John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)
May 17, 2019 7:00 PM - Subscribe

Super-assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin's guild, and with a $14 million price tag on his head - he is the target of hit men and women everywhere.

Si vis pacem, para bellum. (If you want peace, prepare for war.)
posted by mbrubeck (36 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
When will these people learn to leave the dogs alone?
posted by mbrubeck at 7:01 PM on May 17, 2019 [6 favorites]

Sushi chef!
posted by Fleebnork at 8:50 PM on May 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Lance Reddick, glasses slightly askew to remind you how much work he just did.
posted by FallibleHuman at 1:22 PM on May 18, 2019 [6 favorites]

This film involved too much plot for a John Wick film. And these franchise films are so bold now, there was nothing like a satisfying climax or resolution, either. This really was Chapter 3 of an ongoing story.

I liked all the action in New York at the start and the use of dogs to bite dicks in the Casablance sequence but the return to New York was a bit dull.
posted by crossoverman at 5:39 PM on May 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

I liked it a fair bit more than 2, which I thought got a little overly baroque with the "High Table" stuff, and whose action sequences seemed to go on too long without so much variation. Technically impressive, it often but like watching a supercut of action sequences rather than an action movie itself. I think I still like the relatively stripped-down first one, though.

This time, I suppose my expectations of weird, lampshaded high concept worldbuilding were already set, and the action sequences mad an effort to be varied and a little more narrative, so much more fun.

Also, one fun parallel: while the Matrix movies started with a strong metaphor for a human society captured by a corrupt system (call it capitalism if you're Marxist, government, if you're libertarian, the Machine if you're Zack de la Rocha), then lost it in plodding, obscurantist navel-gazing. Meanwhile, John Wick begins with this weird Nietzschean power fantasy (common to lots of high-concept action movies), and ends with a nod to smashing the system that all of the characters seek a place within. Which is not a new trope, but still a nice recognition that The Rules are cruel and arbitrary.
posted by pykrete jungle at 5:02 AM on May 19, 2019 [8 favorites]

I mainly go to these movies for the action and I wasn't disappointed ! I liked the plot but saw the inevitable betrayal of John by Winston from a mile away.

But I don't think Winston is going to be killed by John. Winston is too clever for that and I thought the survival of John wasn't a complete surprise for him.
posted by Pendragon at 6:44 AM on May 19, 2019

I read the betrayal as a complete set up - they were all in it (except the Adjudicator) and it will be Bowery+Continental (covertly together) against the HighTable+whatever that guy in the tent is. Still confused about his position actually.

The action was great. I don't want to call the violence "great" but it was perfectly over the top for me. The title should have just been John Wick 3: Headshot and not be so precious about "Parabellum". I also feel strongly that my dog is not living up to his potential, though he's a lot closer breed-wise to Dog and would likely also just hang out on a sofa in a crisis rather than be out trying to ambitiously rip a bunch of dudes' balls off, no matter how much I might wish it so.

I also feel like this is the first one where it was deliberately winking at the audience. The first two have plenty of ironic chuckling but this one seemed to want the bring the audience into the joke now.
posted by marylynn at 2:08 PM on May 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

If they were all in on it, John must have complete faith in his ability to suvive a fall of that building :-)
posted by Pendragon at 3:31 PM on May 19, 2019

No one warned me about Halle Berry kicking so much ass. *pant pant*
posted by DigDoug at 4:53 PM on May 22, 2019

I thought the guy in the tent was like the head of the High Table? But now I realize it's not clear so I'm not sure either. I thought it was better than the second one for sure, excited to see it again. The problem is I think the first one is so spare, it's my worry with Mad Max Fury Road 2 (if it ever gets made) the desire to complicate something so simple and explain can really drag things down.
posted by Carillon at 10:02 PM on May 23, 2019

“Parabellum” is an appropriate subtitle for this as it definitely felt preparatory for the 4th film which will be all-out war.

I liked it but didn’t love it as much as the second one which felt like the right amount of escalation to the first. This one is “just” an excellent action movie.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:19 AM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sushi chef!

He is introduced while Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's Ninja Re Bang Bang is playing in the background and it's such an odd, goofy choice. I didn't know whether I was supposed to take this character serious or not.
posted by bigendian at 11:14 AM on May 25, 2019

I swear, while there are a lot of fun human actors in the film, the good doggo who got "shot" was the best actor of the lot of 'em. His concerned little crinkly brow when Halle leaned over him.... "alas, my mistress, I am laid low!...... Nope, just kidding, now business time!"
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 5:26 PM on May 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

I also liked this John Wick more than the last one. I'm also excited that they seem to have given John a purpose for the next film, since he was hopelessly scrambling in Parabellum and a very reluctant actor in the last one.

