|John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Chad Stahelski|
|Story by||Derek Kolstad|
by Derek Kolstad
|Edited by||Evan Schiff|
|Box office||$321.7 million|
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (also known as Parabellum, John Wick: Chapter 3 or John Wick 3) is a 2019 American neo-noir action thriller film starring Keanu Reeves as the eponymous character. 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. It also stars Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston, and Ian McShane. In the film, which takes place one hour after the events of the previous film, ex-hitman John Wick finds himself on the run from legions of assassins after a $14 million contract is put on his head due to his recent actions.
The third installment was announced in June 2017. Much of the returning cast and crew was confirmed in February 2018, with new members joining that May. Filming began that month and lasted through November, taking place in New York City, Montreal, and Morocco.
Parabellum was theatrically released in the United States on May 17, 2019, by Summit Entertainment. It has grossed $321 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of the franchise in just 10 days, and received positive reviews from critics, with praise for the action sequences, visual style, and Reeves' performance. A sequel, John Wick: Chapter 4, is in development and is set to be released on May 21, 2021.
Ten minutes after the conclusion of the previous film, former hitman John Wick is now a marked man and on the run in Manhattan. After the unsanctioned killing of crime lord and new member of the High Table Santino D'Antonio in the New York City Continental, John is declared "excommunicado" by his handlers at the High Table and placed under a $14 million bounty that rises each hour. On the run from assassins, John reaches the New York Public Library and recovers a crucifix necklace and a "marker" medallion from a secret cache in a book. He fights his way through numerous assassins until he reaches the Director, a woman from his past who used to raise him. She calls him by his real name - Jardani Jovanovich. She accepts the crucifix as a "ticket" for safe passage to Casablanca, Morocco, and has Wick branded to signify that he has used up his ticket.
Meanwhile, an Adjudicator with the High Table meets with Winston, the manager of the New York City Continental, and the Bowery King, the leader of a network of vagrant assassins. The Adjudicator admonishes both for helping John kill Santino, a new member of the high table, and both are given seven days to give up their offices or face serious consequences. The Adjudicator hires Zero, a Japanese assassin, afterwards to enforce the will of the High Table. They find the Director while she is watching her ballet students perform. The Director's penance for helping Wick by putting the ticket above the rules of the High Table is by blood, therefore Zero uses his sword to make a cut through the center of both her hands.
In Casablanca, John meets Sofia, 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, the only person known to be above the High Table, so that he can ask to have his bounty waived. John has Sofia's marker because he helped get her daughter out in the past. Sofia takes him to an assassin and her old boss named Berrada, who tells John that he may find the Elder by wandering through the desert until he cannot walk any longer. In exchange for this information, Berrada asks for one of Sofia's dogs; when Sofia refuses, he shoots the dog (who was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, so is ultimately unharmed). In retaliation, Sofia shoots Berrada, and the duo fight their way out of the kasbah and flee into the desert. Having fulfilled her marker, Sofia leaves John in the desert. Meanwhile, the Adjudicator uses Zero to accost the Bowery King because he did not agree to leave his position after 7 days. As penance the Bowery King is maimed.
John collapses from exhaustion in the desert but is found and brought to the Elder. John says he is desperate to live on to "earn" the memory of the love he once had with his wife. The Elder agrees to forgive John but only if he assassinates Winston and continues to work for the High Table until his death. To show his commitment, John severs his ring finger and gives his wedding ring to the Elder. John arrives back in New York City and is pursued by Zero's men. Zero nearly kills John before his pursuit is halted as they arrive at the New York City Continental, under threat of being declared excommunicado. John meets with Winston, who encourages John not to die as a killer but as a man who loved, and was loved by, his wife.
The Adjudicator arrives, but Winston refuses to give up his office, and John refuses to kill Winston. As a consequence, the Adjudicator "deconsecrates" the New York City Continental, revoking its protected neutral ground status. The Adjudicator notifies Zero and sends two busloads of body-armored High Table enforcers as support. With the help of the hotel's concierge, Charon, John defends the Continental from the enforcers. John is ambushed by Zero and his students. John kills all but the remaining two students, and then fatally wounds Zero.
