Me seeing the third chapter in what is essentially the rebirth of Keanu Reeves as an action hero couldn’t have happened at a better time. I was thinking about all those periods of genre domination in cinema and which one had the opportune time to make a comeback, then I thought about the golden age of martial arts films and how welcomed they would be for a return to audiences now. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum reminds me of those films because of the care put into its action and fight sequences which never ceases to amaze.
For a start, I’m not too familiar with the John Wick series as I should be, I had heard that this series supposedly rebooted Keanu Reeves as an action hero, so that’s what I wanted to see. My goodness was I in for a surprise, the action sequence in John Wick 3 are some of the most well-choreographed I’ve seen in an action film for a long time. Because Keanu Reeves is willing to get his hands dirty in the stunt department, the intensity is taken to a level that other action couldn’t take it. Where films like Mission: Impossible are about the scale, John Wick is about the brutality and how far they are willing to take it to leave audiences on the edge of their seats.
Keanu Reeves is a man of few words in John Wick 3 but seeing how he lets his fists do the talking this doesn’t matter as much. But what does matter is the appreciation you have to give the man for giving it his all in a very physical performance.
This film may even have the best action scenes that involve animals. Once again, dogs come into this film in the form of two German Shepard’s owned by Sofia (Halle Berry), who might I add kicks just as much ass as Keanu Reeves. Her action scenes are where the true beauty of choreography and stunts are revealed because nothing goes missed. In some action films, the fights are either ruined by having the action too close or cutting too frequently. John Wick 3 suffers from none of these sins making its scenes feel like poetry in motion. Also, most of the action is shot very wide, treating the audience to a bigger piece of the action. The use of space in John Wick is fantastic, it makes the locations feel like a big toy box for the actors to play with.
I never expected this film to reflect such vibrancy. I expect that the John Wick series has looked to films like The Raid series (maybe even the Bond series) because I never thought we would travel to as many locations as we do in this film. You have scenes where John Wick is walking through a stunning desert
One of the biggest let-downs that can occur for people interested in John Wick 3 is walking into the cinema expecting some kind of logical narrative because there is none. Trying to follow the plot of John Wick 3 is a pointless endeavor, especially if like me you’re not familiar with what happened at the end of John Wick 2. There are acts that lead to nothing and some that don’t even matter in the long run, but as I’ve emphasized more than enough the action is more than enough to satisfy.
Even so, there is a fine line between sensible and senseless action. Personally, I believe the action is easy to digest, but looking through judgemental eyes, I thought to myself I would much rather be playing John Wick 3 as a video game rather than watching it as a film. When I look at the use of knives, guns, samurai swords, horses, motorbikes, etc. along with the premise of every assassin in New York is out to get John Wick, doesn’t that sound like something you’d want to play?
I often find the very best action films, the most elite have sequences where each one feels like the conclusion to a standard action film. Casino Royale, Mission Impossible: Fallout if you want a more recent example all include breath-taking action and stunts. John Wick 3 could fall into this category except there is one action scene that takes place in a complete glass building with glass windows, glass cabinets, glass everything lit up by yet backlight of New York’s neon lighting that felt a little overdone, though I can’t deny it has been elaborated on. While executed perfectly, I am starting to see this type of scenario becoming more common in films nowadays to the point where it’s almost a cliché.
I think it’s fair to say that John Wick 3 has satisfied my craving for well-choreographed call-back to the martial arts genre with a hint of modern-day action, though I’d still debate of whether it wants to be a reinvention of the genre. I think this film falls under the category of ideal escapism flicks, the right frame of mind to see John Wick 3 is to soak in the physicality of the film, appreciate the effort the filmmakers have put into every action sequence and try not to think about it too hard. Thinking too hard will block any sort of artistry in the scenes from reaching your senses. The best lesson you can learn from John Wick is don’t mess with dog owners, they might just be elite assassins.
Final Result: 7/10 – Good
Have you seen John Wick? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below
Next Time: Aladdin