HOLLYWOOD—He’s back, looks like Keanu Reeves has crafted himself a character that is just as memorable if not more fun than the stone-faced Neo from “The Matrix” franchise. I’m referring to John Wick, a former hitman who just wanted to be left alone after his wife died. However, some goons decided to go after his beloved dog Daisy, which set off a stage of events that have led us to the third chapter in the franchise.
The first chapter unleashed to audiences in 2014 was unique, fun and pure camp. The 2017 sequel “John Wick: Chapter 2” was even more fun, but I have to say this third installment was everything I’ve been wanting in an action movie for quite some time. “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is high-octane action from start to finish. For those of you wondering what the word “parabellum” stands for, it means to ‘prepare for war.’ Let’s just say a war is brewing alright and it’s a treat for audiences.
John has found himself in a predicament where a bounty is on his head courtesy of the High Table led by the Adjudicator portrayed by Asia Kate Dillon. Already on the run from assassins, John’s life has gotten more complicated, which forces him to seek the assistance of The Director portrayed by Oscar-winner Anjelica Houston. Yes, I’m talking about that Anjelica and it was nice to see this movie icon back on the big screen people. It’s a role that is small, but it packs a punch in deed.
The plot of the third chapter is a catch me if you can before it’s too late game, where John attempts to out maneuver his enemies before he finds himself trapped in a box unable to escape. It was a treat to see Reeves reunite with Laurence Fishburne, who portrays the Bowery King. Fishburne’s character was teased in the second installment, but he has a meatier role here. On top of that, we get the return of Oscar-winner Halle Berry, who portrays Sofia, an assassin and friend of John’s who helps him on his mission to have that bounty of $14 million pulled from his head.
Berry is ferocious as a woman who is not only sexy, but holds her own with Reeves when it comes to kicking butt. She’s not just portraying a gorgeous face in this movie. The lovely thing about this sequel is that everyone seems to have an ulterior angle and the audience knows to a degree who they can trust and who they can’t trust. I thought the villainy in the previous chapter was underwhelming, but “Parabellum” makes up for that with Mark Dacascos, Dillon, Jerome Flynn and Ian McShane all depicting characters who don’t have John’s best interest in play.
The fight sequences are some of the best I’ve seen in 2019 hands down; there is no question about that. And if you’re looking for a movie to deliver butt-kicking, gun-toting, chase scenes galore, explosions and so much more “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” delivers on all fronts. Could you make the argument that things are stretched a bit thin in terms of believability? Of course, but you can make the same argument for plenty of the chaos in the “Bourne” franchise starring Matt Damon.
Based on the box-office performance of “Parabellum,” and the way the movie ends, a fourth installment of the franchise has already received the greenlight. So mark your calendars for John Wick and company to return to your screens in 2021, cause this is the franchise that seems to know directly who its audience is and exactly what it audience wants and I love when a movie gives us exactly what we want and nothing less.