“John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum” expands the lore with style

Niko Tavernise / Lionsgate
Keanu Reeves as the title character in “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.”

Action movies are not hard to come by. Great action movies, on the other hand, are not something one sees everyday. A lot of films are labeled as “action movies,” yet they ditch out on the “action,” in exchange for shaky cameras and quick cuts to fake the intensity. “John Wick,” released in 2014, brought audience the purest form of action, with minimal plot and maximum violence. The film received massive praises from critics, as seen on its Rotten Tomatoes review. Now, the third part of the series is out, with the promise to fans that has always been kept: a lot of action.

In this film, John Wick ( Keanu Reeves) becomes a target of skilled killers from around the world. No longer under the protection of the High Table, an underground assassins’ guild, the man has to fight in the heart of New York city with a $14 million bounty attached to him.

Keanu Reeves is back playing the beloved hitman, and he’s still got it. He breathes into John Wick a sense of style, even in the most bruised moments and low points in the character’s journey. In a lot of angles, Reeves face can be seen, indicating that the actor does a lot of the stunt work himself.

Niko Tavernise / Lionsgate
Halle Berry, whose character has very particularly skilled dogs, is one of the movie’s many guest stars.

The fights are swift but at the same time appear improvised. They are not choreographed dances with weapons. The punching, slicing and shooting feel “in the moment,” which illustrates Keanu Reeves’ skills. The movie also smartly uses a lot of environmental elements to make the scenes more interesting. Motorbikes, books, swords and even horses are used by the hitman while in combat to eliminate his opponents.

It is not a “John Wick” movie without the appearance of a few skilled canines. Even in the first movie, the plot began because of a puppy. The dogs work well with the human actors, and are ready to display the primal side. Sofia (Halle Berry) is a character that has a lot of comradery with the dogs, and they work like a team. Alongside the humans, they put on one of the most “video-game like” action scenes in the movie.

The filmmakers chooses the most perfect angles to show the action without cutting to different cameras too often which minimizes the confusion of what is going on. The cinematography is paired up with the beauty of an urban city to deliver the most gorgeous “knock outs” coming from John Wick.

Despite what the trailer shows, it is not quite a “go, go, go” action movie. The story takes some down time in between the heavier scenes, which can drag on for the people who are just there for the action. While the conversation scenes are done well and serves the purpose to the lore, they can be more riveting.

While a lot of action flicks can take advantage of computer generated imagery (CGI,) “John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum” is back and stays true to the brand, with real actors and real choreography. With the new installment, the skilled hero has returned and will keep action junkies’ hearts racing.