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Chad Stahelski
Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
Writing Credits:
Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, Marc Abrams

John Wick is on the run after killing a member of the international assassin's guild.

Box Office:
$75 million.
Opening Weekend
$56,818,067 on 3850 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 131 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 9/10/2019

• “Legacy of the High Table” Featurette
• “Excommunicado” Featurette
• “Check Your Sights” Featurette
• “Saddle Up, Wick” Featurette
• “Bikes, Blades, Bridges and Bits” Featurette
• “Continental in the Desert” Featurette
• “Dog Fu” Featurette
• “House of Transparency” Featurette
• “Shot By Shot” Featurette
• Trailers & Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


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John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 27, 2019)

Whereas most movie franchises lose steam as they go, the John Wick series proceeds in the other direction. The first film from 2014 earned $88 million worldwide, a nice return on investment for an unheralded flick with a $20 million budget, but nothing stunning.

2017’s John Wick: Chapter 2 doubled that budget and also almost doubled the gross. It managed $171 million worldwide, nearly twice as much as its predecessor.

The profits kept coming with 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. It upped the budget to $75 million but continued the increase in ticket sales, as it managed $321 million worldwide, another take that approached twice what its predecessor did.

I admit I’ll feel shocked to see this progression continue, as I can’t imagine a hard-“R” action flick like the in-the-works John Wick: Chapter 4 will take in $600 million worldwide. That said, I didn’t see any of this franchise’s upward trajectory in advance, so I won’t rule out the possibility.

Parabellum picks up almost immediately after the conclusion to Chapter 2. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) killed a crime lord without the approval of a body called the “High Table”, and this leaves him on the outs among the assassin community.

As punishment for his sins, the High Table declares John “excommunicado” and sanctions a large bounty on his head. The Table gives John a one-hour head start before this takes effect, but once the “grace period” ends, a slew of professional killers will come after him.

Boy, will they, as John finds himself under fire everywhere he turns. John winds up in a constant fight to stay alive.

Wasn’t that basically the plot to the first two movies? “John kills a lot of people who want to kill him” seems to be the general theme.

Despite the absence of real plot, the first Wick worked. It seemed fresh and creative enough in its action choreography to keep the viewer involved.

Also, John’s motives felt organic and believable. The original movie’s John reacted to pain connected to the loss of his wife, as the actions of some baddies rubbed salt in that wound.

Because Chapter 2 took place four days after the first movie and Parabellum immediately follows Chapter 2, that sense of narrative purpose should remain alive, but it doesn’t. Even though three films cover only about a week of John’s life, they don’t feel as connected as they should, so our link to John’s loss in the original movie seems long gone by now.

On one hand, I like the ambition of three movies that cover such a brief period of time, as that adds a layer of impact to the proceedings. On the other hand, the short chronology demands a massive suspension of disbelief.

Admittedly, all the Wick movies require the viewer to check his/her brain at the door because they’re absurd on the surface. John’s skills as an assassin approach supernatural levels, and the amount of abuse his body takes also puts him in a virtually god-like place, as no real person could absorb all that violence.

The more movies we see, the more difficult it becomes to accept that John exists in any form of real world. Heck, maybe he doesn’t – maybe John actually died early in the first film and everything after that sends him to purgatory as he battles his way to heaven.

Until/unless that revelation occurs, we have to view John as a human still on the mortal coil, and that seems tougher and tougher to swallow, especially because each film ups the action ante. Chapter 2 needed to be at least 50 percent wilder than the first movie, and Parabellum needs to go 50 percent crazier than that.

As such, we find a flick with absurd levels of action – and ridiculous action at that. For a little while, this can be a kick, as the sheer audacity of the violence and stunts keeps the viewer invested through the first act.

But then ennui sets in, as the samey-samey nature of the story gets tiresome. Basically, Parabellum progresses this way:

-Ultra-violent action scene;

-Exposition about rules and regulations among killers;

-Another ultra-violent action scene;

-More exposition about rules and regulations;

-Lather, rinse, etc.

Boy, does Parabellum likes its rules and regulations! Of course, the first two movies dug into those as well, but I don’t think those flicks ground to a halt for pedantic exposition like Parabellum does.

I get that the movie needs to hit pause every once in a while, as a movie that literally presents 122 minutes of violent action would exhaust the audience. Parabellum already risks that issue as it stands, so obviously it needs some peace on occasion.

I just wish it used the dramatic moments to better effect. As it stands, these feel sluggish and stiff, so they add little to the experience.

I know I’ll see a fourth Wick, but I can’t say I look forward to it. Each film works less well than its predecessor, and Parabellum winds up as a loud, repetitive disappointment.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum appears in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a quality presentation.

For the most part, sharpness worked well. A little softness occasionally hit some wide elements, but the majority of the movie boasted accurate delineation.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I witnessed no instances of edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the proceedings.

