Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
John Wick 3: Parabellum
Directed by Chad Stahelski
Written by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams
Coming back again with the third installment of what can easily be a long continuing series of Action Thrillers, John Wick 3 delivers the phenomenal tactical action film that has a ever growing fan base that may soon change how other action films are made. Of course imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and this film not only delivers with the action sequences, but also has a wonderfully delivered subtle storyline that hints there is so much more going on than we know. Four writers on this film seemed to be the right balance here of action just slightly topping the story.
Here comes the spoilers.
Keanu Reeves continues where the events of John Wick 2 left us. He is on the run with a high bounty on his head. He pulls every favor and pushes upon the very few relationships he has to stay one step ahead of death as it comes full force at him. Since he killed a member of the high table, a mysterious group of what can be assumed are one percenters who control the fate of the world with their network of assassins, John is now ‘excommunicado’ from the table and everyone is now out to kill him for the huge contract payoff. John manages to enlist the help of Sofia (Halle Berry), a former friend whom John helped to hide her daughter for safety. John and Sofia find out the location of the Elder who is over the High Table. The film gets a bit hokey here in the desert, but other than this sequence of John officially getting back in the network by cutting off his finger is a bit too much.. I completely expected him to kill the Elder and his men and thereby sending a message to the High Table he is coming after them next. That is the only major story change I would have made by having John decide to take on the High Table earlier in the film.
Meanwhile in New York, an adjudicator for the High Table comes to investigate the murder of one of its members at the Continental. She eventually tracks down the people who helped John and as penance maims them. She gives the manager of the Continental, Winston, seven days to give up his position or face death. John comes back to New York and action sequences galore eventually have him reunite with Winston (Ian McShane) and they both unite to fight back against the High Table. This is where an element gets introduced that I found fascinating, the High Table Enforcers. The highly armored enforcers have bullet proof helmets and body armor as they know every assassin would shoot for the head. Brilliant. Once John figures this out he goes back to Winston’s armory for armor piercing rounds. What a great way to elevate the stakes for our hero. The film ends with a great setup for the next film as John is now joining forces with the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) to finally take on the High Table (which I felt should’ve been decided earlier in the film).
The featured assassin in this film is named Zero (Mark Dacascos), who is a fan of John’s. The scenes with them are very engaging and at times hilarious given the context of them locked in a fight to the death. I really would have lied to have seen a return of Cassian (Common) from John Wick 2 at some point in the film. I would have had Zero get kicked out of the building and presumably fall to his death, but come back again possibly teamed up with Cassian and others to get John in a later film in the franchise. It just seems a waste of a layered villain to just kill off.
I feel the series is still going strong, and as long as they can deliver a compelling and intriguing backstory to drive the action then we can expect to see many more films featuring John Wick. I just hope the creators can hold off on any prequels for as long as possible as that is typically the sign of them running out of fresh ideas.
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