By Gustavo Buenrostro
With high-quality action, beautiful cinematography and fantastic performances, “John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum” is a great addition to the “John Wick” films.
“Parabellum” picks up right where “John Wick Chapter 2” left off with Wick on the run.
A bounty is put on Wick for $14 million, and he only has one hour to prepare.
The first fight scene in the film has perhaps one of the most brutal kills in the entire film with the audience giving an audible “ahh” when Wick kills an assassin with a book. That scene prepares audiences for how vicious the rest of the fights are.
The scene in Casablanca sticks out for a multitude of reasons. There are multiple one-shot takes in the scene with the camera moving back and forth to see what Wick is doing and then moving to show what Sofia, played Halle Berry, is doing.
It even follows what Sofia’s dogs do. The dogs play a huge role in bringing down enemies so Sofia can come up to them and shoot them.
The entire scene is around 10 minutes, but the pacing doesn’t make it feel that long.
There are hardly any cuts during the fights, which is a breath of fresh air with many other big-budget action movies having multiple cuts from multiple cameras and close ups in a single fight.
The director, Chad Stahelski, understands this, and most of the fight scenes in the film are filmed in a wide shot, showing everything that is happening, not only with the characters but also the setting.
Another thing that sets this movie apart from other action films is that the fights and kills aren’t ridiculous.
Films like “Fast and Furious” or “Mission Impossible” have fights and kills that don’t seem believable.
While “Parabellum” is not grounded in reality, many of the kills that happen don’t seem out of the realm of probability.
The cinematography is also beautiful in the film. Using shadows and lights to show certain moods of characters or to invoke the mood the audience should feel.
The performances are also really good, with the most noteworthy being Keanu Reeves as the stoic John Wick and Laurence Fishburne as the charismatic Bowery King.
One aspect the film does fall short in is the plot, which is very thin.
The story is Wick trying to survive the onslaught of assassins trying to kill him for a bounty he has on his head. There is a subplot involving the manager of the Continental Hotel and the group that put out the bounty on Wick.
It sets up the third act of the film, but it’s not really anything to grasp on to. The only emotional hold the film has is Wick, but only if someone has seen the previous films.
Otherwise, the only reason to root for Wick in the film is because he is an underdog. However, the film doesn’t try to hide the fact that the plot is thin.
It’s perhaps the reason why the choreography, cinematography and performances are at a higher quality to make up for that fact.
Those who wants to watch “John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum” should expect a high-octane action film with great visuals but a thin story. The film is rated R.