To the surprise of no one, Parabellum heavily emphasized teal, though it threw out orange, amber, green, red and purple as well. I guess that passes for a “broad palette” these days. The disc replicated the hues as intended.

Blacks seemed dense and deep, while shadows offered appropriate smoothness and clarity. The Blu-ray reproduced the film well.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack added oomph to the proceedings, as the soundscape opened up matters in a positive manner. Music offered nice breadth and filled the channels in a consistent manner.

With a mix of lively scenes, the soundfield offered a lot of chances for fireworks, and it used them well. Gunfire, explosions, car chases – all the usual action components popped up and created an involving impression.

Audio quality appeared good, with speech that came across as natural and distinctive. Effects also seemed accurate and tight, with clear reproduction of these components.

Music worked well, as the songs/score boasted solid range and dimensionality. This became a more than satisfactory track for the film.

The disc includes a bunch of featurettes, and Legacy of the High Table fills 10 minutes, 57 seconds with notes from director Chad Stahelski, producers Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee, production designer Kevin Kavanaugh, and actors Keanu Reeves, Asia Kate Dillon, Jason Mantzoukas, Ian McShane, Anjelica Huston and Saïd Taghmaoui.

“Legacy” looks at challenges related to sequels as well as story/character domains, sets and production design. Some decent notes result but a lot of this remains promotional.

Next comes Excommunicado, a nine-minute, 44-second reel with Stahelski, Reeves, Lee, Mantzoukas, Dillon, fight choreographer/stunt coordinator Jonathan Eusebio, ballet choreographer Tiler Peck, ballerina Unity Phelan, writer Derek Kolstad, and actors Mark Dacascos, Laurence Fishburne, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman.

With this show, we take a look at supporting characters, stunts and action. Like “Legacy”, this one lacks real depth, but it gives a few useful insights.

Check Your Sights occupies nine minutes, 55 seconds with remarks from Eusebio, Reeves, Stahelski, stunt double Jackson Speidel, stunts Heidi Moneymaker, and actor Halle Berry.

Here we learn about the actors’ physical training, with an emphasis on the work Reeves and Berry put into their parts. Like the other clips, this one mixes facts and fluff.

After this we find Saddle Up Wick, a five-minute, 10-second piece with Reeves, Stahelski, stunts/horsemaster Tad Griffith, supervising stunt coordinator Scott Rogers, 2nd unit director Darrin Prescott, and VFX supervisor Robert Nederhorst. “Saddle” examines the movie’s horse-riding scenes, and it becomes another decent overview.

Bikes, Blades, Bridges and Bits fills six minutes, 35 seconds with comments from Reeves, Stahelski, Lee, Eusebio, Nederhorst, Rogers, and Prescott.

“Bits” covers elements related to the movie’s bike chase scene. It follows the same path as its predecessors, so expect a moderately informative program.

Next comes Continental In the Desert, a 10-minute, 15-second featurette with Reeves, Iwanyk, Kavanaugh, Stahelski, Berry, Lee, Taghmaoui, location manager Christian McWilliams, director of photography Dan Laustsen, co-writer Shay Hatten, and actors Jerome Flynn and Aïssam Bouali. “Desert” views the Moroccan shoot and delivers some decent notes.

Canines come to the fore in the eight-minute, four-second Dog Fu. We hear from Lee, Rogers, Moneymaker, Flynn, Stahelski, Berry, Reeves, dog trainers Kimberley Andrews and Greg Smith Aldridge, and executive producer Jeff G. Waxman.

As expected, we learn about the movie’s furry cast and their use in the movie. The show gives us some fun insights.

In House of Transparency, we get a seven-minute, 10-second clip with Stahelski, Waxman, Lee, Eusebio, Kavanuagh, Dacascos, Rogers, Laustsen, Ruhian, Rahman, Nederhorst, senior illustrator Alex Nice and stunt double Jackson Spidell.

“House” digs into one major set that appears late in the film. We get some good details from this program.

Finally, Shot By Shot occupies eight minutes, 57 seconds with info from Stahelski and editor Evan Schiff. They discuss some aspects of the film’s editing in this fairly informative piece.

The disc opens with ads for Hellboy (2019), Rambo: Last Blood, Anna, American Gods Season 2 and Angel Has Fallen. We also get two trailers for Parabellum.

Also in the promotional realm, we see a game trailerBehind the Scenes reel for John Wick: Hex. The latter runs six minutes, 54 seconds and features Eusebio and game director/writer Mike Bithell. It comes with some decent notes but lacks anything to make it special.

After the first movie launched the series well, the second flick sputtered and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum continues the downward spiral. Though its action thrills for much of the first act, the film soon becomes repetitive and tedious. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with a decent array of bonus materials. Maybe John Wick: Chapter 4 will rebound, but Parabellum disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7 Stars Number of Votes: 10
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