John Wick 3: "Keanu Reeves delivers the best action film since Mission Impossible Fallout."

Vishal Chauhan, 28/05/2019
John Wick 3: "Keanu Reeves delivers the best action film since Mission Impossible Fallout."

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Director - Chad Stahelski
Cast - Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Lawrence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Angelica Huston
Rating - 4.5/5

At an opportune moment in John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum, a deadly assassin confesses what an honour it is to fight Keanu Reeves’ John Wick before getting into combat mode again. Wick, supposedly the deadliest executioner, has come a long way since we saw him walk out of retirement in 2014. It was a time when his name was uttered in whispers, sometimes referred to as Baba Yaga, the enigmatic supernatural being from Russian folklore.

Now in his third outing, he has come out in full view for all to see and hunt, with conscious hat tips to fandom. In other words, the phantom menace has gone mainstream

The third chapter begins moments after John Wick: Chapter 2. Our man is on the run after breaking the sacred rule by killing a man on the sanctuary of the Continental in New York City. Under the pouring rain, he has his pitbull for company, and an hour’s grace before the $14-million bounty on his head becomes a shared sport for the community of assassins.

Image result for john wick 3

Keanu Reeves as John Wick. (Photo courtesy: Pinterest)

While running, he meets a man in an alley next to a dumpster, who tells him gleefully, “Tick tock, Mr. Wick.” Like Wick, the audience knows that time is running out.

This race against time begins the third installment with a surreal sense of urgency, as Wick runs in a neon-drenched city, faces death every second through some action set-pieces that have a rather enterprising lucidity to them.

Playing to its core strengths, the opening sequences use surprising objects for disseminating deaths to Wick’s opponents.

John Wick 3 nearly outshines the first two films in the first act itself because Wick is unarmed against a sea of villains.

In a public library, he uses a fat book to first defend, and then attack an imposing combatant (played by NBA player Boban Marjanovic). In a stable, a horse gets used tactfully to kill, and when he rides the horse against men on bikes, he evokes the past of war heroes who, while maneuvering a horse, could lead one to win. But the most cheerfully anarchic sequence arrives when he faces a group of fighters in a hand to hand to skirmish in a weapon factory. The choreography of the scene is fluid, like a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers number, taking in all details of physical grace.

A still from <i>John Wick 3</i>.

A still from John Wick 3. (Photo courtesy: Pinterest)

Parabellum is Latin for "prepare for war". The film goes on to cite the ancient phrase “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, meaning "If you want peace, prepare for war." The script (Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins and Marc Abrams) expands on the mythology by hinting at Wick’s past, and soon taking him to the dingy lanes of Casablanca to meet an old friend. The criminal universe aided by systematic bureaucracy and code of conduct known as the High Table, reaches ludicrous heights when we meet The Elder ― someone who can reverse Wick’s ‘incommunicado’ (persona non grata with a bounty on the head) status.

This fictional universe of social ranking and sub-culture of killers brings new exciting players to the fore. Halle Berry turns up as Sofia who is a gritty fighter alongside her canines who have knack for attacking a special area and Anjelica Huston appears as the Director who trains ballerina-assassins and tells Wick in Schopenhauer-esque tone, “Life is suffering.”

Asia Kate Dillon, the non-binary actor as the Adjudicator deploys ruthless rules of the High Table, while Mark Dacascos delivers a load of fatal thrills as a sushi chef who doubles up as a samurai assassin, and oh yes, a John Wick fanboy. The regulars - Ian McShane as Winston, Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, and Lance Reddick as the concierge Charon – only deepen the lore with swift familiarity.