John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum is just a two-hour prelude to another sequel, but it delivers the same thrills expected from its franchise that you won’t mind.
John Wick continues to be consistent in delivering stylized comic violence with up-and-close brutality. In Parabellum, every enemy has to be shot or stabbed twice for good measure, all captured without the jittery camerawork used to mask mediocre action scenes. There’s a lot more gore here compared to previous movies as gunplay is mixed with knifework and martial arts.
There are a number of great set pieces, one of which gives us a glimpse of a bigger war to come in a world of draconian laws. Secret societies are nothing new, but the movie manages to make it interesting with its own take on tired cliches and intriguing characters that give the franchise its own personality.
Parabellum is ultimately about this secret world, how it operates, and the shaky alliances in between. Wick’s world is built on the economics of equivalent exchange symbolized by markers, gold coins, and tickets. Rules seem odd in a world of assassins, but even chaos needs a system or it will obliterate itself to oblivion.
By focusing on this though, John Wick’s story gets lost along the way. The long takes become deadening and exhausting. You can see the franchise bloat setting in, as Parabellum is really just a prelude to another savage sequel.
In fairness, the franchise stays true to what it is. The cast looks like they’re having fun too. John Wick continues to persist and kill every assassin that gets in his way, and LBR, that’s what you’re here for anyway.
John Wick 3
John Wick 3: Parabellum is a bloated filler in the franchise, but it serves breathtaking violence of guns, gore, and bone-shattering thrills.