Some early reviews for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum are here, and they are chock full o’ praise for Chad Stahelski‘s latest action-heavy franchise flick starring Keanu Reeves in the title role. Reviews praise the action, Stahelski’s direction, and Reeves’ performance in a trilogy topper that many call “the best of the franchise (so far).” There’s also a lot of talk about how much gas the John Wick franchise has left in the tank as the third installment further develops the mythology without either limiting itself or deliberately setting up a fourth film. Some exceptions to the almost universal praise criticized the story’s preference for action and body-count over the emotional core of the story. Regardless, it sounds like a big, fun, insane ride at the movies, so buckle up.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum opens May 17th and also stars Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Saïd Taghmaoui, Jerome Flynn, Jason Mantzoukas, Tobias Segal, Boban Marjanovic, with Anjelica Huston, and Ian McShane.
Check out some snippets from reviews making the rounds today, and keep an eye out for our own review next week!
THR – John DeFore
More thrilling ass-kickery than even dedicated fans could expect.
Vox (3.5 out of 5) –
Whatever it lacks in narrative intelligence it makes up abundantly in visual moxie, and in a medium that is first and foremost visual, that’s what makes something great. I love the John Wick movies; I’m not alone. Let’s hope they always aim to be as great as a ballet.
EW (A-) – Chris Nashawaty
I don’t mean to give the impression that John Wick 3 is anything grander than a gorgeously choreographed, gratuitously violent action movie. But as gorgeously choreographed, gratuitously violent action movies go, it’s high art.
Uproxx – Mike Ryan
Like John Wick himself, this third chapter feels like a lean, mean, fighting machine – and, yes, it’s the best film of the franchise so far, even surpassing the first film. There are moments in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum where I thought to myself, “Well, I’ve never seen that before.”
Bloody Disgusting (3.5 out of 5) – William Bibbiani
Let’s be clear: we are lucky to have the John Wick films. These are masterpieces of action choreography, filmed with an eye for light and color unlike most other American films. Cinematographer Dan Laustsen deserves an Oscar nomination for this unbelievably gorgeous movie. Keanu Reeves has aged into an actor of quiet gravitas and the material is tailor-made to his laconic, ephemeral strengths. The action choreography is second to none, and thank heavens for it.
But these films have gone so far down the rabbit hole of myth-building minutiae that they’ve lost sight of the emotional core of the character. Instead, all we’ve got for two-thirds of John Wick: Chapter 3 is empty, contrived plot. That hollowness is all that prevents these excellent and entertaining action sequels from achieving instant classic status.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum had the potential to be one of the best action movies ever made. Instead, it’s just super badass. (We should all have such problems.)
/Film (9 out of 10) – Chris Evangelista
There’s more to John Wick: Chapter 3 than just incredible action. Like the second film, Chapter 3 expands on the mythology and world-building, opening up the world John inhabits even wider … And yet, there’s always thought put into things, to the point where even the grandest absurdities have their own kind of logic. It makes for a highly enjoyable world that we want to spend more time in, and learn more about. That’s the true brilliance of this franchise. To just have John killing off people, with no real meaning, would get old fast. But by constantly expanding this heightened reality, we can’t help but get drawn deeper and deeper into this Wonderland, tumbling down a rabbit hole, waiting to see where it all goes. By the time John Wick: Chapter 3 ends, you’ll be almost as exhausted as John Wick himself. And just like him, you’ll be ready to come back for more.
We Got This Covered (4 out of 5) – Matt Donato
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum features the same cyclical franchise storytelling, but as executed thus far, further evolves action with newfound freshness and invigoration that ensures John Wick is Hollywood’s most reliable action star.