Ewan Gleadow

Review: John Wick 3 – Parabellum

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Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate

Entering into the third leg of any trilogy is a daunting task, and few have ever pulled it off. Series’ have often ran out of steam by this point, and look to cash out on a high and mighty spectacle of callbacks to what made the first two so good. While John Wick 3: Parabellum is no stranger to this, it’s odd then that John Wick has more stories to tell, characters to kill and bones to break. 

Story is often sidelined for intense action pieces, many of which are bold, unique and feature enough set pieces to make even the most hardened action fan grimace at the brutality on display. Wick against the world is very much the plot of this one, and somehow returning director Chad Stahelski makes this work.  

My personal endearment for the characters in the John Wick franchise and my interest in seeing them fight through to the bitter end has elevated my opinion on John Wick 3: Parabellum. More than just a mere action-packed spectacle, the third instalment clasps hands with pure adrenalin junkie style action; with lengthy fight scenes and an incredible focus once more on the cinematography and direction. Stylish, graceful and experimental. 

Parabellum’s experiments are not just contained to its glorious choreography, but extend further into new characters. Halle Berry’s performance as Sofia provides a brief interlude of camaraderie for Wick, camaraderie seems to be the main focus to the feature. Pairing Wick with a multitude of different characters sounds like a triumphant failure, but there’s a certain fluidity and freshness to seeing Wick rely on his former allies, rather than the one-man powerhouse he used to be. 

Returning faces are keen to commit to their excellent performances also, with the personal highlight for me being Lance Reddick’s third and most creative performance as the illusive and mysterious Charon. Paired with Ian McShane’s dapper performance as Winston, the two provide ample allies to Wick. As does returning face Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, and not so much Anjelica Huston as The Director. All satisfying performances on the whole. 

Wick’s leading role is impressive as ever, proving for a third time that he’s a capable action star. Pairing that with his own stunts, engaging choreography and engrossing performance is a solid enough foundation for some fine exploration of the Wick character.  

For returning fans you’ll be right at home for another explosive powerhouse that explores the depth of the John Wick character, Reeves’ performance is as impactful as ever and he’s aided greatly by a prominent supporting cast filled to the brim with A-listers. A timeless modern masterpiece that has solidified the action genre as alive as ever.