Tag Archives: Chad Stahelski

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) Review

Time: 131 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Ian McShane as Winston
Mark Dacascos as Zero
Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King
Asia Kate Dillon as the Adjudicator of the High Table.
Halle Berry as Sofia
Lance Reddick as Charon
Anjelica Huston as the Director
Director: Chad Stahelski

After gunning down a member of the High Table — the shadowy international assassin’s guild — legendary hit man John Wick finds himself stripped of the organization’s protective services. Now stuck with a $14 million bounty on his head, Wick must fight his way through the streets of New York as he becomes the target of the world’s most ruthless killers.

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John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum was one of my most anticipated films of 2019. John Wick was a surprise hit upon its release back in 2014, no one expected it to be as great as it was, but with the action scenes, along with Keanu Reeves’s great turn as the titular character, it all really worked. Chapter 2 showed that the first movie wasn’t just a fluke, and continued the story and expanded the lore even further. And now, John Wick Chapter 3 has cemented this trilogy as one of the all time best action trilogies.

Chapter 3 picks up right after the previous film, with John on the run. It is more of a straightforward action movie, but at the same time leave some room to expand the lore and Wick’s story, and these scenes aren’t just used as breathing room between the scenes. The lore is one of the highlights of these movies and the expanding of it didn’t disappoint. Story-wise I feel like nothing could top the first movie because of how personal it is for the main character, whereas in Chapters 2 and 3 he’s forced into situations, in the first movie it’s a decision that he returns to his old life. That’s not to say however that every John Wick post the first movie has a weak story, Chapter 3’s story is actually handled quite well, at over 2 hours long it had my attention from start to finish. By the end I was on board with however long they want to make this series, I’ll be there watching every single one of them.

At this point I don’t think it’s controversial in the slightest to say that John Wick is Keanu Reeves’s role. Of course, everyone knows that he can do the action well, but on a performance level he’s also really good. There is this inner darkness and drive that you can see within him, it’s subtle but he conveys so well. Some cast members from the previous movies also make their appearance and all really add to the movie, particularly Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, Ian McShane as Winston and Lance Reddick as Charon, they all work well. I also liked the additions, with the shining example being Halle Berry. She’s not in the movie as much as you’d think but she makes the most of the screentime that she does have, demonstrating that her character is at least on par with John Wick. I hope we get to see more of her in a sequel or something similar. Asia Kate Dillon plays the Adjudicator sent by the High Table, who meant to represent them. Unlike the rest of the supporting cast, she comes across as feeling a little weaker but I guess with how she’s written there’s not a whole lot that she could really do in the role. Faring much better as an antagonist is Mark Dacascos as Zero, the main assassin sent after Wick (and is probably the main villain of the movie). He was threatening, entertaining and all around worked perfectly for the movie, especially as a threat to John.

Chad Stahelski like with the past two movie directs this well. The action scenes as to be expected are great, no close up, shaky cam or quick cut editing that plagues some modern action movies, you can clearly see what’s going on and it’s all choreographed really well. The body count is tripled from the previous movies. If you thought that Wick killing people with a pencil was impressive, just wait till you see what he does in the opening scenes. With there being even more action than the past two movies, this could’ve resulted in some action fatigue but Stahelski and co. manage to bypass this by keeping each action scene fresh, with different environments and situations (yes, John Wick even rides a horse at one point). If there’s one small gripe I had with what I watched, its that certain action scenes felt like they went for a little too long, as much as I liked them. The movie like the previous two manage to show off John Wick as clearly being a lot more capable than most of the people he’s up against while making it seem like he could die and isn’t invincible. There are some moments in Chapter 3 where it does feel like he’s invincible but for the most part it’s handled well. Chapter 2 was stunning looking and that continues into Chapter 3, it’s not surprising that both films have the same cinematographer. Tyler Bates’s score works perfectly with the John Wick series, so glad he returned for the third movie, it just elevates everything to a new level.

John Wick Chapter 3 lives up to all the hype and surpassed it, I loved the story and the expansion of the world and lore, and of course Keanu Reeves delivers as always as the now iconic titular character. This, as well as Mad Max Fury Road and Mission Impossible Fallout are some of the most overwhelming cinema experiences I’ve had with regard to action movies. I’m completely on board for this series, I can’t wait to see more of John Wick, the rest of the characters and more of this world.

John Wick Chapter 2 (2017) Review

Time: 122 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence and suicide
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Riccardo Scamarcio as Santino D’Antonio
Common as Cassian
Laurence Fishburne as The Bowery King
Ruby Rose as Ares
John Leguizamo as Aurelio
Ian McShane as Winston
Director: Chad Stahelski

Retired super-assassin John Wick’s (Keanu Reeves) plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) shows up on his doorstep with a gold marker, compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston (Ian McShane), kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization’s ancient code, Wick reluctantly accepts the assignment to travel to Rome to take out D’Antonio’s sister (Claudia Gerini), the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate.

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John Wick Chapter 2 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. The original John Wick was great, with its fantastic direction, interesting world and likable main character. So naturally, with one of the directors of the original returning for the sequel, I was looking forward to it. Chapter 2 met all my expectations and even surpassed them. It explored its world even further, its action sequences are even greater than in the original, John Wick Chapter 2 is one of the best action sequels in recent memory.

