What’s a Parabellum? Who cares, it’s John Wick- John Wick Chapter 3 Review


Brandon Beckwith, Editor-In-Chief

Action movies always gets a bad rap. They don’t hold well against “cinematic masterpieces” mostly because they don’t play by the same rules. Action movies must be graded accordingly. If you’re on the edge of your seat wanting to see Shia LaBeouf go to college or argue with his parents, you’re doing it wrong. Giant computer-generated vehicular robots punching each other in the face is the name of the game! Judge an action movie by its action. And by that logic, John Wick is amongst the greatest action franchises today.

As a series, John Wick challenges the standards of action movies at every corner. Constantly using cliches and tropes to its advantage. After a scrappy five-minute fight scene, John Wick is not afraid to wink at the camera with a cheesy one-liner. John Wick is the epitome of the action genre: A Man Goes on Murderous Rampage After Mafia Killed His Puppy. It’s a classic vengeance tale with the ridiculous meter dialed all the way up. By the third installment, they just start crazytown and go deeper into crazytown. If you want John Wick to stop and explain everything that’s going on, you’re going to be left in the dust. Just look at the title, “Parabellum,” it means a type of semi-automatic gun. That’s it. There’s no hidden meaning; it just sounds really cool. It lives to ridicule itself and the action movie genre altogether. John Wick as a series is self-aware, and that’s the beauty of it.

Anyone who’s seen the previous two chapters will know that the fights are awesome, and they are scrappy. Barely choreographed. Two stuntmen going at it. While yes, it does look a little unorganized, John Wick, by far, has the most authentic fight scenes in any movie. Unlike most movies of its ilk, John Wick turns traditional fight scenes and shootouts into a performance. If you’re one to get excited when hearing Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan do their own stunts, you will thoroughly enjoy the action in this film. Keanu Reeves is no slouch in the arena of cinematic fisticuffs.

I’ll get this out of the way: the worst part of the film is the writing. Everyone knows Keanu Reeves is drier than a low-sodium Saltine tumbling through the Gobi Desert. Though Reeves’ dialogue can be humorous, it is thankfully kept to a minimum. The plot is almost nonexistent, it just serves as a series of devices to move John Wick to the next fight, which is totally fine! That’s just me speaking objectively. The Keanu Reeves fanboy within me loves every moment.

The lighting and cinematography are genuinely good, and the overall production of it is pretty solid. Again, the action is great. It should be the reason to see the movie, and it holds up. The fight scenes are unique in that special “John Wick” way. Some fights were maybe a bit too long for their own good, but they were usually interrupted with sort of comic relief before it got too exhausting.

The pacing is a little wonky throughout the movie. There’s a lot of punching and stabbing, then a bit of espionage, followed by more shooting. Then they take a break for forty-five minutes so they can talk about their feelings, and it’s back to shooting and slightly more stabbing. Though I guess I’m not opposed to more of John Wick doing his thing, it can get a little exhausting.

Now for the real question: Is the third John Wick better than the first two? Short answer: eh, probably not. But don’t let that glowing review stop you. I think that’s the wrong question to ask. It’s like asking which layer of cake did you enjoy more? It’s just a cake, I want to eat it all! I can hardly decide between the first two John Wicks because they’re kind of a blur of awesome Keanu Reeves action. I’d say it’s on par with the other two, maybe a bit lower. But it depends what you want out of these movies. The third is definitely the most John Wickiest out of all of them, but I personally love the second one because of its subtlety (and lack thereof). Look, I shouldn’t have to explain or justify John Wick. If you bought a ticket to the third film, after already seeing the first two installments, you know what you’re getting into. It’s not a movie for everyone. If you’re one to pull out Schindler’s List on date night, this may not be for you. But at the end of the day, it’s more John Wick, and that’s all that matters.