John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Critics Consensus

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum reloads for another hard-hitting round of the brilliantly choreographed, over-the-top action that fans of the franchise demand.

89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 303

87%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 27,595
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Movie Info

In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin's guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world's most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.

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Critic Reviews for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

All Critics (303) | Top Critics (41)

  • Reeves and Dacascos's brutal, climactic sparring session definitely leaves us wanting more, not to mention wondering about a potential Oscars sound editing category for shattering glass.

    May 24, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Tom Russo

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Choreography is all that's on offer here. The increasingly convoluted fight scenes turn into lifeless spectacle in this ugly franchise.

    May 17, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Superior exercises in action-movie formalism, the John Wick movies evoke everything from Fritz Lang's silent thrillers to Gene Kelly's musicals...

    May 17, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's rather like when Bond films went from Sean Connery to Roger Moore. Plenty of people will find this copacetic. A few will grouse about what's been lost: a touch of the real amid the merely fantastic.

    May 17, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • [I]t's a fun, entertaining romp that knows it's ridiculous from the moment that Wick takes out a towering 7-footer (the Philadelphia 76ers' Boban Marjanović) by beating him to death in a library with a book.

    May 17, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • While "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum" is an easy movie to recommend, it must be added that it's a hard movie to love.

    May 17, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

  • 2d ago
    May be a slight step from the previous entries to the Wick universe, but undeniably fun. Keep em coming.
    Spencer M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 09, 2019
    Blown away. I watched John Wick 3: Parabellum out of curiosity, having missed JW1 and JW2. Now I understand why this is becoming a cult film. Keanu Reeves plays the role to perfection, and even I am in awe. One thing that struck me was that this Neo-noir genre is still very much in vogue. Also, the level of martial arts choreography and stunt work has developed to an impressive level, that not only have they caught up with the Hong Kong (East Asian) martial arts stunts, but actually surpassed it. The stunt work was simply breathtaking. My main complaint is the level of violence! Entertainment-wise, it was even better than say, Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne or James Bond series. The direction for JW3 is top notch, and I am looking forward to JW4.
    Chrisanne C Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2019
    Anybody who goes to these films and then criticizes the format (Augh, too much violence; no plot; one-dimensional characters!) is just embarrassing themselves. That said, it opens with a great bang but the middle sequence in Morocco felt baggy and unnecessary: third act back at the Continental wrapped it up in style. Fun cameos from Bronn and Angelica Huston but Halle and her dogs felt a bit extraneous and the fight sequences felt more heavily edited to conceal weaknesses. Dacascos a huge stand-out, as martially skilled (and gorgeous) as ever. Huge fun for those that like this sort of thing.
    Charles M Super Reviewer
  • May 26, 2019
    When we last left human killing machine John Wick (Keanu Reeves) he was on the run. He had just committed the cardinal sin in this world of professional hired guns — killing a protected man on safe ground. As a result, The High Table, which governs this ordered realm of trained assassins, has excommunicated Mr. Wick and placed a $15 million dollar bounty on his head. John is desperate for an exit and leans on old pals (Angelica Huston, Halle Berry) before coming home once again to face off against all the gun-toting wrath The High Table can offer. Plenty of Hollywood action movies can elicit cheers and thrills, and John Wick 3 is definitely in that mix, but what sets it apart is the sheer number of "Oooo"s, "Oww"s, and, "Holy shit"s. Most other action movies have one or two moments that make you wince or make you shake your head in astonishment of something intense, gnarly, or self-evidently awesome. John Wick 3 is packed with these moments. There are numerous examples just in the opening action sequence. There's one long extended fight where John uses whatever is at his disposal, including knives and shards of broken glass and mirror, to take down his mounting enemies, and then he pulls these deadly projectiles out of their bodies to use again in a pinch. By the end of this action sequence, my preview audience burst into applause. I can't think of another movie where this happened especially in Act One. The movie has lots of standout action sequences and the good sense to let the audience enjoy the disciplined, imaginative fight choreography in full with long expansive takes. There are moments that are just incredible to witness, like John Wick utilizing a kicking horse to his advantage, or seeing the full take-down effect of whirling attack dogs in combat, and a two-on-one fight where