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DrNgor

John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019)

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John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019)

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Mark Dacascos, Halle Berry, Angelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick
Director: Chad Stahelski
Action Director: Jonathan Eusebio

When we last saw John Wick, he had been excommunicated from the Continental Hotel for killing a man on its premises, and had a 14-million-dollar bounty placed on his head for killing a member of the High Table. However, Windsor (Ian McShane), for reasons that aren't quite clear, gave John an hour head start instead of killing him back at the hotel, or at the moment of his excommunication (as we saw with the female assassin in the first film). And considering that in this universe, about half of the population of New York City is comprised of assassins, that didn't bode well for John Wick's immediate future.

As this film opens, the minutes are quickly ticking down to his official excommunication. He heads to a public library where he picks up a marker, some coin and a crucifix, beating a would-be cheater to death with a book on Russian folklore while he's at it. He heads to Chinatown where an assassin's doctor patches him up, although the man stops halfway through the procedure once the clock strikes six. John is immediately on his own. He's quickly beset by a bunch of Yakuza, including Ron Yuan and Tiger Chen, but kills them in a fight that reminds one of a bullet ballet sequence, but with knives.

From this point out, John begins meeting with one old contact after another, collecting on old debts and promises. As he moves from one important entity to the next, more important entity, he finds himself on the road to possible redemption. However, while all that's going on, the High Table sends an Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), a sort of Assassin's lawyer/judge to investigate both why John Wick is not dead and who exactly might have helped him to carry out the hit in the last film. This puts Windsor, the Bowery (Laurence Fishburne) and Belarussian mafia under fire. And to enforce her sentences, the Adjudicator hires the surfaces of Chairman Koga (Mark Dacascos) and his school of highly-trained ninja (including Yayan "Mad Dog" Ruhian) to dish out death to anyone who doesn't stand down. (For the record, Dacascos' character's name isn't Koga, but when we meet him, he's pursuing his day job of working as a Japanese sushi chef, so I had to make the reference).

As an action movie, this film just rocks. There several large-scale action sequences, deftly balancing gunplay, vehicle chases, hand-to-hand combat, and melee weapons, too. While the John Woo-inspired gunplay and jiu-jitsu locks and takedowns might get old by the third movie, action director Jonathan Eusebio (The Bourne films; the Conan remake; The Wolverine; The Avengers; Doctor Strange; the Michael Bay Ninja Turtle films; etc.) is quick to give each set piece its own identity. The first fight is a brutal hand-to-hand duel with a tall Eurotrash killer, whom Wick fights off with a thick hardcover book. That may not *sound* exciting, but the execution had my brother-in-law and I laughing with sadistic glee as Wick gives him what for. The next fight involves a bunch of Triads armed with knives, guns and hatchets, and once again is both exciting and darkly funny as each guy gets about six knives in his body before Wick finishes him off. Meanwhile, Dacascos and his men are hacking dozens of people to death with speed and finesse.

Halle Berry, who's second billed, is only in the film for the second act. She grudgingly helps Wick despite the fact that the High Table may very well target her later. Her assistance comes with a price, and before long, we have this major gunfight that rivals the finale of Hard Boiled, but with a dash of "Shadow Dancer" for the Sega Genesis thrown in for good measure. It's absolutely insane. Berry trained extensively in martial arts in preparation for her role in this film, and the result paid off. She does leg scissors and flying jiu-jitsu takedowns as good as Ronda Rousey did in The Expendables 3

And then you get some interesting plot twists--which tell us a bit more about the world of assassins--followed by an absolutely insane finale. If anyone ever wondered whether or not Charon was a trained hitman himself, this movie answers that question quite clearly. Remember games like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time", where some of the common enemies would have tonfa or some blocking mechanism, so hitting them with your regular attack was generally ineffective? The finale is like that, but with guns. It's unbelievable. And that's before we get separate (and long) fights between Keanu Reeves and both Yayan Ruhian and Mark Dacascos. Despite being 55, Dacascos still performs some nifty kicks--most of his fighting is with a sword, though--and most fans will be glad to see him with a roll that's more than an extended cameo in a major Hollywood theatrical release. 

