Chad Stahelski's "JOHN WICK 3: PARABELLUM"
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
That John Wick 3 is an orgy of violence goes without saying. The body count is astronomical as our “hero” kills his way through one major altercation after the other.
What’s the point of all this? It’s not immediately clear. A $14 million price tag is on John Wick’s head as a result of his disobeying orders (see John Wick 2). Almost everyone he seeks help from refuses to get involved. Only by resorting to the most extreme appeals to past favors and debts does he get out of New York City alive.
Once in Morocco a trail of bodies follows him; the reach of his former employer is international. There he experiences a redemption of sorts even though he is forced to leave something valuable behind.
Returning to New York City the body count accelerates as he draws on his vast experience as a paid assassin to even the score.
Earlier I referred to this movie as a “orgy of violence.“ Perhaps it would be more correct to call it a “ballet of violence.“ The fight scenes are choreographed with incredible precision with special attention, as in previous John Wick films, to the need to pause and reload. Even those scenes are precisely choreographed and suggest a LOT of behind the scenes practice by principal actors including Halle Berry whose dogs become a critical ally for John.
What’s to like about a movie like this?
I think it’s the juxtaposition of how Keanu Reaves methodically plays John Wick with all the furious mayhem set against a secret society of assassins that hide from society in plain sight. This is just as believable as a subculture of magicians living amongst us (Harry Potter) or aliens from another world next-door (Men In Black).
We in the audience may be the “normal” ones looking on but we do experience a vicarious thrill in having the curtains parted between our world and theirs. But because it’s “just a movie” we know that we can always return safely to our own world when the credits roll and the theater lights go up.
Review copyright (c) 2019 by Dennis D. McDonald