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JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM (2019) – My rating: 8/10

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is a neo-noir action thriller. It is the third installment in the John Wick film series, following John Wick (2014) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). The film is directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams, based on a story by Kolstad. In the film, ex-hitman John Wick finds himself on the run from legions of assassins after a $14 million contract is put on his head. John Wick: Chapter 3 is strictly about the fighting and a lot of killing.

Less than an hour after the conclusion of John Wick: Chapter 2, former hitman John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is now a marked man, on the run in Manhattan. After John’s unsanctioned killing of crime lord and new member of the High Table Santino D’Antonio in the New York City Continental, he is declared “excommunicado” by his handlers at the High Table and placed under a $14 million bounty. Now on the run from all assassins of the high table, John reaches the New York Public Library and recovers a crucifix necklace and a “marker” medallion from a secret cache hidden in a faux library book. He fights his way through several assassins until he reaches The Director (Angelica Houston), a woman from his past, who accepts the crucifix as a “ticket” for safe passage to Casablanca, Morocco. Wick is then branded by the Director to signify he has used up all his favors with her.

Meanwhile, an adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon), with the High Table meets with Winston (Ian McShane), the manager of the New York City Continental and The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne), who leads a network of vagrant assassins. The adjudicator admonishes both men for helping John Wick get away after killing Santino D’Antonio (Riccarido Scamarcio). Both are given seven days to give up their offices or face being assassinated themselves. Charon (Lance Reddick), the concierge at the Continental stands by Winston and the adjudicator recruits assassin Zero (Mark Dacascos) and his “students” to enforce the will of the High Table.

In Casablanca, John meets with Sofia (Halle Berry), a former friend and the manager of the Casablanca Continental. He presents his marker and asks Sofia to honor it by directing him to The Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui), the only man ranked above the High Table, so that he can ask to have his bounty waived. Sofia takes him to an assassin named Berrada (Jerome Flynn), who tells John that he may find the Elder by wandering through the desert until he cannot walk any longer. As payment for his information, Berrada asks for one of Sofia’s beloved dogs, she refuses, so he shoots the dog but it survives, thanks to a body armor jacket. In a bout of rage, Sofia shoots Berrada.  She, John and the two dogs fight their way out of the Kasbah. Having fulfilled her marker, Sofia leaves John in the desert were he roams until he collapses from exhaustion.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on in this sequel. While the movie was exciting and full of action, it was also ultra violent. I have to deem John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum the most violent movie I’ve seen in a decade. The fighting was endless. At first the fight patterns were fun to experience but soon became boring and over the top. John and Sofia killed 40 to 50 men, one by one while fighting their way out of the Kasbah, which has nothing to do with the amount of men John Wick killed in other situations. I like a good fight scene but this got to be ridiculous. The plot carried over from the second sequel with new concepts added. Mark Dacascos was fantastic as Zero, who added humor as well as serious fighting skills to the film. Fighting and shooting should have been the name of chapter 3 — it was really non-stop! Don’t get me wrong, the story has lots of merit and lots of twist and I did enjoy John Wick. This third sequel has grossed $175 million worldwide, surpassing the entire gross of the second film in just 10 days, plus it received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the fight choreography, visual style, and Reeves’ performance. I agree with the critics analysis except the amount of fighting and killing — it was truly over-the-top. If you don’t mind the violence, you’re in for a great ride. Check It Out!