Main cast: Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Ian McShane (Winston), Mark Dacascos (Zero), Laurence Fishburne (The Bowery King), Asia Kate Dillon (The Adjudicator), Halle Berry (Sofia), Lance Reddick (Charon), Anjelica Huston (The Director), Saïd Taghmaoui (The Elder), Jason Mantzoukas (Tick Tock Man), and Robin Lord Taylor (The Administrator)
Director: Chad Stahelski
Parabellum is the name of a firearms cartridge, appropriately enough, but the word in this title is also a play on the Latin adage – si vis pacem, para bellum, or “if you want peace, prepare for war”. And trust me, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is indeed a preparation of war, as following the events in John Wick: Chapter 2, the world is now a Fortnite map spanning three continents, and everyone involved is in a battle royale game.
At precisely 6 pm on the day where the previous movie ended, the assassin formerly known as the Baba Yaga is excommunicado and, worse, with a 14 million bounty on his head. It will be upped to 15 million later. All because he broke some rules set by the High Table, the big bosses of the assassins, for a dog and later a car. Now he is on the run, and because he has been an assassin for quite some time, he’s now going to call in the many favors owed to him by others, including old faces like Winston and the Bowery King as well as new faces such as the Director, the leader of the Ruska Roma crime ring in town, and Sofia, a former assassin who has a few nasty guard dogs and owes John a favor. Meanwhile, the Adjudicator of the High Table is in town – she’s the cool, cold judge and arbiter who is to make sure that John pays for his sins. She quickly engages the services of Zero and his assassin students as she sweeps into town to make sure that everyone who helped John in any way pay for their sin.
That’s basically the plot of this movie. Kill or be killed, and oh boy, this movie is exactly like the previous two: it is braindead, but it is an awesome kind of braindead. John kills a man with only a book, and then it’s a no-holds barred blade and martial arts fight in an antique weapon store. There is no shortage of gun-fu, fist-fu, and motorcycle-fu, all to deliver all the exhilarating adrenaline rush I can ask for. Sure, things can get sloppy and I can see the stunt doubles’ faces now and then, but I’m okay with that, as I am having so much fun.
Mind you, things are even more absurd here compared to the previous movie, especially when the movie eventually reveals that John Wick is actually the protagonist in a modern-day Assassin’s Creed video game. Now that I think of it, these movies should have been the Assassin’s Creed movie rather than the turd that we ended up with, as John Wick and a couple of other assassins have apparently developed the power of stealth here too. Seriously, one moment they are here, then they have vanished, and then they are over there. When John meets the Prince of Persia, er, The Elder, this is the movie crossover that Ubisoft should be throwing money at.
My only complaints – minor ones – are that, one, the creativity that goes into the action scenes seem to has expired after the first 30 minutes and everything else is a samey kind of knife, gun, and kung-fu fiesta and, two, some of the humorous moments feel very out of place and ruin the overall tone of the movie.
Still, no matter. Keanu Reeves is still awesome in his role, and I don’t even care that there is another sequel set-up by the end of this movie. I love the thrill and the rush these movies are giving me so far, and like a junkie, I can’t wait for my next fix.