REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
There’s little original about John Wick the character or the film series, so the reason he is a smash success action hero is all due to Keanu Reeves’ performance. Derek Kolstad created the man in the black suit and his dog, overseeing the direction of the three films although the latest installment, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, required four screenwriters: Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams. That’s never a good sign.
We pick up exactly ten minutes after John Wick Chapter 2, with our hero on the outs with the High Table. He’s on the run with a $14 million bounty on his head and few willing to associate with the “excommunicado” man. Wick is not without resources and manages to get out of New York, using his sole “Get out of Jail” free card.
As he leaves the Big Apple, the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) arrives to admonish Winston (Ian McShane) and Bowery King (Laurence Fishburn) for their own culpability in Santino’s (Riccardo Scamarcio) death. They have a week to resign their posts or face the consequences.
Wick, meanwhile, winds up in Casablanca seeking guidance from an old friend, Sofia (Halle Berry), presents his marker, and is guided toward the Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui). There, promises are made, sacrifices made, and the tables are set for the action and mayhem to begin in earnest. Before long, we’re back in New York and the tension increases.
While there are shifting alliances throughout, you gain a greater sense of the loyalties Wick has earned through his career, finally allowing us some greater insight into his background. It’s always great to see Reeves and McShane together, such a cool vibe set against the New York City Continental.
By the film’s end, the status quo has shifted and the table is et for chapter four, which the current box office suggests is inevitable.
With Berry and Anjelica Houston (as the Director), the female quota has increased, just not sufficiently. This is an old school male dominated world of violence, with a dollop of spiritualism, that makes it feel antiquated. Things move briskly and the action set pieces are high-octane – and plenty of fun to watch. As we learn more about this world and the rules of engagement, we’re nicely drawn in deeper, making us want to learn more, a testament to Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski, who has now helmed all three films for a consistent look and feel.
John Wick: Chapter 3 is out now from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in a variety of formats including the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD combo pack. The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1 is marvelous to watch, from the dim interiors to the brilliant desert. It has nicely captured the color palette, surpassed only by the superior Dolby Atmos audio track.
Given how cool Wick has become and the following he has earned, the Special Features could have been better. We have quite a collection, with some better than others. We start with Parabellum: Legacy of The High Table (10:57) as cast and crew talk the production, Excommunicado (9:44); Check Your Sights (9:55), all about the action; Saddle Up Wick (5:10); Bikes, Blades, Bridges, and Bits (6:35); Continental in the Desert (10:15); Dog Fu (8:04); House of Transparency (7:10); Shot by Shot (8:57) looks at the editing process. Theatrical Trailers, and Behind the Scenes of John Wick Hex (6:54