John Wick Chapter 2 is longer than the original, 2 hours compared to the original’s 1 hour 40 minute runtime. A lot of that is due to Chapter 2 delving deeper into the criminal underworld, which was one of the highlights in the previous movie. There’s a way that these criminals operate and seeing more of the fantastic world created was very intriguing. If there’s any potential flaws story wise, I guess maybe Wick’s motivation isn’t quite as strong as in the first movie, in the original it was for revenge, in the second he’s more forced into a situation. With that said, it’s a bit of a minor issue. Chapter 2 is paced quite well, although pretty fast, it’s slow enough that it allows time for the movie to explore the story and the world. I won’t spoil what happens at the end, but I’ll say that I’m very intrigued in what direction Chapter 3 will go in.

Keanu Reeves is effortlessly great as John Wick, as I said in my John Wick review, this role is perfect for him. He can show off his skill as an action star while being convincing and show a lot of emotion in the role. And this movie is no exception. There are a lot of great supporting characters and actors, some of them returning like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick and John Leguizamo, McShane particularly stealing the spotlight effortlessly. There are also some newer characters that are added which were great to see. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Laurence Fishburne (it did feel like he was put in the movie for fanservice, since him and Reeves were in The Matrix), but maybe we’ll see more of him in the sequel. The same goes for Peter Stormare’s character. The main villain played by Riccardo Scamarcio was okay. He didn’t leave as much of a presence compared to Michael Nyqvist’s Viggo from the first movie, but he wasn’t bad, he worked quite well for the story and I do understand some of the ideas that were put into place with his character. The secondary villains with Common and Ruby Rose were really good and served their parts really well.

The direction of Chapter 2 is once again fantastic. There are so many great action set pieces, not one of them have any flaws and they are all consistently entertaining. They are fast, brutal and thrilling. The third act was especially great (including a sequence involving mirrors). The stunts themselves were also incredible. Another thing that makes these action sequences work so well is that everything is edited to perfection, every cut made is necessary and you can tell what’s going on, the camera doesn’t unnecessarily shake. The colour scheme of the movie is perfect, this movie is beautiful, the cinematography was excellent throughout. Honestly for the movie that they were going for, the direction is perfect. The soundtrack by Tyler Bates was also very effective.

John Wick Chapter 2 is truly a great movie. All the aspects from the previous movie have returned, with the great main character, excellent direction and its fascinating world. Chapter 2 expands on most of these aspects, culminating in a film which is quite possibly superior to the original. I can’t wait to see Chapter 3 in about 2/3 years. The John Wick series is one of the best action film series’ in recent years.

John Wick (2014) Review

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Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence & offensive language
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Michael Nyqvist as Viggo Tarasov
Alfie Allen as Iosef Tarasov
Adrianne Palicki as Ms. Perkins
Bridget Moynahan as Helen Wick
Dean Winters as Avi
Ian McShane as Winston
John Leguizamo as Aurelio
Willem Dafoe as Marcus
Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

After the sudden death of his beloved wife, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) receives one last gift from her, a beagle puppy named Daisy, and a note imploring him not to forget how to love. But John’s mourning is interrupted when his 1969 Boss Mustang catches the eye of sadistic thug Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) who breaks into his house and steals it, beating John unconscious and leaving Daisy dead. Unwittingly, they have just reawakened one of the most brutal assassins the underworld has ever seen.

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With the sequel coming sometime soon, I thought I should give my thoughts on the original John Wick. John Wick was one of the most surprising movies of 2014. It wasn’t just a standard Keanu Reeves action flick, it was actually something special, garnering a strong reception and following. It is an entertaining and thrilling action movie.

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The story really isn’t anything special. It’s a revenge story, just with the main character being a former hitman. It’s the execution of the story that makes this movie work so well. The story is set out well, the pace never feeling too fast or too long. The world of John Wick is one of the stand out parts of the movie (which is saying a lot). The world is absolutely incredible and interesting, laid out well. I can’t wait to see how the sequel explores this world. This movie is engaging and riveting, it really never lost my attention once.

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This is the best Keanu Reeves has ever been in a movie (it’s also probably the best movie that Keanu Reeves has ever been in). He is really is believable in this role, and not just in the action scenes, he does actually act well in this movie, he’s not just playing Keanu Reeves like he has in certain other movies. It really does help that Keanu Reeves does his own stunts, it is much easier to buy him as this character. The supporting performances were also great. Michael Nyqvust was quite effective as the main villain as Iosef’s father (and a mob boss), completely owning every scene he’s in. Also, Willem Dafoe, Alfie Allen, Ian McShane and even John Leguizamo were good in their roles (however I would’ve liked if we saw more of Willem Dafoe).

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The action is absolutely fantastic. It doesn’t have a lot of shaky cam or unnecessary quick cuts like most action movies nowadays have. The stunt work was also fantastic (it helps with both directors being stunt men), the fights are intense and don’t feel fake at all. Another thing I liked was that although John Wick is incredibly good at what he does, he’s still human, he doesn’t always win perfectly against people just because he’s John Wick. That makes the action a lot more riveting, he’s not just Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando or something. In terms of the standout action scene, there’s a sequence that takes place in a nightclub (which reminded me of the nightclub scene in Collateral). In terms of flaws, I guess maybe the last action sequence was slightly underwhelming but that’s probably because everything else in the film was so great that it just paled in comparison.

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John Wick has a fantastic world, solid performances, entertaining action, everything you want from an action movie. As I said, the concept of the story itself is nothing special, it’s the execution that makes this film so excellent. If you haven’t already, definitely see John Wick when you can, especially before seeing the sequel which comes out (or already came out depending where you are in the world).