It’s not the best John Wick film, but Parabellum is still a bloody good time


Keanu Reeves, writer Derek Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski return for the third installment in the neo-noir action thriller series, with Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston joining the cast alongside two very good doggos. Though it’s not the best in the series, Daniel Rutledge says there’s still plenty to eat up in this third film.

The best R-rated American action movie franchise of recent years has delivered the goods again. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is not the best of the series so far, but it’s still miles ahead of pretty much anything else. While there may be less headshots in this third outing, the inventiveness has been notched up and it’s a bloody good time.

The mythology of the Continental Hotel and High Table is further expanded, with more decorative coins, crucifixes and other meaningful trinkets getting handed out. The humour in just how chivalrous the murder industry players are is growing a little thin, but if you buy into the assassin universe of these movies you’ll dig its expansion here.

Of course, the comic book-esque world-building of the John Wick movies is just part of their appeal. They’re primarily beloved for the virtuoso action direction and Parabellum does not disappoint on this front—but it also doesn’t raise the bar quite enough.

Rest assured, there’s some blade-based combat early on that has a very, very good chance of being the greatest fight scene of 2019. Things get dazzling and complicated as John Wick joins forces with Halle Berry and two amazing attack dogs to take out a large bunch of baddies. When those canines get to work, it’s seriously thrilling, and they come after we’ve already enjoyed the shit out of seeing John Wick triggering horses to kick some foes to death.

Later on, however, the third act fights aren’t quite as climactic as they should be. The first two films worked themselves up into orgiastic frenzies of gun-fu, whereas Parabellum goes more for big showdowns of fists and swords, along with a fun gun battle against a very heavily armoured squad. These are great, but not the next-level brilliance the film should’ve ended on.

Like Chapter 2 did a couple of years back, Parabellum ends abruptly with a tease for the next movie. Somehow that’s not frustrating as it would be in other properties—indeed, I’m already very excited for how they top everything in Chapter 4.