ways becomes more important. Chapter 2 was able to accomplish that by designing this insane world that actually was able to fit with and effectively expand on what was introduced in the original John Wick in an organic and believable way for this ludicrous world that he exists in.
Chapter 3, on the other hand, isn’t able to recapture that. There’s an attempt to build on what was developed in the previous films, but it doesn’t work as well. The main reason is that it felt more exaggerated than it should have and they probably went a little too far in trying. When they first try to introduce new aspects this time around, it almost splits the movie in two as things become detached for a period of time.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum isn’t anywhere near as good as Chapter 2 and I don’t think it quite catches the original either. However, it’s just as fun in most instances since it delivers the type of crazy action that’s both familiar and new at the same time. Because of this, I recommend seeing it if you’re a fan of the first two or even if for some reason it’s your first time actually watching John Wick in action.
Director: Chad Stahelski
Asia Kate Dillon
Cecep Arif Rahman
Film Length: 131 minutes
Release Date: May 17th, 2019
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
- Score - 7.5/107.5/10