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John Wick goes to war against everyone in ‘Parabellum’

The John Wick series has emerged as the sum of James Bond and The Fast and the Furious, and I absolutely love it.

Directed by Chad Stahelski (John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2), John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum stars Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Anjelica Huston, Lance Reddick, Asia Kate Dillon and Jason Mantzoukas.

Set immediately after the events of John Wick: Chapter 2, unbeatable assassin John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin’s guild on no-kill grounds. Now declared “excommunicado” by the High Table, Wick has a $14 million price tag on his head for any hit man or woman who kills him.

By no means is the John Wick series extremely thought-provoking, but it doesn’t shy away from that. You get what you pay for: an intense two hours of balls to the wall action.

For fans of Wick, Parabellum does not disappoint.

However, to newcomers, Parabellum is not the film you want to start out with.

The lore and mystery of the assassin’s hotel, known as The Continental, has already been set up, and is further unraveled in Wick’s third go in the series. Fortunately, as interesting as the assassin world is, the action is the forefront of all the John Wick movies. If you can’t follow exactly what’s going on, you’ll sure have a kick-ass time seeing Reeves brutally beat up some bad guys and gals.

With Parabellum rounding out Wick’s latest adventure, director Stahelski and company must entertain with more imaginative kills.

It’s a piece of cake for Wick.

In all three films, the body count reaches more than 375 people. The “Baba Yaga,” which translates to “The Boogeyman,” is unkillable.

Dogs, Horseback riding and books. Wick will get through you using his surroundings, and that’s what I love about this franchise. The long hand-to-hand combat scenes and the creativity put into each move is refreshing. It doesn’t seem like Wick is slowing down one bit, even with cuts, bruises and gunshot wounds on his mortal body.

Reeves amazes me. The amount of training and work he puts into his stunts is baffling. He cares about the character and his crew.

Each installment enlists bigger stars as well. Berry joined in with no doubts as she tackles the same kind of routines that Reeves must go through. After a hit-or-miss action movie track record, from the exhilarating X-Men series to the horrid Catwoman, it’s nice to see Berry in another film that clicks the biggest check mark for action actors. Though, it would have been nice to see her a little bit more in this role.

Every actor and actress seem like they are either crazy or suave as hell. This is character acting. It’s just the over-the-top kind of vibe that the John Wick movies provide.

The cinematography on top of the legends of each assassin is the best it has been in any John Wick. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen borrows the neon lights and noir nights from Blade Runner and Drive and Wick-ifies the screen.

Just like John Wick: Chapter 2, Parabellum suffers from similar mistakes.

Fans have come to love this character, but even we can acknowledge that the filmmakers jump the shark a bit. Sometimes, the realistic fighting sequences aren’t enough to keep Wick grounded. How can somebody get away with using a human as a body shield from knives when there are plenty of witnesses that walk by like nothing’s happening?

That just doesn’t happen.

Still, I can forgive the huge suspension of disbelief for a quick couple moments because the movie doesn’t hide it. The focus of Parabellum, like all the John Wick movies, is the action.

We go to the movies to be enveloped in a world unlike ours. Parabellum knows that. The filmmakers want the audience to have fun; they want the Wick to shock us with merciless and ingenious kills.

It’s my favorite movie of 2019 so far and I can’t wait to feel the adrenaline pump through my body again while watching Wick throw 40 knives at some dude’s chest.

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