Tag Archives: Chad Stahelski

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) Movie Review By The Movie Couple

John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum Review

Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad (screenplay by), Shay Hatten (screenplay by)
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane

Movie Couple here!  We went to see John Wick Chapter Three Parabellum this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.
Mrs. Movie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum continues the adventures of the World’s Most feared assassin, the Baba Yaga, John Wick.  When last we saw the reluctant killer, he was declared EXCOMUNICADO by the order of assassins (The High Table?) and was given a one hour reprieve before essentially every killer in the world would be able to act on an astronomical bounty placed on his head.  Not only that, but he now would have no access to any rights and privileges normally bestowed upon those in his line of work (All amply demonstrated in the two previous films).  That is all one needs to know about the plot of Parabellum, as the plot starts immediately from the conclusion of Chapter Two.  It should go without saying that one should see BOTH John Wick and John Wick Chapter Two in order to follow the various points and characters seen in this movie, but if one is looks for kick ass action and doesn’t care about the setting or plot I believe you could still enjoy this film, but I’m positive you’ll go back and watch the first two afterwards!  Keanu Reeves reprises his role as the titular assassin supreme.  Ian McShane, Lance Riddick and Laurence Fishburne also return as old allies of Mr. Wick.  We are blessed by the appearance of Angelica Houston as The Director, a woman tied to John’s very mysterious past.  We are also introduced to new adversaries in Marc Dacascos as Ninja Assassin Zero and Asia Kate Dillion as The Adjudicator who brings new layers to the already deep world of John Wick (Wickerverse?)  As you may expect, bullets fly, blood is spilt, head’s explode, knives are stuck!  Kung Fu/Karate is utilised!  The action is on par with the other Wick films and does not disappoint.  At this point the action is the draw, but the world building these movies have managed to create keeps growing and drawing the fans in.  This movie sheds some light into John’s past (We don’t spoil here) and continues to build on the franchises unique world.  In that aspect it continues to succeed.  At other times it leaves us wondering…..Just how many times can we see a person get shot in the head?  Directed by Chad Stahelski the movie seamlessly takes us from the end of Chapter Two right into Chapter Three as if watching one long movie, which is the point!  The action scenes, especially the first quarter of the film as John attempts to flee New York with his life is filled with one spectacular action sequence after another.  Just amazing.  Later we meet characters old and new (including Halle Berry in a role that looks to be heading for a spinoff) that extends John’s odyssey across the globe.  So now much like the famous John Wick line “Am I back?  Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back!”  for more Wick!  But is it good?  Give me your coin, check into the Continental and lets discuss!

So here we go!

Mr. Movie Couple:  I love the Wick films and this one did not let me down.  The beginning section, as John escapes New York, is all frantic, kinetic chase and combat scenes.  Demonstrating John’s ability to improvise and utilise blades just as well as he does guns.  In a film full of action combat scenes these were my favourite.  The question with all John Wick movies is does one stay invested as John cuts down faceless enemy after faceless enemy?  The first film kept us rooting for John’s revenge, the second also had us pulling to see John avenge himself against the smug puppeteer that forced him back into the game.  Chapter Three was missing that for me.  It has no clear cut enemy to root against.  We are all pulling for John naturally, but while the Adjudicator was an interesting addition to the assassin world of Wick, she is of course simply doing her job.  Even the Ninja Master assassin Zero, who had a very interesting  quirk of being a Wick fanboy while attempting to kill him (which I think could have been played up to an even higher level) was cool but we didn’t yearn for John to drop him.  It seemed more inevitable than actually satisfying.  That would be my only fault in an otherwise great action flick.  Wick Three lacked a villain we just couldn’t wait to see John take out!  That and I felt in an attempt to humanise our hero he began to lose that dread that was associated with even mentioning his name that was so painstakingly built up in the previous two films.  Some respect seemed to be falling from the Wick persona in exchange to see him as an underdog  Still and all a fantastic action film and one I would recommend, but despite being great I found it to be the weakest of the Wick entries were I forced to rank them. Reeves still presents a character to remember for years to come.  His John Wick remains a cinema legend in the making

