John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum

Starring Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry and Mark Dacascos

Rated MA15+

John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum is another enthralling, exquisitely-produced entry in the John Wick action franchise, but it’s somewhat lacking in ideas.

Reeves maintains an aura of stolid, soft-spoken deadliness as John Wick, an elite excommunicated assassin hunted by every hitman in New York City, and Halle Berry joins him as Sofia, a fiercely confident old friend indebted to John.

Both actors are powerhouses in the superb action sequences, which balance their lethal skill with overwhelming odds and brutality.

The fights feature plenty of impressive long takes and even convey character development, as John uses his opponents’ skills against them.

Parabellum continues the subtle humour and intriguing world-building of its predecessors, with assassins expressing admiration for John between trying to kill him and the plot presenting new extensions of the Continental assassin community.

The narrative steadily ramps up the suspense both through the sheer number and daunting skill of John’s enemies and the cruel actions of the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), the cold, deeply charismatic villain purging anyone who has helped John.

But while the action is elegant, visceral and extremely suspenseful, it is rather derivative: Parabellum’s climax re-treads John Wick 2’s climax too closely, and Parabellum clearly rips off its motorcycle swordfight from the 2017 South Korean thriller The Villainess.

John Wick, Chapter 3: Parabellum is an engrossing, funny, highly-suspenseful action film, but the action itself is strikingly unoriginal.

– Seth Lukas Hynes