John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum parents guide

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum Parent Guide

An adrenaline-fuelled action thriller with well choreographed fight scenes and an unbelievably high body count.

Overall C-

After incurring the wrath of the international assassins guild he used to work for, John Wick has to go on the run with a huge bounty on his head.

Release date May 17, 2019

Violence D
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use B+

Why is John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum rated R? The MPAA rated John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum R for pervasive strong violence, and some language

Run Time: 130 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

On the run since his murder of Santino in the Continental Hotel (a big no-no with the group of international assassins who run the place), John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in New York with a $14 million dollar bounty on his head. Unable to use any of the secret services he has had access to in the past, the only things keeping Wick alive are his ingenuity and underground connections. However, while he tries to escape his pursuers, the High Table, which governs the aforementioned assassins, seems intent on getting rid of anybody who has helped him in the past, including Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne).

This is a sequel that really counts on the audience having seen the preceding film: not an unreasonable expectation, if you ask me. Especially since it saves fans from having to deal with clunky exposition of the previous movie. If you haven’t seen all the films, at least go watch John Wick Chapter 2 before buying your ticket to Parabellum.

As per the other movies in this series, action is the focus and it is as intense as ever. Fight choreography is clear and clean, maintaining a good sense of who is winning and why, without losing the audience with fancy cuts or camera work. The prolonged fight scenes might be a little too much for some people, however, and even I found that one or two of them could have used some trimming. All this action leaves little time for dialogue: by my estimate, about three-quarters of the film is devoted to running or fighting.

That’s where my complaints start: the fights are as creative and engaging as ever, but the story feels neglected. This franchise hasn’t been built on complex stories, and while this is no exception, I do wish we’d been able to see a little more of the narrative structure behind the action. The constant high-intensity combat scenes actually make the film feel a bit too long

But, on the other hand, there’s a lot to be said in this film’s favor. The visual design is striking and, by creating an immersive world that provides context for the story, it partially compensates for the lack of dialogue. The score is fabulous - compelling, and fast paced without getting repetitive or lazy.

What this isn’t is a film for children or the squeamish. While John Wick Chapter Three is an adrenaline-fuelled action movie for grownups, it is also astoundingly violent. I lost track of the body count within the first twenty minutes (admittedly, I can’t count past ten without using my fingers and toes), which is a worrying sign. Otherwise, the film is surprisingly approachable. It receives a poor score for language, but nearly all of the profanity is from one character in two scenes. John Wick, as usual, delivers a thrill a minute… there are just a few too many minutes.

Directed by Chad Stahelski. Starring Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, and Asia Kate Dillon. Running time: 130 minutes. Theatrical release May 17, 2019. Updated

Watch the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
Rating & Content Info

Why is John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum rated R? John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum is rated R by the MPAA for pervasive strong violence, and some language

Violence: This is an incredibly violent film about international assassins hunting one another down. As such, dozens and dozens of people are shot, stabbed, cut, beaten, thrown through windows, and attacked by dogs. Other incidents include someone being stabbed through the eyeball, a woman casually peeling her toenail off, an individual being voluntarily branded, and individual cutting their own finger off (the stump of which is then cauterized with a red hot piece of iron), and a person being thrown off a roof.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are ten uses of profanity in this film, of which 4 are extreme profanities, while the remaining six are moderate. All but one use of extreme profanity is from one character, and almost all other cursing is from that same character.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Some background and secondary characters are shown smoking cigars. There are two instances of casual social drinking in adult characters.

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Loved this movie? Try these books…

The Jason Bourne novels by Robert Ludlum are excellent, but much less violent and much more plot heavy than the films. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six follows an international group of counter-terrorists as they struggle to uncover an insidious plot.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

John Wick Chapter 2 has all of the fun and mayhem embedded in this franchise, but with a slightly stronger plot and better character work. John Wick, the original, is a gripping introduction to this bizarre world of assassins and rules.

Those looking for the same level of action choreography with a stronger plot (and worse camera work, admittedly) will enjoy the Bourne series. You will want to start with The Bourne Identity.