Parabellum picks up immediately where the sequel leaves off. John (Keanu Reeves) has just been excommunicated for breaking one of The Continental’s two rules. Given his fondness for the assassin, Winston (Ian McShane), a leader of the secret society, grants him a one hour grace period before the excommunication and large bounty on his head will take effect. What follows is an exhilarating first act as John and Dog make their way through the city with no immediately obvious destination.
I’m not sure what audiences love more; it could be the pull of a beloved actor like Reeves who delivers so few actual lines, yet carries such a conviction that we’re still entertained. Or maybe it’s the prolonged fight sequences that feature equal parts blood and creativity. Even more likely than that is how well the production design is crafted and the absurd liberties filmmakers take with logic. At any rate, audiences around the world (myself included) have been ridiculously entertained by the third installment and the numbers prove it.
It’s common in movies (and life for that matter) for drama to push the action, which is why it’s a little funny that everything that has happened up to this point is basically the result of a stolen car and dead dog. In fact, it’s almost like an inside joke between the characters and the audience. I’m always half-expecting for someone to speak/look directly into the camera during those tongue-in-cheek moments.
This series has always been able to deliver effective stunts and action-packed scenes so it’s no surprise that they didn’t touch the formula. In fact, there were a couple scenes that mirrored prior ones pretty closely. A character describing Wick as the Baba Yaga (translation: Boogeyman)? Check. A deadly brawl in an exhibit with distorted mirrors and a wounded John? Check check. I would argue that there is no other series at the moment that has filmmakers more dialed in to the desires of the audience. As they say, if it ain’t broke…
I also enjoyed the expansion of characters like Charo (Lance Reddick), the devoted Concierge who unsurprisingly can wield a weapon like the best of them as well as the introduction of new characters like The Adjudicator played by Asia Kate Dillon, and Halle Berry’s dog-loving assassin Sofia. Both women are tough and pretty intimidating, especially the latter who has trained her canines to be the ideal advantage in a fight.
Overall, Parabellum is a great addition to the series and if you love action and violence, I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate everything it has to offer. My only regret is that I didn’t see it at IMAX. If that’s an option for you, I highly recommend you check it out in theaters this Memorial Day weekend.
Who is your favorite action hero? It can be the character themselves or the actor/actress who portrays them. Let me know in the comments down below!