So, the word "Parabellum" means "Prepare for War," as in "If you want peace, you must prepare for war." Well, the way the film ends, this film truly was the *preparation* for war. if JOHN WICK 4 is made, as is hinted at, then we'll be in for something truly epic.

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Great to hear! I just cannot believe a film exists that contains fight scenes with both Mark Dacascos and Yayan Ruhian, it's the sort of fantasy casting we'd have discussed years ago and laughed because surely Hollywood would never give us a film like that. But thankfully here we are. Having to wait until next week to see it but that;s good in a way because the anticipation can build and build!

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Great review @DrNgor, how do you did you rate Keanu Reeve's as an action star before this franchise?. I own the first two movies, and really enjoyed them. You have sold me on the third outing too. Somtimes a film can be so hyped by fans/critics, that they can never live upto your expectations. My gut feeling, tellsme this wont be the case with JW 3.

Also while I'm asking questions, here's another slightly off topic one. Would you consider Wild Card with Jason Statham to be an Action or Martial Arts film?. Remember you reviewing this title, and really enjoyed watching this one over the weekend. Forme it features some of the best fight scnes ever put on film. The fact there's not a constant slew of them, means you don't get burned out by it all.

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12 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

 

Great review @DrNgor, how do you did you rate Keanu Reeve's as an action star before this franchise?. I own the first two movies, and really enjoyed them. You have sold me on the third outing too. Somtimes a film can be so hyped by fans/critics, that they can never live upto your expectations. My gut feeling, tellsme this wont be the case with JW 3.

Also while I'm asking questions, here's another slightly off topic one. Would you consider Wild Card with Jason Statham to be an Action or Martial Arts film?. Remember you reviewing this title, and really enjoyed watching this one over the weekend. Forme it features some of the best fight scnes ever put on film. The fact there's not a constant slew of them, means you don't get burned out by it all.

I remember really enjoying Wild Card for it's story, actually forgetting for a moment that it was 'A Jason Statham film' and all that entails, so that when the fights did start up, it was story driven rather than being there for the sake of it, so yes I agree, great film, certainly one of the best Statham has done.

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19 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

Great review @DrNgor, how do you did you rate Keanu Reeve's as an action star before this franchise?

He did Speed, which was an important Hollywood action blockbuster. The influence of The Matrix on Hollywood action is also unmistakable, and the first sequel has some of the best martial arts sequences in the history of Mainstream Hollywood, as far as I'm concerned. He directed Man of Tai Chi, which is a really good MA film. And now he has this trilogy (soon-to-be quadrilogy), which feels like a synthesis of the best things he's done over the duration of his career.

 

19 hours ago, DragonClaws said:

Would you consider Wild Card with Jason Statham to be an Action or Martial Arts film?

 Never saw it, to be honest.

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18 minutes ago, DrNgor said:

Never saw it, to be honest.

 

One to put on your to watch list, not a fight fest like Safe or Parker etc. Yet you need to see it, if your into action cinema/fight choreography.

 

19 minutes ago, DrNgor said:

He did Speed, which was an important Hollywood action blockbuster. The influence of The Matrix on Hollywood action is also unmistakable, and the first sequel has some of the best martial arts sequences in the history of Mainstream Hollywood, as far as I'm concerned. He directed Man of Tai Chi, which is a really good MA film. And now he has this trilogy (soon-to-be quadrilogy), which feels like a synthesis of the best things he's done over the duration of his career.

 

No doubt, then there's Point Break with Patrick Swayze, another action cinema classic.

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On ‎5‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 11:58 PM, DrNgor said:

John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019)

As an action movie, this film just rocks.

From the beginning to end! Can't wait for # 4.

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