The much anticipated action-packed thriller John Wick 3: Parabellum has hit theaters, starring Keanu Reeves as retired hitman John Wick on the run from every known assassin in the world. John Wick 3, which dives deeper into the enigmatic world of hired assassins that was first introduced in the sleeper hit John Wick and continued with John Wick Chapter 2, gives audiences both barrels of what they’ve come to love about the franchise; beautifully choreographed fights scenes, creative kills, and innovative action sequences unlike anything being produced in Hollywood today.
There’s so much to love about the third installment; a horse-and-motorcycle chase scene mashup in the streets of New York City, an epic canine-vs-man blitzkrieg in a Moroccan open-air courtyard. But the film has left viewers with some questions, like, for instance, when is John going to take on the High Table already? You’ll find five things we loved about the movie below, as well as some things we still have questions about.
10 Loved Halle Berry
Rumor has it that Halle Berry demanded to have a part in this film, and we’re glad that she did. She plays an old friend and fellow assassin to John Wick named Sofia. As she explains to John when he seeks her out in Morocco, she’s “no longer in service”, but in management. She’s left the assassin life behind and is the manager of the Moroccan Continental.
Like John, she has furry friends which she loves very much. Her three German shepherds are not only good guard dogs and companions, but they’re also amazing attack dogs, and the sequences involving them fighting with her in sync are both heartwarming, beautiful, and scary.
9 Have Questions About: The Director
It was epic seeing Anjelica Huston appear as The Director, a Belarussian kingpin that operates an old baroque theater and trains super assassins. John Wick comes to her with a “ticket” he retrieved from the New York Public Library, a gilded crucifix rosary that when presented to her which grants him safe passage wherever he wants to go.
The Director and Wick clearly have history, and it’s her fondness for Wick that makes her break the rules and grant his request even at the risk of upsetting the High Table. But what about her theater? We see ballerinas in one room, and Greco-roman wrestlers in another, and she mentions John's former training there. Is The Director responsible for training every new assassin?
8 Loved: The Moroccan Continental And Mint
With each new John Wick film that comes out, more and more of his mysterious world is revealed. He has traveled from New York, to Italy, and now to Morocco to avoid being killed. Every hired assassin in the John Wick franchise uses specific gold coins as currency to gain favors, explained by the director of the mint in Morocco, Berrada, to be “social commerce”.
The Moroccan Continental is just like the one in NYC run by Winston, except that it has an open-air courtyard, mounds of pillows, clouds of hookah, and mints the special gold coins the assassins use. No blood can be spilled on its grounds, but John Wick isn’t in the habit of playing by the rules.
7 Have Questions About: The Hierarchy
With each passing John Wick movie, we learn more about the hierarchy of the world he lives in. As far as the hierarchy goes, there’s the High Table, a cohort of carefully chosen individuals that make the rules. Will we ever get to see them all in their place of meeting? There are the Adjudicators, who enforce its will. What happens if you kill one?
There are authority figures like the Bowery King and The Director who have their own fiefdoms outside the High Table. What’s their real purpose? And then there’s the “Elder”, who supposedly supersedes all of them. Is he really the “Founder” of the High Table? So many questions.
6 Loved: Charon, The Concierge
It’s perhaps fitting that the concierge of The Continental is named Charon, after the ferryman of Hades who carried the souls of the newly deceased across the river Styx. Charon provides courteous hospitality for The Continental as a neutral zone for the hired assassins that take refuge in it.
John Wick may have violated the rules of the High Table and killed on Continental grounds, but Charon is in the service of its manager, Winston, and because Winston stands beside John Wick as a friend, Charon takes a much more active role in John Wick 3 by fighting alongside him.
5 Have Questions About: All The Tattoos
Image and fashion in the John Wick franchise are very important. The unique look of the characters helps you to identify their status. John Wick wears a suit when he’s “in service” as an assassin. The manager of the Continental, Winston, wears a cravat in the style of a modern English gentleman. The Adjudicator resembles a dominatrix.
Then there are the operators who coordinate contracted hits—every single one is covered in tattoos and piercings. In fact, John Wick is covered in tattoos. Is this a paradoxical and symbolic play on a “uniform” of sorts, where for any other job you’d take off your uniform, but in the world of John Wick, you can’t?
4 Loved: The Bowery King
Once a notorious section of lower Manhattan in New York City, renowned for its saloons, streetwalkers, and petty crime, the Bowery has now become a more gentrified area. But the riff-raff still linger in it, and that riff-raff are the eyes and ears of the Bowery King, played once again by Laurence Fishburne in John Wick 3.
Because he aided John Wick before, the High Table has sent an Adjudicator to give him seven cuts and make him abdicate his throne of influence. But he is a proud monarch, and he doesn’t bow to anyone, even the High Table. He will want revenge for those that have committed treason against his kingdom.
3 Have Questions About: Destroying The High Table
John Wick 2 seemed to set up the notion that John Wick was coming for the High Table. He’d already assassinated one of its members, then assassinated their replacement on Continental grounds. He would be a hunted man for the rest of his life as every assassin in the world came after him. Unless he hunted them first.
John Wick 3 picks up right where Chapter 2 left off, with a $14 million dollar prize on John Wick’s head. And while he takes on the High Table’s personal team of mercenaries, it’s clear from the Adjudicator's words that they’re only the appetizer. So will he finally team up with Winston, Charon, and the Bowery King to take the fight to them?
2 Loved: The Innovative Fight Scenes
The John Wick franchise is characterized by its innovative action sequences. They are both creative and palpably authentic, with special attention paid to detail. John Wick doesn’t fire endless rounds—he constantly has to reload, often in unique ways. Most of the action sequences are in wide shots, with limited editing, creating a visceral feel, and showcasing the amazing choreography and stunt work.
There are several standout fight sequences in John Wick 3 that will have you analyzing them long after the movie is over; the sequence in the weapons museum, the sequence with the motorcycles on the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Moroccan courtyard sequence. They’re simply unlike anything being produced in Hollywood today.
1 Have Questions About: Jardani Jonovovich
<When John Wick seeks out The Director to gain safe passage out of New York City, he presents her with a token—a crucifix rosary—and explains that, because he’s a member of her “tribe”, she must help him. It turns out Wick is a Belarusian orphan whose real name is “Jardani Jovonovich”.
It’s heavily implied The Director was responsible for John Wick’s training by way of her ballerinas and wrestlers, whose graceful movements seem to be perfected for a more sinister purpose. In the John Wick prequel comics, he comes from a village in Mexico that was burned, so perhaps the Director adopted him after that? And does he know who his parents are?