Director: Chad Stahelski
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jerome Flynn, Jason Mantzoukas, Tobias Segal, Boban Marjanovic, Anjelica Huston, Ian McShane
Runtime: 2 hrs 11 mins
Rating: M18 (Violence)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 16 May 2019
Synopsis: In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum wastes no time in kickstarting the fate of our nicely-dressed, super assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) after he is declared “excommunicado” for killing a crime lord on the sacred ground of The Continental. With an hour head start granted by Winston (Ian McShane), the manager of the Continental Hotel, before his $14 million bounty comes into place, Wick must battle his way out of rain-soaked New York without any help or resources.
And if you remember what Wick promised in John Wick 2 - that is whoever comes, whoever it is, he’ll kill them all - you'll be sure you're going to have yet another exhilarating time.
The world or universe (as the filmmakers call it) of John Wick continues to expand in this third instalment, as we learn that Wick is likely a Russian orphan trained under the watchful eyes of The Director (Angelica Huston) before he left to venture on his own with his very specific skillset. And now, Wick is requesting The Director to help him one last time- smuggling him out to Morocco to look for his equally dog lover friend, Sophia (Halle Berry), so that he can find a way to discuss things with The High Table to change his “excommunicado” status.
In the meantime, an Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) from The High Table arrives to make sure that punishments are being meted out to those who had helped John Wick in his escape. And that includes The Director, The Bowery King (Lawrence Fishburne) and Winston. Assisting the Adjudicator is part-time sushi chef, Zero (Mark Dacascos) and his team of ruthless assassins who is going to take on Wick at the Grand Central Terminal, across the Verrazano Bridge, and lastly at the Continental Hotel.
Original creator and writer Derek Kolstad returns with director Chad Stahelski to pepper the franchise with not just jaw-dropping action sequences but also in their most ambitious and efficient way, slowly building the universe of John Wick to a crazy mysterious level. What is The High Table? I’m afraid the answer will not be fully revealed just yet. Who is The Elder anyway? Other than that it is Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman) who portrays the character, we have little knowledge of him. Who exactly is Sofia and what did Wick do in the past to protect Sofia’s daughter? We have no answer to that either.
With every new John Wick instalment, there are lots of new questions being raised. It’s like a puzzle that keeps turning up with missing pieces and now it seems it’s entirely up to the audiences to either stick with our favourite anti-hero or “excommunicado” yourself at some point, because for better or worse, John Wick’s mission is not done by the end of Chapter 3.
Probably to raise the stakes even higher than its predecessors, Stahelski and his stunt choreographer Jonathan Eusebio begins the movie with a brief fight at the New York Public Library which sees Wick fighting against towering NBA star Boban Marjanovic with a book (it’s a library after all) as his weapon of choice. Not long after, we are treated to our favourite action sequence of the entire movie, which sees Wick using knives and axes against a bunch of Chinese assassins, the kind that makes you squirm a little I must add. If you think Stahelski and Eusebio is going to stop here, they deliver yet another epic fight in a barn and ends with Wick riding a horse along the streets of New York. And all these happened in just the first 30 minutes of the movie.
Action fans who are here merely to see 54-year-old Reeves in action again will not be disappointed as John Wick serves up dishes after dishes of brutal fun, outrageous body counts and ultra-violence, shooting nearly every opponent at point blank. Non-fans might however find the frequent foot chase, gun fights, fist fights (repeat x3) tiresome, but it is impossible to fault Stahelski and Danish cinematographer Dan Laustsen’s (The Shape of Water) hard work for staging the prolonged finale fight in a glass gallery which is both classy and a beauty to look at.
Without the need for much dialogue and despite his age, Reeves continues to exert his charisma through his hyper violent, swift moves and his character’s grief for his late wife. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum also welcomes the addition of Cecep Arif Rahman and Yayan Ruhian from The Raid, both given rather substantial screentime in the finale. Though we hope to see more of Halle Berry’s Sofia in the future instalments, Mark Dacascos (Brotherhood of the Wolf) on the other hand puts in a memorable, occasional chuckling performance as a Japanese assassin who ironically idolises Wick despite his best attempt to kill him.
John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum is yet another relentless, spectacular action instalment that continues to expand the JW universe and the hidden agendas of familiar characters. If you ask us, we've already signed up for Chapter 4!
(Enjoy your stay at the Continental Hotel! We assure you it’s going to be a bloody worthy experience)
Review by Linus Tee