I thought the Adjudicator was pretty meh, and only tolerate that tedious order and bureaucracy stuff because it turned out to be pretty significant in terms of how the film ended. Halle Berry and her fighting dogs saved the second act for me; I'd be much more annoyed by the mystic desert stuff without her. The John Wick fanboy opponent was extremely weird. They've established that John Wick is famous and that contract killers are strange, so I guess why not ham it up a little?

This movie was actually pretty funny. There was a hilarious beat -- at the beginning, when he's in New York -- where he's grappling with someone and they both realize that the walls area covered with knives and lunge for them. Or the horse-fighting, which I think I might've liked even more than the killer dogs.
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:27 AM on May 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't think anyone took a selfie with Wick, but it was pretty damn close.
posted by ODiV at 10:46 AM on May 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

I quite liked that John Wick *did not* kill the two Ninja Force dudes towards the end--the ones who showed him some courtesy and helped him up. The actors are two of the most famous pencak silat practioners in the world.

One of the new Star Wars films had one of them in a role that I found disappointing to the point of being actively disrespectful in addition to immensely stupid. Glad to see Keanu and the gang did much better by them.

I can't imagine anyone actively interested in John Wick hasn't seen The Raid films already, but if you haven't...
posted by hototogisu at 8:59 PM on May 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

I choose to believe the dogs and horses went along with John because they know that he is a Friend to the Animals (in the same way fellow assassins respect him for being Baba Yaga).

My biggest wish for Chapter 4: Expecto Patronus: The Wickening is that the head of the High Table shows up and is played by Sandra Bullock.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:08 PM on June 1, 2019 [6 favorites]

I keep hoping for Carrie Ann Moss.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:01 PM on June 1, 2019 [8 favorites]

> There was a hilarious beat -- at the beginning, when he's in New York -- where he's grappling with someone and they both realize that the walls area covered with knives and lunge for them.

I thought they were like kids let loose in a candy shop!
posted by Pronoiac at 12:34 AM on June 11, 2019

Is the big table a euphemism for the heads of the criminal super syndicate that knows everything basically, Serge, Bezos, Zuck and whoeverthehell controls twitter? How else could all the street dudes and dudettes know instantly that some dog was killed?
posted by sammyo at 9:20 AM on July 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

On the one hand: no Ruby Rose.

On the other: Halle Berry and two very good action doggoes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:26 PM on August 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

There seemed to be lots of nods to other films from Akira to "Guns. Lots of guns" which I think kept just on the right side of the line. The 2nd film had such a straight-faced commitment to the world that was being built it seemed like overcompensating. Chapter 3 had more confidence and an unashamed commitment to Action films in general.
posted by fullerine at 6:38 PM on August 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

I am late to the party and watching it right now. So far:
1. This is so, so stupid. But for some reason I am still watching.
2. I love the scenery and the John Wick universe New York
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:11 AM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

And yeah, I think I enjoyed Wick 2 more after watching some film nerdery about it (MwMikey, I suspect) - I don't know that I necessarily got the intention at the time, but they leaned all the way in to it in 3 here, and it helped. 2 sort of dragged uncomfortably at certain points where it really wasn't clear if there was a plan other than surviving the current onslaught of enemies. But 3 dealt with that while leaning 100% into the weird mysticism of the assassin world.

Totally looking forward to the fourth.
posted by Kyol at 8:15 PM on August 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love these movies. But I didn't love this one as much as the first two. I think crossoverman is right upthread; there's too much plot. They spent a lot of time setting up the whole High Table vs. New York thing. I guess that'll pay off in further movies; they can only do "they killed my dog" for so long. But it detracted from the gunplay.

Headshots are cool and I love the trope from the very first movie that Wick almost always puts two bullets in every head just to be sure. I mean it's hideous and monstrous, and also great for an ultraviolent action movie. But they really doubled down on that in the last big fight against the guys in armor, where he has to physically grab each guy and pull his helmet or visor out of the way in order to shoot him in the head. Yikes.

