Back in 2014, we were introduced to John, an everyday guy, who had just lost his wife, Lauren. The guy lost the love of his life to a terminal illness and had to carry on without her. He was alone in life. Until he received a parting gift from Lauren — a cute little beagle which John took an instant liking to. He could now grieve unalone with his faithful pup, Daisy.
That is, until a few Russian guys who wanted to buy John’s car broke into his home, killed his dog, and stole his prized Mustang. Little did they know that they messed with the wrong guy. The very mention of his name struck fear into the hearts of the Russian mobster, when he found out the owner of the car his son stole. From that moment, the tide turned. I realized this wasn’t your usual type of film.
In the first John Wick, the titular character killed 86 men. All for a puppy and a car. Don’t get me wrong, I’d do the same if someone killed my dog. But the point is, it was freaking awesome. The choreography of the stunts done was absolutely brilliant, and the character of John Wick reached the same iconic status as that of John McClane, James Bond, Indiana Jones or Han Solo.
John Wick 2 brought even more action, with John Wick, seemingly unstoppable, shooting everything in sight, with no one able to stop the legendary hitman. Headshot after headshot, John strikes down his foes in spectacular fashion.
John Wick Chapter 3 is no less brilliant. The choreography is more stunning than ever, the bullets flying freely. The word ‘parabellum’ is Latin for ‘prepare for war’. And that’s exactly what John does. John Wick fulfills his promise made at the end of the second film, when he was declared excommunicado from the High Table, a sort of underground government for the criminal underworld, which has its own set of rules, as well as its own currency.
Now every hitman on the planet is gunning (literally) for John, and he’s vowed to kill everyone who dares to step in his path. Still perfectly embodied by Keanu Reeves, John Wick, a man of few words, requires almost none, when the number of foes are higher than ever. But if you’re planning to shoot The Boogeyman, you’d better not miss. Every person he meets is a possible killer. Be it a lady walking her dog, a hot dog vendor or a hobo.
The story seems over-the-top at times, but the action is way too fun, so that can be excused. Directed by Chad Stahelski (who was Keanu Reeves’ stuntman for The Matrix), the action is almost cartoonish, the visuals are beautiful, and the body count keeps on rising. As John travels around the world, asking old friends for help, the movie racks up a few guest stars, like Director, played by Anjelica Huston a member of the Ruska Roma, a syndicate of ballerina assassins, Halle Berry as Sofia, an old friend of John, with a couple of well-trained dogs.
As the movie goes on, the world of John Wick keeps on growing. We found about the High Table and its members, like the Mafia, the Camorra, Yakuza and so on. The third film gives us a bigger look on the almost graphic novel-like-world of the criminal underworld.
The story isn’t what captivates us so much though. The John Wick franchise belongs to the action genre. And John Wick: Parabellum brings it in spades. Under former stuntman Chad Stahelski’s expert direction, the action sequences become more beautiful and more creative than the previous movies. From samurai dogs to horseback chases, this movie pulls out all the stops and more, and turns the franchise into Keanu Reeves’ most successful and critically acclaimed yet.
None of this could be possible without Reeves, that has to be said. All the stunts you see in all three movies did not require the use of a stuntman. For Keanu Reeves to turn into John Wick, he trained in multiple fighting techniques, learned to shoot with the ferocity and accuracy we see in the movies, and his portrayal of the character — remorselessly lethal he gives the most dangerous of criminals, nightmares. John Wick has become the Chuck Norris of this generation.
The John Wick franchise has, undoubtedly, become one of the greatest action franchises of Hollywood, standing toe-to-toe with James Bond, Die Hard, Terminator and the like. The sight of John Wick shooting headshot after headshot gives an odd feeling of satisfaction, I must admit.
We now know that this won’t be the end of the franchise. John Wick will be back, so beware of the Boogeyman. John Wick: Chapter 3 has given us the franchise’s most over-the-top, entertaining movie yet. Let’s hope that changes with future projects.