every glass cage in sight must be smashed to bits. For action fans, the John Wick series is a simplified adrenaline shot where the director and star are working in unison to compose goose bump-triggering action cinema for the masses. Another hallmark of the series is its sense of macabre humor and the world building peculiarities. Amidst the wild carnage and bloodshed, there are moments that shocked me with how funny they were. I was almost in tears toward one baffling moment toward the very end. I loved that the chief antagonist, a samurai sword-wielding Zero (Mark Dacascos), can also be a fanboy. During a rare moment of downtime, he gets to gush and freak out that he's actually interacting with the John Wick. There's a new character played by Asia Kate Dillion (TV's Billions, Orange is the New Black) who behaves like a peeved middle manager trying to get back on the next red-eye home. She's the best new addition in Chapter Three. Don't expect much from high-profile new faces like Angelica Huston and Halle Berry as their screen time is brokered into short segments. There's a sequence where John combats trained soldiers in body armor, and so he has to constantly be reloading because it takes multiple precise shots to down the bad guys. It's a smart way to escalate the stakes of the scene while staying true to its world, because who wouldn't wear everything and the kitchen sink when being tasked with killing John Wick? I laughed out loud when Wick returned to an armory perturbed that he had to reload so soon, muttering to himself in agitation. The action is relentless and all kinds of fun to watch but the movie starts to lose its momentum by the conclusion. Part of this is by the sense of lowered emotional stakes in its finale (more on that below) and another factor is its general plot-less nature. The entire story of John Wick 3 is the title character trying to outrun the people set out to kill him, jumping from one supposed safe landing spot to another. This works for a frenetic sense of pacing, knowing that any lag time will be minimal before the next kickass brawl. Because the movie rarely catches its collective breath, it can also feel like a mindless video game, with each new location a new level and with innumerable, faceless cohorts rushing in to be battled. The violence can be brutal but also feel a bit programmed, lacking some of the visceral dynamic realism of The Raid movies, the closest equivalent action franchise I can think of. There's nothing here that challenges the brilliant set pieces and organic complications from the last Mission: Impossible movie. It's a fun action franchise but it runs the risk of resting on its (considerable) laurels, feeling too same-y, and that can prove deadly. The clever fight choreography, sense of humor, and conviction of Reeves does enough to mask the negative effects of this artistic choice. This may affect people differently especially fans of the series, as lavishly produced action can be rewarding enough to ignore other pressing faults. For me, I was feeling as gassed as John Wick by the end. The further and further we get from the events of the original John Wick, the less emotional involvement the series seems to ingratiate, especially with its central baddies onscreen. Every dog-loving audience member was wiling Wick to get his vengeance in the first movie. We wanted him to get the bad guy in the sequel. Now it's basically wave after wave of hired guns that he has to defeat, and without a better connection to that opposing force, the movie franchise runs the risk of losing any longstanding personal stakes. The bad guys are just interchangeable and only present to be dispatched. There's no emotional victory or satisfaction for the audience if Bad Guy #12 gets toppled by the climax. The John Wick franchise is magnifying this accelerating problem; by making the conflict carry over into an additional movie, and now into another additional movie, the audience is getting further and further distance from the origin of this conflict, and thus its resolution becomes less of a desirable and satisfying goal and more a perfunctory endpoint. I would recommend the John Wick team review 2008's Quantum of Solace to see a recent example of a big action movie hampered by overextending a thin storyline. If you're coming to John Wick 3 for another heaping of high-quality action, you won't leave disappointed on that front. If you're looking for signature moves, dark humor, and lots and lots of casual headshots, then you won't leave disappointed. If you're looking for a thrilling good time at the movies, you won't leave disappointed. As a fan of the series, this was the movie I was wanting from the first sequel, dealing with the larger consequences of his rule-breaking life-and-death decision. As the third act ramped up for John Wick 3, I turned to my friend and said, "If this was the second movie, it would end right here." Perhaps if you watch John Wick 2 and the third movie in short succession some of the problems would be smoothed out, namely a depleted sense of personal stakes and too little plot stretched over multiple movies and counting. I'll happily continue watching further adventures of John Wick, though I'd be just as interested in an exploration of the world without its titular star. At some point it may be necessary to retire John Wick (Reeves seems to have lost a step, but he's still like a hundred steps beyond most of us) and when they do, I hope this interesting and peculiar world is allowed to house further weird and exciting adventures. In the meantime, John Wick 3 will more than delight those action urges and sate the action appetites of its fans. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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