I loved the Adjudicator's accent. Or rather lack thereof, to Americans. She walks in looking all sexy and Euro and you expect some elaborate Eastern European accent. Or maybe British. Nope, she's from Moline or maybe Salina. Doubly funny because I understand the John Wick movies are basically vampire movies without the vampires, and of course the skinny goth lady would have a Romanian accent. Nope, not here.

So John learned his martial arts in the Byelorussian ballet? How come he doesn't move sexier?
posted by Nelson at 9:17 AM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

two bullets in every head just to be sure

A few lucky fellows got point-blank SMG bursts to the face.

I hope the tchotchke game keeps escalating. Prick yourself on a coin, get branded with a crucifix, stick a bowling trophy up your ass?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:29 AM on September 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Chapter 1: “You know the rule: No business to be conducted on these grounds.”

Chapter 2: “Two rules, Jonathan — no blood on Continental grounds, and every marker must be honored.”

Chapter 3: There are lots of rules, okay? So many rules.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:08 AM on September 13, 2019 [9 favorites]

lmao I love the franchise, but that's definitely how I'll be describing it from now on

You could also argue that John Wick is worldbuilding done right! If they figured any of this stuff out during the first movie, they were smart enough to avoid plodding voice-overs explaining the rules of the guild or why the support staff is comprised of Suicide Girls.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:24 AM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I caught this on Netflix last night. Mostly interested in it as dumbass brutality, so I was surprised when I realised it was more like a hyperviolent version of Neverwhere.

It has to be said, pretty much everybody's pledge of loyalty to anyone else is worth so little by now there doesn't seem to be any point bothering at all. All that intricate hoo-hah to keep track of fealties that will last several minutes at best.

On the other hand: brutality!
posted by Grangousier at 3:33 AM on January 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

Debuted on HBO in the US tonight. Nice trick with the horses.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:55 PM on January 11, 2020

Wow, this movie was fun. I really liked learning about how Zero was recast, and the guy they found is a huge Keanu Reeves fan, so they wrote that in as part of the character he plays in the movie. It added just the right touch of comedy to work perfectly alongside the nonstop violence, and I adored it.

Also, I will never say no to a chance to see Lawrence Fishburne chew all of the scenery.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:52 PM on February 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

So John learned his martial arts in the Byelorussian ballet? How come he doesn't move sexier?

We watched this again today during the COVID lockdown (future readers: this is during the stretch when we were all mostly staying at home but were still alive). Between this and the delayed Black Widow movie, it seems to be a trope that elite assassins are trained in Russian ballet schools.

I hope decades from now some declassified documents will reveal that Osama bin Laden was actually killed by Mikhail Baryshnikov.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:16 PM on April 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

My girlfriend and I finally watched this a couple of nights ago, in a kind of double feature with Birds of Prey. It was interesting to compare the violence in the two movies - the action in John Wick is much more fluid and visceral, while BoP's fight sequences felt very, VERY staged and blocked.

Sushi chef guy is, of course, The Chairman from Iron Chef America, and I LOVED his fanboying.

It took 3 John Wick movies and a very particular scene/angle (when Dog arrives in the taxi at the Continental) for me to realize that Charon is played by the voice actor and likeness behind Sylens from the video game Horizon Zero Dawn.

The motorcycle chase was *chef's kiss*, as was the fight amongst all the knives.

Halle Berry's badassedness was AMAZING. This is the second movie we've watched together in recent weeks that my girlfriend has seen a female character, steeled herself for the standard love interest / damsel in distress tropes, only to have that character be super effing kickass (Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the only reason to watch Gemini Man, just sayin').
posted by hanov3r at 7:32 AM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

The fourth movie needs Michelle Yeoh.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:46 PM on July 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Chapter 3: There are lots of rules, okay? So many rules.

Chapter 4: Mornington Crescent

Just a few thoughts after finally seeing this, the most ZANG! POW! video game one yet. The second was the "inside baseball" edition. The betrayal was kind of meh, as basically a comic book they can do whatever they want. It's like a soap opera!

Things I liked:
- The pommel-pounding knife in the eye (lots more "stop resisting, I'm trying to stab you" overall)
- Wick's fall off the building
- Jason Mantzoukas

Oh and maybe it's too smooth for my eye, but this one seemed like the least technically flashy, gunwise. No one-handed brass checks, no center-axis relock.
posted by rhizome at 2:12 AM on September 23, 2021

There is now a John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer. The movie will be released on March 24, 2023.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:54 PM on November 10, 2022

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