Mrs. Movie Couple:  She enjoyed it far more than she expected to!  Having only seen Wick 1 and 2 at home (before this Movie Couple endeavour) she knew what to expect going in. Action, especially on the level of a John Wick movie is usually not her cup of tea, but she loved the first Wick with its romance angle and loss of the now famous dog.  She nearly teared up seeing John miss his wife in the way he did.  The next two chapters , while motivated by those moments, have distanced themselves from them to the point that she misses John’s true motivation in the sequels. This one even more so than the previous.  This one has far less heart she said after the film.  She likes how these films go out of the way to show that no one innocent are killed.  Each and every victim knew the world they were entering and take part in it willingly. She really took notice of the break in the fight between John and Zero that stopped in its tracks as a school bus of children passed between them. Overall she loved Reeves as an actor, falling in love with Theodore Logan oh so many years ago (Be Excellent to each other) and she loves the performances of the Continental staff Mr.’s McShane and Riddick but she found this instalment a bit boring and in her words, did not advance the story enough for her tastes.  Overall she didn’t hate it or wish to leave, but it was just OK and a severe drop off from Chapters 1 and 2.

On the way home, we did continue to talk of the Wickerverse, or World of Wick.  The Continental(s) and the Adjudicator were the points most discussed. The drive home always clarifies how we felt about a movie.  Silence is not golden, silence is bad.  We were not silent after Wick 3.  I give it 5 Bills, could have gone 6 if a better villain had been delivered. The Mrs. gives it 3 Bills, So we give John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum 4 Bills!  I say take my money!  I look forward to another visit to the Wick Universe (which sort of is teased)!  She says Meh.  So we’ll go with an average of Pretty Good!  Money well spent.

So until the next date night, which Mrs Movie Couple says will be her choice, so look forward to Aladdin or Rocketman, but I may get a chance to drag her to Godzilla King of the Monsters first so wish me luck!  We will see you next time!  Movie Coupe out!

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: Chad Stahelski
Writers: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reeves,  Riccardo Scamarcio,  Ian McShane

John Wick returns or should that be forced back to the criminal underworld to repay a debt to Santino D’Antonio played by Riccardo Scamarcio. Having reviewed the first film only a few short months ago it was always my intention to follow it up and the second chapter’s release announcement is which motivated me to go back and watch the original film in preparation for its sequel.

John Wick Chapter 2 pits Wick (Keanu Reeves) relentless character against the criminal underworld once more. Reeves once again proves that his character is a force to be reckoned with in the sequel that is in my opinion every bit as fun as the original movie. Every once in a while an action film comes along that can either go two ways. Keeping in mind that most action films you find that you have to put your brain a suspended animation kennel (yeah yeah I nicked that from Back to the Future Part II) and accepted the genre for what it is. These movies are either done very well or……they aren’t. It’s as simple as that I’m afraid.

Artistically this sequel holds up to its original. The style of cinematography, the choreography, the action sequences and the direction I could go on about but if you have already read my review on John Wick you would accuse me of repeating myself. In fact now, you are probably accusing me of being Last and forcing you back to read a previous review….what can I say? Chad Stahelski hits the ground running in the next chapter of the man the criminals call “The Boogieman” The feel and tone of the film is very much in line with the first. It’s vibrant colors (especially within the layers of the amphitheater scenes are visually pleasing on the eye and surprisingly compliment the violence and chaos within those scenes.

The sound is amazing and not only adds another layer to the action sequences but and especially with the weapons used. I thought the scene with Wick and Cassian (Common) having a stand off that results in the use of silencers in very public places surprisingly amusing and after all the violence in this sequence, topping it of is both of them going to the bar to have a drink and cool off. The sequel was always going to be bigger and better and with most sequels it doesn’t disappoint when the director and writers want to expand on the characters stories and relationships within this underworld. Also pleasing was involving the majority of the cast from the original John Wick. If I had one bugbear in comparisons was probably the sequences were a little more drawn out than in the first movie and again it’s just nitpicking as I always enjoyed the straightforward approach Reeves character portrays in the original.

