John Wick 3: Parabellum

4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
John Wick 3: Parabellum
Photo: Niko Tavernise

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Keanu Reeves’s aggrieved assassin delivers another wildly fun kick-shoot-fight-repeat spectacular

Review by Joshua Rothkopf

“Prepare for war,” someone who knows Latin will tell you, if you ask about that subtitle, though it’s hardly necessary intel: in these gloriously dumb – but remarkably well-staged – gun-fu flicks, the war is already here, and it lasts for an entire film. Maybe others prefer it when Keanu Reeves talks; for me, he’s more effective when he moves. John Wick’s sombre, suit-clad NYC assassin has become his signature role, stripping down Speed and The Matrix into something John Woo sleek. Mob thugs killed his pet pit bull in the first installment. Those guys are long gone. Though this latest John Wick adventure brings on the usual distractions – Ian McShane’s fastidious boutique-hotel proprietor, Lawrence Fishburne’s booming king of the Bowery underworld, Halle Berry's lady with vicious dogs that leap straight for the crotch – mostly these characters stay out of the way of the main attraction.

Instead, we’re here for the rigorously conceived, blessedly coherent action showdowns, the work of director Chad Stahelski (also Reeves’s longtime stunt double and choreographer). Stahelski is a fight-scene Fosse and Reeves is his Gwen Verdon: Parabellum takes the hall-of-mirrors high style of the second film and pushes it into overdrive. (Those who live in glass-walled galleries shouldn't throw anything at Wick.) The level of bloodletting is so delirious, you’ll ignore how bad it is for you. A closed Manhattan Bridge is the perfect site for a sword duel on speeding motorcycles. Put Wick on a horse and he’s more of a menace than John Wayne on a grouchy day. In one battle, so many knives are flung, a corpse is used as a pincushion. It’s the golden age of… something – please don’t make us explain it.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf


Release details

Release date:
Thursday May 16 2019
130 mins

Cast and crew

Chad Stahelski
Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Ian McShane
Halle Berry

Users say (1)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

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1 person listening

This is a gloriously neon-lit visual masterpiece of guilt pleasure violence that runs for an adrenaline rush cocaine through ones vein. The cinematography and architecture to this film elevates the visual senses. The fights are taken to a higher level of seen to be believed! Keanu Reeves commands the screen with authority. The world-building is more expansive then the last two. Still my all-time favourite action franchises are the two THE RAID films with THE RAID 2 on a level to itself followed by MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT.