John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Review

The hunt of the Baba Yaga begins!

The Baba Yaga is back in the continuation of 2017’s second chapter with Parabellum. If you want to understand this movie, you must have watched the previous ones, though.

It is worth noting that we may discuss some spoilers below, so if you don’t want spoilers, you may want to skip the story segment of the review.

Recap

When we first met John, he was retired. John Wick was known in the shadows as the “Baba Yaga” which is the equivalent of the Boogeyman in some cultures. He earned that nickname due to his line of work. He is an assassin, a hitman.

The whole story (which they make fun of throughout the saga) revolves around the death of John’s wife and the fact that she left him a puppy. Why? Because some thugs killed this dog. This simple act brought the Baba Yaga back to the business as he went on a killing spree to avenge his puppy.

For the second movie, Abran Tarasov is hunting John. The reason is simple: John killed his brother Viggo and his nephew Iosef in the first movie. Then, he also has to pay an old debt, but he refuses to do so, which starts a while different story.

Story

We start the third chapter right at the end of the second one. For The Order, John Wick broke a rule: he killed someone in a safe haven. This means that he has been excommunicado. However, he has less than an hour before this takes place. As soon as the clock hits 6, there is an open bounty on John Wick’s life. Whoever kills him will get 14 million dollars.

Guess what? The Baba Yaga now has to fight for his life. He will, indeed, go through anyone who stands in his way.

As it is impossible to be safe in his city, John goes to cash a favor. He wants to seek for whoever is above The Order. Of course, it isn’t as simple, but he gets there.

He meets an old friend who provided him amnesty allowing for him to be safe. Obviously, with John being who he is, even when he is looking to talk, there’s the need to kill way too many people in the process.

Spoilers

The reason for John to go the the desert is to look for The Elder. That who is above The Order. When he finally meets the Elder, he vows to be of use for the Order again. There’s only one catch: he has to kill Winston.

Now is when the most action begins. John goes back to his city and gets to the Continental. Not before facing his main enemy this time.

The Adjudicator

While John Wick is on a trip, we get to meet The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon). She comes from The Order and is in charge of doing some field research about everything that happened around John Wick. Not only this, but to make those who helped him on any way pay.

She sends some partners to kill everyone, and goes to talk with the Bowery King and Winston. She gives both of them 7 days to get ready and leave their positions and be replaced.

Spoilers

When the 7 days expired, she goes back to the Bowery King and dictates his punishment: 7 cuts. One for each bullet he gave John. He receives his punishment and falls to the ground.

Final Battle

John returns to the city and is immediately involved in some running, shooting and killing. Not to mention, he rides a horse!

He gets to the Continental and here is where the final battle begins.

Spoilers

John gets to Winston and they have an interesting word exchange. John has to kill him, and Winston knows it. He asks John whether he wants to live as a hitman the rest of his days, or die a legend. Winston explains that he prefers to die by the hands of a friend than those of an enemy.

The Adjudicator arrives and asks if Winston will resign his position, he says he won’t. She asks if John will kill Winston. John decides he won’t do it either. At this point, The Adjudicator makes a call and removes all the privileges of the Continental, turning it into a common hotel now. The best of The Order’s forces are on their way to destroy everything and kill both, Winston and John Wick.

Winston hides in the fortified armory while John and Charon go out to fight The Order.

It is like the pre-boss fight on a video game. They are covered in something better than Kevlar and bullets do nothing. They figure out using some special shotguns with specific bullets will do it. John kills every single one of them.

Here’s where one of my main concerns come: these soldiers are killing machines. They see absolutely anyone and it becomes an insta-kill. However, when they see John Wick, they stop being that lethal. Not because John goes all Neo on them, but I’ve absolutely no idea why. Did they get nervous on sight of the Baba Yaga?

There’s one point in which John notices he is using his last batch of bullets. He counts them. Loads the shotgun. It only requires one shot to kill these soldiers. He knows he will be facing at least 4 soldiers. He shots one of them in the chest. Dude is dead. John shoots him 4 more times while he was falling from the second floor to the first one. Why? I have absolutely no clue. He runs out of bullets and have to use his handgun against the other 2 or 3 soldiers. If he hadn’t done such a stupid thing, those last soldiers would’ve died with one shot each.

