Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
We look at 'Fantasia' in a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast!x
review, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, John, Wick:, Chapter, 3, -, Parabellum, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston, Ruby Rose, Mark Dacascos, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tiger Hu Chen, Chad Stahelski film rating




By Ashley Teresa
14th May 2019

In a film market oversaturated with messy, ugly action sequences, the 'John Wick' series has been a much-needed breath of fresh air. Keanu Reeves ('Red Pill, Blue Pill' franchise) stars as the titular Wick, a retired hitman who, after the one-two punch of losing his wife and his pet dog, decides it's time to bulletproof-suit back up and seek revenge. The main appeal of the franchise for many has been the glorious action scenes, where hand-to-hand combat is shot in a less frenetic but much more coherent (and as a result, exhilarating) way. Not only is the third instalment, 'Parabellum', the best of the 'John Wick' series, it is also one of the best action films of the last five years.

'Parabellum' picks up moments after the second instalment, with Wick having lost his alliances in the assassin world but gained a $14 million bounty on his head, and his hit is about to go worldwide. Those with a delicate heart need not apply for 'Parabellum'; the first fifteen minutes alone are packed with some of the most brutal on-screen kills since, well, the last 'John Wick' film. In 'Parabellum', everything (including the body count) is bigger. Guns, knives, horses, axes and books are all utilised as weapons for fights so intense that the audience in my screening were audibly gasping. And that's just the first act.


The 'John Wick' series has an incredible ability to make the dullest locations the grounds for white-knuckled fight scenes. The film's marketing material is bathed in wonderful purples, yellows and greens, and this thankfully extends to the film itself, tweaking the unnatural hue of freeway tunnel lights and making them green enough that the scene feels exciting. The set production is simply fantastic too, and there is an incredible level of detail and luxuriousness to the hitmans' headquarters, even if not all are necessarily the most practical. Sure, it looks cool, but the idea of a big boss hitman's office being located on an open, uncovered balcony feels ever so cheesy. It's obvious that this is a series that does not dabble in realism, but it's small moments like this that might distract some viewers.

The second act is where the film starts to slightly falter. While the first instalment remains the most robust from a narrative standpoint, providing a logical story has never been the strongest tool in the franchise's arsenal. Save for a glorious fight scene with more headshots than a Disney casting room, the film's middle is padded with dialogue scenes. John no longer wants revenge; he seeks redemption. Flanked by Halle Berry (the 'X-Men' franchise), John seeks the leader of The High Table to try and scrap together something of a life. A common criticism of the franchise has been the lack of stakes – after all, there is little to no suspense in watching the world's best hitman fight a bunch of lesser skilled assassins. Reeves is a rare and incredible case of an actor doing a large majority of his own stunts, but at 54, there are moments in 'Parabellum' where Wick takes a little bit longer to get back up, and little bit longer to throw another punch. These lend themselves to the film's main idea that Wick is tired, Wick is old, and Wick just wants to live in peace. For now.

"Pragmatic" is the last word anyone would use to describe the ‘John Wick’ franchise, and it’s surely the last word the franchise would want you to use either.

It should come as no surprise that 'Parabellum' brings down the house with its final fight scenes. Admittedly, I was slightly worried the film would cheat audiences out of a well-done finale with its use of flickering neon lights, but these are soon replaced in favour of a stunning set piece which delivers one of the most exciting fights of the franchise.

For all the film's cheesiness and occasional absence of logic, this may be by design. "Pragmatic" is the last word anyone would use to describe the 'John Wick' franchise, and it's surely the last word the franchise would want you to use either. There is something truly dramatic, truly camp about watching a well-suited man murder a horde of men, as marble floors are pelted with bullets, against an operatic soundtrack. 'John Wick' may not be the smartest franchise, but it's hard to care when you're having so much fun.

RELEASE DATE: 16/05/2019
RUN TIME: 2h 11m
CAST: Keanu Reeves
Halle Berry
Ian McShane
Laurence Fishburne
Anjelica Huston
Ruby Rose
Mark Dacascos
Hiroyuki Sanada
Tiger Hu Chen
DIRECTOR: Chad Stahelski
WRITER: Derek Kolstad
PRODUCER: Basil Iwanyk
Romantic Road - Falling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
TRENDINGROMANTIC ROADFalling in love with India, the Rolls Royce and each other
The Personal History of David Copperfield - Charles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
TRENDINGWIN THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELDCharles Dickens' classic reimagined through a comedic lens
Over the Limit - A real-life psychological thriller
TRENDINGOVER THE LIMITA real-life psychological thriller
Good Girls: Season 2 - It's never been so good to be bad
TRENDINGWIN GOOD GIRLS: SEASON 2It's never been so good to be bad
Agatha Christie’s Marple: Series 1-3 - The classic crime novels come to life
TRENDINGWIN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S MARPLE: SERIES 1-3The classic crime novels come to life
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The Boys Who Said No! - Powering change through non-violence
TRENDINGTHE BOYS WHO SAID NO!Powering change through non-violence
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer - Remembering a true master of film
TRENDINGANDREY TARKOVSKY. A CINEMA PRAYERRemembering a true master of film
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
Dark Place - An unsettling Indigenous horror anthology
TRENDINGDARK PLACEAn unsettling Indigenous horror anthology
Buffy - A 20th anniversary love letter
TRENDINGBUFFYA 20th anniversary love letter
Leaving Allen Street - Following residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
TRENDINGLEAVING ALLEN STREETFollowing residents out of institutional care and into our hearts
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
Beyond The River - An inspirational sporting journey
TRENDINGBEYOND THE RIVERAn inspirational sporting journey
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us