Saturday, July 11, 2020

John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum

Directed by Chad Stahelski and screenplay by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams from a story by Kolstad, John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum is the third film in the John Wick series that has the titular character going on the run as a $14 million bounty is placed on his head to due to events that he created. The film explores a man who was once considered the finest assassin as he is now hunted over an incident that pushed him to the edge as Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the titular character. Also starring Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Marc Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, and Halle Berry as Sofia. John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum is a rapturous yet exhilarating film from Chad Stahelski.

After breaking a taboo at the Continental Hotel in New York City and with a $14 million bounty on his head that increases, the film revolves around the infamous assassin who goes on the run as he also tries to find help with many reluctant to do so in fear that they would be destroyed by the High Chair. It’s a film with a simple premise as it plays into a man being hunted by the people he used to work for as he tries to find some form of redemption for his actions although it’s not an easy thing to do to win over the elders of the High Chair. The film’s screenplay doesn’t have much of a plot as it’s more about the sins of John Wick and how he survives being hunted as he also uses a few sacred objects to get help and reach those in the High Chair. Yet, even those who had helped him in the past like Continental Hotel manager Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) are both in trouble with the High Chair who send the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) to handle the situation as the director of the Ruska Roma (Anjelica Huston) is forced to take punishment in order to maintain her loyalty to the High Chair. Another ally of Wick who reluctantly helps him is Morocco’s Continental Hotel manager Sofia as a way to repay a favor that he did for her years ago.

Chad Stahelski’s direction is stylish as it picks up just a few hours after the events of the previous film where Wick and his dog both are on the run during a rainy night in New York City as it establishes the limited amount of time Wick has where he would be officially declared excommunicated. Shot on location in New York City and parts of Morocco, the film does play into a man on the run as he is trying to survive and figure out his next move. Stahelski’s usage of the wide and medium shots don’t just establish some of the locations that Wick is in but also this underworld that involves the Continental and the High Chair where Wick used to be a part of as it had its own set of rules. Stahelski also establishes what is going on as he definitely takes his time to showcase what is happening whenever Wick is fighting someone where he also uses a few long shots to play into the brutality of the action.

Stahelski also knows when to take a break from the action as it relates to the drama that Wick had caused where Winston and the Bowery King are given a week to settle their affairs as the latter finds fault about the rule of the High Chair leading him into some serious trouble with the Adjudicator and her hired assassin named Zero (Marc Dacascos). Yet, Zero is someone who is an admirer of Wick as he sees him as a true warrior where things become complicated in the eventual showdown in the third act where Wick returns to New York City with a task that he must do yet it would be at great cost of what he had already lost. Yet, it would have a chilling aftermath into not just the many flaws of the High Chair and those in power but also Wick’s revelations about the oath he had taken years ago as an assassin and then walking free for a life of his own. Overall, Stahelski crafts a gripping and intense film about an assassin becoming hunted over a taboo that he broke in the criminal underworld.

Cinematographer Dan Laustsen does incredible work with the film’s cinematography with its stylish usage of lights for many of the scenes set at night along with the usage of greyish colors for some of the daytime exterior scenes in New York as well as a naturalistic look for the scenes in Morocco. Editor Evan Schiff does amazing work with the editing as it emphasizes a lot on style but it also has a rhythm in its approach to the action while allowing shots to linger to establish what is going on as it is a major highlight of the film. Production designer Kevin Kavanaugh, with set decorators Letizia Santucci and David Schlesinger plus supervising art director Chris Shriver, does brilliant work with the look of Winston’s glass office at the Continental and its vault as well as the look of the High Chair elder’s tent home. Costume designer Luca Mosca does fantastic work with the look of the black suit that Wick wears as well as the stylish look of the Adjudicator and the robe that Sofia wears.

Hair designer Kerrie Smith and makeup designer Stephen Kelly do terrific work with the look of some of the characters as well as the tattoos many in the underworld wear to play into the gritty world they live in. Special effects supervisor Steven Kirshoff, along with visual effects supervisors Robert Nederhorst and Rafa Solorzano, does excellent work with not just the special effects that occur in the action but also in the visuals as much of the visual effects are used as set dressing but also help maintain the atmosphere for the film’s visuals. Sound designers Luke Gibleon, Alan Rankin, and Martyn Zub, with sound editor Mark P. Stoeckinger, do superb work with the sound in capturing the atmosphere of the locations as well as the sounds of gunfire and other noises that occur in the cities or in a room. The film’s music by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard is wonderful for its usage of pulsating and brooding electronics with some heavy string arrangements that help play into the suspense and drama while music supervisor Kevin J. Edelman provides a soundtrack that mixes elements of classical music pieces along with some rock and electronic music cuts.

