If you have seen either of the other John Wick movies and didn’t like them, you will not like this one. If you have seen both of the other John Wick movies and loved them, you will definitely love this one.
Parabellum takes what was established in the first two John Wick movies and completely blows it wide open. The action is better, the story is better, the characters are better, the world is better… Parabellum is easily one of the best pure action films of the decade. I would go as far to say that there hasn’t been a better blockbuster action movie since Mad Max: Fury Road (I would even say that John Wick is the best action series of the decade, but I have not yet seen The Raid movies so I will hold off on that one).
Parabellum is one of the most fun action movies I have ever seen. It gives off the sense that the director, stunt choreographers, and actors care about what they are doing and have invested their time and efforts to make a film that is both fun and satisfying to watch.
The self-awareness of the John Wick series is one of the main reasons why I enjoy it so much. Sure, there is self-aware humour in the dialogue. But there is also self-aware humour in the action sequences. Brilliantly choreographed fight sequences not only induce an adrenaline rush but also call for laughs. Parabellum expertly treads that fine line between serious action and physical comedy (a la Chaplin and Keaton but the comedic sense is entirely different).
Like the ballet dancers seen in this movie, the action scenes here are carefully choreographed with extreme precision and thoughtfulness. But instead of exquisite classical music playing in the background, Parabellum crafts a brilliant soundscape of gunshots, broken bones, stabbing knives, and various environmental sounds (such as bodies being thrown through glass). By creating music-less fight sequences that focus on the sounds of the fight, Parabellum drags you into its self-aware brutality and violence. It forces the audience to appreciate its craft.
If I have any criticisms of this movie, it is that some of the action scenes blend together a bit too much and the story isn’t the greatest. But for an action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously and delivers some of the most inventive, stunning action sequences of the decade (and of all-time!), these criticisms are extremely minimal.
Parabellum is an argument for action films as works of art: masterfully crafted, brilliantly choreographed, incredibly directed, and endlessly entertaining. Parabellum is a masterwork of the action genre and improves on an already fantastic action franchise. Chad Stahelski, Derek Kolstad, Keanu Reeves… please continue making John Wick movies for as long as you can.
9/10 – Amazing