After this happens, he goes against two mini-bosses (I’ll keep using video games analogies, where do you think you are?!). Fight is really good, and there’s massive respect from them towards John.

After breaking way too many glasses, John defeats them and goes for their boss. Final fight is upon us.

We see swords, punches, kicks, jiu-jitsu locks. Overall, amazing fight. Now, John goes to the rooftop, where Winston is discussing with The Adjudicator. He is reinstated and the Continental goes back in business. But something needs to be done about John, so Winston shoots him. We notice how the bullets didn’t hurt John as his clothes were bullet-proof, but he falls from the building.

The Adjudicator decides to check on John’s dead body before entering her car. She sees the body is gone and tells Winston. This may be bad for business.

The Aftermath

Spoilers

We see how one of the homeless-looking guys is taking John’s body. He brings him in front of the Bowery King who is surprisingly alive!

He tells John he is pissed, and asks if John’s pissed too. They’ll be coming for The Order and bringing it down.

Characters

As discussed at the beginning of this review, you must’ve watched the previous films to understand this one. We see all the characters from previous films, and get to know about The Adjudicator, The Elder and Zero (Mark Dacascos).

The AdjudicatorThe ElderZero

She comes straight from The Order. Is in charge of analyzing everything when someone breaks a rule and take actions to mitigate the consequences. She’s cold, straight to the point. Arrogant.

We get to meet the Elder. He is the only one above The Order, to the point where he can waive the restrictions The Order has against John Wick. He is a myth, personified. Proper, polite, confident. The kind of person who can stop an entire room full of people when he enters.

He is hired by The Order to kill everyone who helped John Wick in the past and take him out as well. Funny part about this character is that he is a huge fan of John Wick. He can’t hide his fanboy conversation with John. This also means we see fights embedded in a lot of respect for the opponent.

Cinematography

Here’s where I have issues with John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. We’re used to raw action with a lot of blood in this saga. Previous movies were amazing at that. However, for Parabellum they decided to rely a little too much on CGI. Don’t get me wrong, CGI can be amazing if applied correctly; however, that’s not the case this time.

Remember the times when CGI was just adding an animation to the clip and forgetting shadows even existed at the time? When you could easily tell that was fake? It isn’t to that extreme, but you can easily spot CGI animations in Parabellum. You have an action sequence, great combat, great moves from everyone, but at the end, wild CGI attacks!

It isn’t every single time that you can say “meh, that looked awful” after it happens; sometimes it is really good and believable. That is my issue: inconsistency. You’ll see two bikers crash against each other and fall, sparks on the ground, bodies falling to the ground. It looks amazing! Right after that, another biker crashes against a car and his body becomes digital plasticine.

Soundtrack

During the entire movie, you know there is some music in the background. It stops to lets us enjoy fights. We hear shooting, bones breaking, coughing from dying enemies. If there’s one thing they did perfectly in Parabellum it is the soundtrack and sound effects.

Action

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum might be one of the most action-packed movies you’ll watch. There are fights, shootings and kills throughout the entire film. There are some “peaceful” scenes, but even if there’s no physical action, it happens within the dialogue. You’ll be entertained throughout the entire stay at the movies.

Final Verdict

The third entry in the John Wick saga isn’t disappointing. It has its ups and downs, but fans who don’t have issues with some raw content and a lot of blood (not Kill Bill level, though!) will definitely enjoy the movie and will be hooked for the next entry in the saga, which may as well be its last.

Post-Review

There is one big question that didn’t get answered: What happened to that horse John was riding? We need to know about that horse!

Good

  • Excellent follow-up to the story
  • Amazing action
  • Ninjas!
  • Comedy within the action scenes
  • Great setup for the next film

Bad

  • Inconsistent CGI
  • Bad script decisions
8.4

Great

Story - 8.5
Characters - 8
Cinematography - 7
CGI - 5
Soundtrack - 10
Action - 10
Setup for a next installment - 10
Geek, writer, musician. John is a horror addict, DC Comics fan (Marvel too, though) and a single-player games enthusiast. You can normally find him watching horror movies or playing games on PC, unless he is writing, in which case, you won't see him around.
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