John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum starts immediately where Chapter 2 left off, with John Wick (Keanu Reeves) being declared excommunicado for “conducting business” on Continental grounds. This results in a sizable bounty on his head and assassins from around the world—including the High Table’s handpicked killer, Zero (Mark Dacascos)—attempting to cash in.
Like previous entries in the series, Parabellum isn’t concerned with pesky things like character development. Wick is the same stoic killing machine he was in the first movie—fitting, as all three movies take place within a week—and everyone he comes across makes a reference to his “doing all this over a puppy.”
The film tries to give us glimpses into Wick’s past by introducing new characters like Anjelica Huston’s Director (a trainer of ballerinas and wrestlers who calls Wick by a different name and asks why he has “come home”) and Halle Berry’s Sofia (the manager of Casablanca’s Continental Hotel and a fellow dog lover); but the backstory seems unnecessary and serves only to get him to various locales. The long personal conversations felt forced and drawn out when we could’ve easily accepted a “what’s in it for me?” explanation for why they agreed to help a targeted man.
The meat of the movie is its fight scenes, which were fun and amazingly choreographed. One scene early in the film is a knife fight that bordered on the ridiculous; so much so that I was able to overlook the eye screams because I was laughing so hard. Other action sequences were more of the traditional variety, which were a joy to watch. The climactic fight with Zero was incredible and showed off both Dascacos’ (a former gymnast and championship-winning martial artist) flexibility skills and comedic timing.
Overall, Chapter 3’s fun, fast-paced and knows exactly what it does best and what we’re here for—violence and cute dogs. 3.25/5 Dogs in Bulletproof Vests.