John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Review

John Wick 3 – Synopsis

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ​kicks off right where ​John Wick 2​ ends. Master assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run after being excommunicated from the group of global assassins he once belonged to. After an hour, a bounty of $14 million is unbarred allowing the entire city to want him dead. With the help of a couple people along the way can he survive?

What I Liked

John Wick 3​ brings to the series exactly what you’d expect. This film has some of the best fight scenes in years and has drawn comparisons to ​The Raid​. The first 20 minutes are borderline perfect. With two of the best fights in the movie happen right off the bat.

Another aspect that makes this action and fight choreography so great is the realism and sound mixing. The John Wick franchise has always been known for it’s great realism when it comes to gun-play. John Wick 3 doubles down on that. The constant reloading while fighting gives us an extra sense of “this guy knows what the hell he is doing”. This addition elevates the film for me. You also feel every single gunshot because of the sound. It’s loud, in your face, and amazing.

One more thing ​John Wick 3 brings to the table that a majority of other action films don’t is mythos. They’ve built an entire world of assassins, blood oaths, debts, and murder that goes deeper than most. This films expands on that lore, which is something I wish more films of this nature did.

What Could Have Been Improved

One of the biggest complaints for this movie is the lack of great performances. From a physical standpoint everyone does an amazing job, but emotionally there is just nothing there. Reeves is borderline emotionless and the supporting cast around him are just fine. Halle Berry​ does fine as the new addition to the cast but I would have liked to have seen more of her.

As stated above, the movie struggles emotionally. There are definite lulls in the film when they go away from the action and try to add to the wonderful world they created. But there is nothing in those scenes to make you care. ​John Wick 3​ lacks any dramatic tension and nuance even though it tries it’s best to make you care. Those moments just come off as slow and deadening.

Another choice that adds to that is the addition of a new character, ​The Adjudicator. A character that is meant to show more of this world and add to the dread of everything happening around Wick just feels forced and out of place. Part of that is a lackluster performance and part of that is just being poorly written into the script. The majority if scenes involving her just bring the movie to a halt and make you wish they had picked a better route for exploring the higher ups of this world.

John Wick 3 – Final Thoughts

I want to predicate my final thoughts on the film by saying action movies for the most part aren’t my thing. I find them lacking nuance and drama. Replacing it with mindless action that makes it hard for the audience to care. ​John Wick 3​ almost got over that line for me into being a genuinely great film, but just fell short. The action and choreography were amazing and some of the best I’ve seen in film, but the surrounding choices didn’t help. If you are a fan of the franchise or just want to see some bad-ass gun-play/action sequences then you will love this film.

Overall Score 3.5/5


About the Author
Andy is a contributing writer on the Back Lot 605 team. Movies have always been a big part of his life but his biggest influence in his joy of movies comes from growing up around his step brother, who worked at a video store and wanted to be a director. This led to seeing a lot of dramas and John Wayne movies as a kid. Since then some of his favorite movies include Whiplash, Interstellar, Lord of the Rings, and Gladiator. There isn’t a single genre Andy doesn’t like, but he has a soft spot for Disney, romantic comedies, westerns, and dramas.
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