The Adjudicator negotiates a parley with Winston, who explains the rebellion as a "show of strength" and offers penance to the High Table. John arrives, and when the Adjudicator identifies him as a threat to the negotiation, Winston shoots John repeatedly, causing John to fall off of the Continental's roof. The New York City Continental returns to operation and is "reconsecrated", but the Adjudicator informs Winston that John's body has disappeared and that he remains a threat for both of them. Meanwhile, a wounded John Wick is delivered to the heavily-scarred Bowery King, who tells John he is angry with the High Table and will be fighting against them. He asks John if he also feels pissed off, and John responds with, "Yeah".
Additionally, Riccardo Scamarcio cameos as Santino d'Antonio's corpse, Jason Mantzoukas cameos as the Tick Tock Man, Robin Lord Taylor cameos as the Administrator, Susan Blommaert plays Librarian, Tobias Segal plays Earl, and Roger Yuan, Arjon Bashiri, Tiger Chen, Vladimir and Vlado Mihailov, Danish Bhatt, and Candace M. Smith play assassins.
In October 2016, Chad Stahelski, who made his directorial debut with John Wick and served as Reeves' Matrix stunt double, stated that a third film in the John Wick series was in the works, and in June 2017 it was reported that Derek Kolstad, who wrote the two prior films, would return to write the screenplay. In January 2018, it was reported that Stahelski would return to direct.
According to Reeves, the film's title was taken from the famous 4th-century Roman military quote "Si vis pacem, para bellum," which means, "If you want peace, prepare for war." In an interview with The New York Times, McShane said that the film would be big, good, and that nothing is the same while also hinting that part of the action could be the High Table's payback not only on Wick but also on his close friend Winston.
In January 2018, it was reported that Hiroyuki Sanada was in talks to join the cast. Later, it was revealed that Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, and Lance Reddick would reprise their roles from previous John Wick films. In May 2018, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, Mark Dacascos, Jason Mantzoukas, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, and Tiger Chen joined the cast. In November 2018, Said Taghmaoui confirmed his involvement in the film.
Filming began May 5, 2018, in New York City and Montreal, along with the additional filming locations of Morocco. Principal photography wrapped on November 17, 2018. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen was asked about how challenging it was to use as many extended fight scene takes as possible while filming the high action screenplay. He stated, "Of course it is [a challenge], because all the fights—Chad [Stahelski] is doing most of the fights himself. We play that as wide as we can. Because that way we see it’s him. We do that a lot, we try to play it as wide as we can and do long shots. Of course, because Chad has a background from the stunt world he knows exactly how to block this kind of stuff. I’m not the best stunt person in the world, but I’m learning." In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Halle Berry said, "I broke three ribs in rehearsal."
Parabellum premiered in Brooklyn, New York on May 9, 2019. The film was theatrically released in the United States on May 17, 2019, by Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment. The film was released on Digital HD on August 23, 2019 and was released on DVD, Bluray, and 4K Ultra HD on September 10, 2019.
In the United States and Canada, Parabellum was released alongside A Dog's Journey and The Sun Is Also a Star and was initially projected to gross $30–40 million from 3,850 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $5.9 million from Thursday night previews, more than the total of the Thursday night previews for the previous two films ($950,000 and $2.2 million). It then made $22.7 million on its first day (including previews), increasing its projected gross to $56 million. It went on to debut at $57 million, becoming the first film to dethrone Avengers: Endgame atop the box office. It was the best opening of the series, and more than the first film made during its entire theatrical run ($43 million). In its second weekend the film made $24.4 million, finishing second behind newcomer Aladdin. It then earned $11.1 million in its third weekend and $6.4 million in its fourth.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 90% based on 315 reviews, with an average rating of 7.48/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Parabellum reloads for another hard-hitting round of the brilliantly choreographed, over-the-top action that fans of the franchise demand." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, the same as its predecessor, while those at PostTrak gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and a "definite recommend" of 75%.
Peter Sobczynski of RogerEbert.com gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, calling it "a work of pop cinema so blissfully, albeit brutally, entertaining that you come out of it feeling even more resentful of its multiplex neighbors for not making a similar effort." Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a grade of "A-", writing that "as gorgeously choreographed, gratuitously violent action movies go, it's high art". Wendy Ide of The Observer gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, calling it "a flying kick to the senses" and writing that "The spectacular third installment in Keanu Reeves's fighting franchise overwhelms with opulent martial arts set pieces".
|Saturn Awards||Best Action or Adventure Film||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Keanu Reeves||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Evan Schiff||Nominated|