The casting by Salah Benchegra, Marisol Roncali, and Mary Vernieu is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles from Boban Marjanovic as a tall hitman Wick fights at a library, Randall Kim Duk as a doctor that Wick knew as he reluctantly helped before Wick’s official declaration of being excommunicated, Jason Mantzoukas as one of the Bowery King’s men, Cecep Arif Rahman and Yayan Ruhian as a couple of Zero’s students who also admire Wick, Jerome Flynn as Sofia’s former boss Berrada who does something wrong to Sofia to get into trouble with her and Wick, Tobias Segal as a hitman who works for the Bowery King, and Said Taghmaoui as the High Chair Elder as a mysterious figure who gives Wick another chance but with a major price for Wick. Anjelica Huston is fantastic as the Director as a woman who runs a Russian mob outfit as she reluctantly gives Wick a chance to leave New York City but would pay a price for her actions. Lance Reddick is superb as the Continental Hotel concierge Charon who is kind of the film’s conscience as he would also keep an eye on Wick’s dog when he leaves the city.

Asia Kate Dillon is excellent as the Adjudicator as a spokesperson for the High Chair who oversees what is going on as she makes some moves in order to get those affiliated with Wick punished. Marc Dacascos is amazing as Zero as a Japanese assassin who works at a sushi shop in NYC as he is hired by the Adjudicator to find and kill Wick although he’s a fan of Wick’s work from the past as he also sees himself as an equal as he gives Wick the chance to fight man-to-man as an act of honor. Laurence Fishburne is brilliant as the Bowery King as an underworld crime boss who aided Wick in the past as he is aware of what he did but finds himself at odds with the people at the High Chair. Ian McShane is incredible as Winston as the manager of the Continental Hotel in New York City as he deals with his decision to atone for his actions in aiding Wick or to defy the High Chair as he is a man who is just trying to survive and do what he does best.

Halle Berry is phenomenal as Sofia as a former assassin who runs the Continental Hotel in Morocco as she is an old friend of Wick who isn’t eager to see him but does owe him a favor for what he did for her as she reluctantly helps him only to realize the extremes of the High Chair prompting her to team up with Wick for a brief period of time. Finally, there’s Keanu Reeves in a sensational performance as the titular character as a once revered and feared assassin who is now on the run with a massive bounty on his head as he copes with being the hunted as he also tries to atone for his actions but then questions what he’s giving up as it this chilling yet intense performance from Reeves.

John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum is a spectacular film from Chad Stahelski that features a great performance from Keanu Reeves in the titular role as well as an incredible supporting appearance from Halle Berry. Along with its ensemble cast, gorgeous visuals, hypnotic score, and intense yet visceral action and fighting. The film is definitely an action-suspense film that has a lot of thrills but also a study of a man being hunted for his actions while trying to figure out what to do next as his back is against the wall. In the end, John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum is a tremendous film from Chad Stahelski.

Related: John Wick - John Wick: Chapter 2 - (John Wick Chapter 4)

© thevoid99 2020


SJHoneywell said...

I enjoy the entire series. John Wick, along with Mad Max: Fury Road and the Raid: Redemption films are arguments that we, for whatever faults we have as a species, have come very close to perfecting the action movie.

Brittani Burnham said...

I'm not into the John Wick films but this has been on HBO so much lately that I always keep catching glimpses of it and the fight choreography is always wonderful.

thevoid99 said...

@SJHoneywell-I agree. I love those films and they do action the right way and do it with a sense of style, precision, and realism.

@Brittani-The fighting in this film is incredible as it's one of the reasons why I enjoy this franchise.

Dell said...

I love this franchise, and especially this movie. I've already seen it a handful of times and love it each time. Really looking forward to part 4.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-I'm really enjoying the franchise as I'm so eager for part 4 as I hope we get more Halle Berry as she was fucking awesome. I totally understood why she got pissed off in that film and as someone who used to have a dog. Those are the kind of people you don't want to fuck with.

keith71_98 said...

I had a really good time with this one too. It seems like they are steadily ramping up the action and I'm not sure how the next installment can pack more in than the third did. Either way, I'll be there to watch it.

thevoid99 said...

@keith71_98-I'm going to be there opening weekend (depending on the reviews) as I'm eager to see what Wick will do next. Yet, how the come the High Chair didn't investigate what Wick did and why? Really, it's their fault for not informing those who were still in the world to be in contact with Wick. Otherwise, he wouldn't have gone apeshit on them. Yet, this time around. Wick might have some help to deal with the High Chair and there is no time to negotiate.