Although it didn’t come as a surprise thanks to the trailer that was released was the inclusion of the new character Bowery King played by Laurence Fishburne who although had limited screen time I believe that the character has been planted in there and will resume a larger role in the sequel which has only been announced not that long ago and is scheduled for a 2019 release date. Fishburne as you know never disappoints and with Reeves and Fishburne working so brilliantly in the past you are not surprised that both actors chemistry is still there but a nice twist to their relationship would be to put them up against each other in the next movie, but we shall see.

The villain portrayed by Riccardo Scamarcio is convincing enough and is a different kettle of fish to the villain in the first movie. Scamarcio’s portrayal of D’Antonio is more sophisticated and calculated than Michael Nyqvist’s Viggo Tarasov who very much like the villain in Taken 2 is an underground boss and father seeking revenge. Here D’Antonio is calling in Wick’s debt in hiring him as an assassin on D’Antonio’s own sister in a bizarre and twisted move to gain more power “at the table” Also returning is Winston (Ian McShane) but this time having more screentime and dialogue. I always enjoyed this character from the first movie and felt McShane’s talents were slightly underused. Here we see Winston having more say, offering more advice to “Jonathan” and adding to this world.

Overall, John Wick Chapter 2 is a very good sequel that holds up well to the original and at no point do you detect within the characters “we’re back, bigger and louder and cockier than ever” feel to it that always annoyed me in another Reeves franchise that I won’t mention but rhymes with “The Zatrix”. Chapter 2 feels more like a continuation of an already solid storyline and the audience right away is drawn back into the trials and tribulations of Mr Wick. If there was one negative I have already mentioned and that was the pacing and duration of some of the fighting sequences but this doesn’t ruin the film in anyway. If you have already watched the first film, I would highly recommend in watching the continuing story of a John Wick. Highly recommended.

John Wick (2014) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Directors: Chad Stahelski,  David Leitch (uncredited)
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, and Willem Dafoe.

Ex-hitman John Wick comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

The story follows Wick as the assassin returning to his old life by circumstances out of his control. John Wick was an exciting movie portraying him as a one man army who will stop at nothing until he seeks vengeance on those who have wronged him.

Keanu Reeves, despite having an impressive career, might not be the most dynamic actor. However, with great directing by Chad Stahelski and brilliant writing from Derek Kolstad, Reeves performs amazingly.

This is one of Reeves’ best roles since The Matrix as Mr ’The One’ Neo Anderson. He brings an air of confidence along with quiet yet forceful violence. Reeves displays good emotion and conviction as the character, and he also moves with certainty like a hitman would. Although it is predominantly action sequences, John Wick is also equipped with some emotional baggage. (Dog lovers will know what I mean by this)

The story is very straightforward and in the mould of films like The Equaliser or Taken. The main character is antagonised and has to make everything okay again. It’s that simple, but the trick is on the execution of the story. John Wick works well for a few reasons with the first being that this character is down Reeves street. There is a sadness Keanu Reeves brings to the film that works perfectly as you can’t help but cheer each time one of the bad guys is taken out. Viewers will also remember his devotion to his wife, which Reeves was able to project very well without words. He was sincerely in those touching scenes.

Michael Nyqvist is also excellent as Viggo Tarasov the Russian mobster and he too makes you believe his character. Willem Dafoe although used sparingly is also brilliant in his supporting role as Marcus, who is there for Wick as support after his wife passes.

One of the best things in this movie is the flair, fluidity and the clear focus and precision of the visuals (thanks to cinematographer Jonathan Sela) that are stunning and leave you gasping for more action. More ofter than not other movies employ a shaky camera or uncoordinated editing that ignore even the slightest of continuity that the eagle eyes out there notice. Credit to the movies editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir for the way the movie just flows particularly in those action sequences

Another important factor in what makes this movie so slick other than the visual and the editing is the way the sequences are choreographed. Keanu Reeves is no stranger to well executed action scenes in movies like Speed and The Matrix (remember he was part of the big thing back in 1999…..bullet time) Here the action is almost video game’esque but believable that reminded me of the scene in Kick-Ass with Hit Girl wearing night vision google and the execution is similar.

With the sequel being released in a few weeks time we wait with anticipation whether or not John Wick II will stand up against the original or perhaps surpass it. The movie has been out for 3 years now and if you haven’t seen it I recommend you do. Keanu Reeves is back with a bang.