"Every Action Has Consequences"
The third JOHN WICK thriller, subtitled CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, shows the former assassin fighting off hordes of assassins sent by the High Table, a global council of crime lords who rule the criminal world, because John Wick violated the High Table’s rules in Chapter Two. Starring Keanu Reeves in the title role, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM has some jaw-dropping action and martial arts fighting, and enough character development to keep viewers engaged, but too much of the violence and mayhem is particularly brutal, in an abhorrent way.
CHAPTER 3 opens where CHAPTER 2 left off, with John Wick running around the streets of New York City after the High Table excommunicated John when he broke the High Table’s rules and killed one of the organization’s council members, a vicious crime lord who wanted John to murder the crime lord’s sister. In CHAPTER 2, rather than being killed by John, the sister slit her own wrists, but John shoots her in the head before she dies so she won’t go to Hell. Her brother, however, denies the contract hit he placed on his own sister and places a contract on John to “avenge” his sister. The brother claims sanctuary in the Continental Hotel in New York, which is actually a place where assassins and High Table officials can get things they need to carry out their criminal affairs, including weapons. The brother tells John he’s not leaving the hotel and its sanctuary until the brother’s assassins succeed in killing John. So, John decides to kill the brother right there in the hotel. This, of course, violates the High Table’s rules, so they double the brother’s $7 million contract on John. However, the hotel’s criminal manager, played by Ian McShane, uses his power to give John a one hour head start. The problem is, because the High Table has excommunicated John, he no longer has access to the services at the Continental.
As CHAPTER 3 opens, John has 35 minutes left before the murder contract goes into effect at 6 pm. He rushes to the public library, where he retrieves a crucifix rosary from a book, then has to fight off an assassin who decides to violate the 6 pm deadline. After brutally dispatching the assassin, John then rushes to the head of the Belorussian crime family in New York, who’s also a member of the High Table, a woman called the Director. The crucifix rosary is actually a free passage out of the country, a marker that the woman gave John years ago. During his tense conversation with the woman, the movie reveals that John actually hails from Belorus himself and apparently was part of the crime family before he became a freelance assassin and before he retired five years ago to be with his late beloved wife. John tells the woman he needs to travel to Casablanca. She agrees.
In Casablanca, John visits an old friend, a woman named Sofia (played by Halle Berry), who owes him a favor. John wants Sofia’s help to find the one man who might have the power to restore John’s privileges at the Continental Hotel and allow him to defend himself properly. The question is, can John survive the trip back to New York and get to the Continental Hotel before he’s assassinated?
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM offers moviegoers almost wall-to-wall action. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the action comes with a lot of brutal, abhorrent violence, including people being stabbed in the head and once in the eye, dozens of people being shot point blank in the head and other parts of their bodies, and Sofia’s two dogs leaping onto several bad guys to viciously tear their groin. Admittedly, the martial arts stunt work in CHAPTER 3 is very impressive, as is a spectacular motorcycle chase scene that may be the movie’s best action set-piece and that doesn’t seem half as brutal as the other extreme violence in the movie. The sound of the hundreds of gunshots in the movie are hyper realistic, however, so viewers with sensitive ears should exercise extreme caution.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 has some overt Christian references and symbols linked to the story and some of the characters and settings. So, the story is partly about redemption, symbolically speaking. For example, the rosary crucifix offers John Wick free passage to another place where he can find some absolution for breaking the rules. Accompanying this symbolic redemptive content is a line that’s repeated by John Wick and one or two other characters, “Every action has consequences.”
Also, like the other two movies, despite all the violence, John Wick has a higher moral code than most of the other characters in the story. He’s more honest and more loyal, and there are some things he won’t do. Also, he shows mercy to his opponents if they survive at the end of their deadly fights with John. However, he’s not above killing and trying to kill his opponents to stop them from killing him.
Ultimately, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM has enough explosive action, jeopardy and character development to keep viewers interested and engaged for a couple hours. However, the violence is often excessive and is sometimes so shockingly brutal that it becomes abhorrent. The movie also contains several “f” words but no strong profanities. Finally, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM seems to have a strong mixed pagan worldview with some light humanist content where the message is “survival of the fittest” and often “kill or be killed,” combined with some light symbolic Christian, redemptive content and light moral elements. The “hero” in the movie must survive an evil criminal world so he is a mixture of dark and light himself. He was the first assassin allowed by the High Table to retire and get married, but then they killed his wife, killed his dog and destroyed his house.
The third JOHN WICK movie, subtitled CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, opens where the second movie ended. The High Table, a global criminal council that rules the criminal world, offers a $14 million bounty to assassinate John Wick, who broke their rules. Worse, the council denies John access to the criminal services and sanctuary of the Continental Hotel in New York, where John can get help to defend himself, including guns and bullets. After dispatching multiple assassins, John travels to Casablanca to find the one man who has the power to restore John’s privileges at the Continental Hotel and allow him to defend himself properly.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM offers wall-to-wall action. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the action comes with brutal, abhorrent violence where people are wounded or killed in horrible ways. The movie has a mixed pagan worldview. Light humanist content of “survival of the fittest” and “kill or be killed” is mixed with light symbolic Christian, redemptive content and moral elements. It’s the brutality of some of the violence, however, that makes JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 abhorrent enough to reject.