John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Review

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum movie posterSynopsis
After killing on Continental Hotel grounds, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is on the run from every assassin in New York City who is looking to collect his bounty.

Review
John Wick was a surprise hit back in 2014. The 2017 sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2, maintained the same energy that made its predecessor so exciting while also expanding on the assassin underground glimpsed at in John Wick. So what does John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum bring to the franchise? Guns. Lots of guns. Right from the opening, this movie let’s you know it will be the most brutal John Wick film yet. Wick killing with a pencil from Chapter 2 appears tame compared to some of the ways he kills in this movie. Something that makes this film unique amid other actions films is how darkishly funny it is. Throughout much film, the rest of the audience and I were constantly laughing, both at how comically savage the action is and at some genuinely funny moments. Director Chad Stahelski knows that Wick’s creativity and uniqueness among his fellow action heroes is what audiences love about the titular character and brings more of what has made him so popular.

John Wick introduced the assassin underworld and briefly touches on Wick’s previous assassin life, then Chapter 2 greatly expanded on the hidden world occupied by Wick and his fellow killers. In Chapter 3, there was some expansion on his past, and a smidge more about the assassin High Table. However, world building is where this films stumbles compared to the other films in the series. Since the last film explored the assassin world, this film would have benefited from going even more into Wick’s past and his beginnings than it did.

I thought John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum was GOOD 🙂 I’m afraid of Lionsgate trying to milk as much from this series as possible. Wick’s character isn’t expanded on as much and he isn’t left in much of a different position than we’ve seen elsewhere in the series. Nonetheless, the action is why we keep coming back to this universe and once again, Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski deliver on that front. Over-the-top, balls-to-the-wall action fills the movie from start to finish, never letting you catch your breath and constantly keeping you wondering what Wick will kill with next.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Chad Stahelski – Director
Derek Kolstad – Story / Screenplay
Shay Hatten – Screenplay
Chris Collins – Screenplay
Marc Abrams – Screenplay
Tyler Bates – Composer
Joel J. Richard – Composer

Keanu Reeves – John Wick
Ian McShane – Winston
Lance Reddick – Charon
Mark Dacascos – Zero
Asia kate Dillon – The Adjudicator
Laurence Fishburne – Bowery King
Halle Berry – Sofia
Anjelica Huston – The Director
Said Taghmaoui – The Elder
Jerome Flynn – Berrada
Randall Duk Kim – Doctor
Margaret Daly – Operator
Jason Mantzoukas – Tick Tock Man

Lightning Review: The Call

The Call movie posterSynopsis
Jordan Turner (Halle Berry), a veteran 911 operator, gave up being an operator after hearing a killer kidnap a little girl who called for help. Several months later, she must once again help a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) escape abduction.

Review
The Call is a thriller that does well due to its strong leads. Halle Berry shows her acting chops as a damaged operator who is strong when she needs to be. A film about a psychopathic murderer is only as good as its psycho, and Michael Eklund delivers. He plays a deranged family man well and there were times I was truly creeped out by the character, all due to Eklund’s performance. Since Breslin spends a good portion of the movie stuck in the trunk of a car, the film feels claustrophobic. Which does great to create the environment, but I don’t particularly care for that many close-up shots. The one and a half hour running time is perfect for this movie because it keeps the story moving, maintaining a focus on finding the kidnapper. The Call may not be the perfect thriller, but Eklund’s performance is sure to give you a few jumps along the way.

Rating
3.5/5

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer

Synopsis: The X-Men must travel back in time to change a major historical event that could globally impact on man and mutant kind alike.

So if the mid-credits scene in The Wolverine didn’t get you excited for the next X-Men movie, then hopefully this trailer does the trick.  We get a solid look at most of the cast, including new mutants Bishop, Sunspot, Warpath, and Blink, as well as Bolivar Trask, the antagonist and creator of the mutant-hunting Sentinels.  The future mutants have much darker costumes than in the trilogy, cementing the bleakness they are trying to prevent.  Not much is shown from the First Class cast outside of young Professor X, young Magneto, Mystique, and Beast.  Maybe they are trying to save the reveal for the final trailer, but there wasn’t anything of Evan Peters as Quicksilver, who was probably the character I was most interested to see.

Needless to say, the cast is huge.  Returning from the X-Men Trilogy is Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, and Daniel Cudmore. Most of the core cast from X-Men: First Class is returning, including James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, and Lucas Till.  New to the series is Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, Booboo Stewart as Warpath, Omar Sy as Bishop, Bingbing Fan as Blink, Adan Canto as Sunspot, and Josh Melman as a young(er) William Stryker.  X-Men: Days of Future Past is directed by Bryan Singer (who also directed X-Men and X2) and hits theaters May 23, 2014.