John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum isn’t a great entry into the franchise due to a weak storyline and character decision-making not making much sense; the action itself still was highly entertaining and even exhilarating; however I do hope the filmmakers find a better balance with story and action in the next film.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 131 min. – $42.99 | September 10, 2019
Date Published: 09/03/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.
THE MOVIE — 3.5/5
Note: This review contains some MAJOR PLOT SPOILERS, so please beware.
“If you want peace, prepare for war.”
The John Wick franchise has been one hell of an action series, starting out as just another unassuming film (and only taking in $88.8 million worldwide), but reviews were solid and better, audiences loved it, making it a surprising hit apparently on home video. John Wick: Chapter 2 continued the success ($171.5 million worldwide) and sneakily built in its own unique universe filled with assassins working for an organization known as “Top Table”.
Now comes John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and while it has some moments of brilliance, I couldn’t help feel a little underwhelmed. However, it did make $321.6 million worldwide and at least has some promise for the eventual fourth entry.
This entry takes place moments after the events of Chapter 2 with John Wick (KEANU REEVES) on the run, an hour away from a $14 million price tag being placed on his head after he is excommunicated after violating the rules, killing a high member of the Table within the walls of the Continental Hotel, which is run by Winston (IAN MCSHANE). Wick must cash in any chips he has left from going back to “The Director” (ANJELICA HUSTON), who had trained him with the skills he uses today to a woman named Sofia (HALLE BETTER), whom he had helped in the past and, though she’s a member of the organization, reluctantly agrees to help.
Meanwhile, the Adjudicator (ASIA KATE DILLON) has come to New York City to clean things up, including removing the likes of Winston and Bowery King (LAURENCE FISHBURNE) from their places of power, believing they allowed Wick to get away, which in part was true… The film kind of expedites Wick’s travel going from New York City to Casablanca and back, and in between some sweet fight sequences, wonderfully choreographed by director Chad Stahelski and his stunt crew of the 87Eleven Action Design, which he co-owns with David Leitch.
The issue with John Wick: Chapter 3 is certainly not the stunt work, although admittedly a few scenes could go too long, but instead the plot itself came across… clunky and underdeveloped considering the world building the filmmakers started with the second film. This time, you had decisions made by characters that seemed to made not naturally but at service of the next fight scene. Heck, you have a character in Winston, who protected Wick even after he broke the rules, only to turn on him because I guess the film needed a twist (yeah, you can explain he did to retain power, but it doesn’t fly).
In the end, John Wick: Chapter 3 is probably the “worst” in the series, but only because the world-building that helped the sequel didn’t really go anywhere, and kind of meandered at times in terms of plot, its flaws covered up with some greatly choreographed, if not also overly long, fight sequences. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of the first film, though done due to its limited budget (for comparison JW3 had a $75M, JW1 was $20M and JW2 $40M).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.25/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy, reflective slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. There are several featurettes that total around 76-minutes.
Parabellum: The Legacy of The High Table (10:57) – This featurette examines the expansion of the world for the third movie and advancing John Wick as a character.
Excommunicado (9:44) – Looks at the idea of Wick being hunted down by other assassins, and details them.
Check Your Sights (9:55) looks at the intense training from the fights to using the variety of weapons.
Saddle Up Wick (5:10) – We get to see one of the stranger sequence with our hero riding on horseback through New York City.
Bikes, Blades, Bridges, and Bits (6:35) – This featurette goes into the bike chase scene, which was heavily influenced by a similar scene in Villainous, and how it was accomplished via visual effects combined with live action camerawork.
Continental in the Desert (10:15) is on the filming in Morocco.
Dog Fu (8:04) where we get to see the training of Sofia’s (Halle Berry) pooches, as well as Wick’s own dog.
House of Transparency (7:10) looks at the production design of the glass set that plays a big role in the climax, and how it was designed for the fight choreography.
Shot by Shot (8:57) – This featurette covers the editing on the film.
Last up are two Theatrical Trailers, a Trailer for John Wick Hex Game and Behind the Scenes of John Wick Hex (6:54).
Previews (Blu-ray) – Hellboy (2019), Rambo: Last Blood, Anna, Angel Has Fallen, American Gods: Season Two
4K UHD VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5
|If you couldn’t already tell based on the cover artwork, John Wick: Chapter 3 was going to be a colorful looking picture, and it did not disappoint. The film, presented with a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio, comes to 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray in 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers, respectively. The 4K disc does look phenomenal, the array of colors are bright aided by the HDR, but even the natural tones, as demonstrated during the scenes in Morocco, also look brilliant. Detail is sharp and very well defined throughout. The Blu-ray isn’t bad either with an ever so modest difference, the viewer won’t be disappointed.|
4K UHD/BD AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs comes with a Dolby Atmos track which, not surprisingly, is quite active considering the numerous action-centric sequences which puts this track on full display. But there are actually some quieter moments where the ambient noises can be detected like the sounds of the city (be it in Morocco or NYC) while dialogue comes through the center channel with good clarity.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum isn’t a great entry into the franchise due to a weak storyline and character decision-making not making much sense; the action itself still was highly entertaining and even exhilarating; however I do hope the filmmakers find a better balance between story and action in the fourth installment. This 4K UHD/Blu-ray release offers up excellent video and audio transfers to go along with a fine selection of bonus material.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.