“John Wick, fourteen million. Open contract is now in effect. All services are suspended” the SwitchBoard Operator says robotically, “And away we go” remarks Winston, with a slight pain in his eyes. In the latest chapter of the ‘John Wick’ series, we get the wittest, most beautiful, action-packed, well choreographed, and well-written installment that the John Wick series could have possibly offered.
‘Parabellum’ stars the fan favourite Keanu Reeves as John Wick, Halle Berry as Sofia, Anjelica Huston as the Director and Ian McShane as Winston. The film and the previous installments are directed by Chad Stahelski, a former stuntman for Hollywood.
Like the first two in the series, ‘Chapter 3’ combines an easy to follow yet eventful story, filled to the brim with great character profiles and development. Fast-paced and brutal action scenes that show the real mastery of John Wick’s art. Perfect use of vibrant, colorful lights to give each scene one of much beauty and exposure. And finally even in the most heated and serious of situations, there is always some perfectly incorporated witty and funny dialogue.
A prime example of the witty dialogue in times of heated situations occurs between Wick and Sofia, as Wick in desperate need of help seeks Sofia only for her to shoot Wick and makes the witty remark that she should have shot him dead, leading Wick to respond with “I know”
Even though this is the third and latest installment, ‘Parabellum’ does an excellent job with introducing new, central characters such as the wicked, controlling Adjudicator and John Wick’s most toughest and skilled opponent, Zero.
The Adjudicator is sent by the intimidating High Table, the head of the assassins guild, in order to subdue John Wick and to take away the power of those that help him survive. We get a great look into the Adjudicator’s power and control when she confronts Winston, the head of the Continental hotel, and good friend of John Wick.
“I have no control over Mr.Wick’s actions” Winston says, “And yet he lives because you deemed it so, yes?” responds the Adjudicator monotonously. She directly challenges Winston to his own place of power, showing that the High Table controls everything and everyone it looks after.
Zero, serves as Wick’s greatest challenge along with being a fanatic of Wick, excited to fight him and to prove his worth. “I got to tell you. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you for a long time. I’m a huge fan. John Wick. And so far, you haven’t disappointed” Zero says, eyes locked on Wick.
What’s great about their relationship together is Wick doesn’t actually respect, or even really acknowledge him until they finally fight and Wick is able to out do him in combat. “Hey, John. That was a pretty good fight, huh?” Zero says gasping for air, trying to stay alive. “Yeah” responds Wick, getting up and walking away.
This final exchange, although short, shows that Wick finally acknowledges him, fulfilling Zero’s internal mission, and puts him at peace.
It is fair to say that ‘Parabellum’ is less story-driven and a more action-packed brutality fest of the highest skilled assassins and mercenaries in the world, and people may have issues with this as they want more story than just action-packed scenes.
I don’t completely disagree with this idea, as yes ‘Parabellum’ does ramp up the fight scenes and make them more creative and imaginative, but I don’t believe that this makes the story lost or clouded. On the contrary, I feel that this betters the story.
John Wick is in his more desperate time, fighting for his life against the world’s best assassins who are hungry for the 14 million dollar bounty on his head. So of course the fight scenes will be ramped up and more brutal, our character is fighting for his life against an onslaught of foes.
They’re really not too many movies out there that have a similar style to that of the ‘John Wick’ series, and if there are, they certainly don’t execute the formula as well as Stahelski and his team have.
If you haven’t seen ‘Parabellum’ or any movie in the ‘John Wick’ series I would highly recommend them as they are a couple of my most favourite films and I think that most people will enjoy at least some aspect of each.