"I'm afraid Mr. Wick is on his own..." View the new John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum trailer now! #JohnWick3
John Wick 3: Parabellum trailer: Keanu is back
Keanu rides a horse through the streets of New York. Cool.
John Wick is back and more stylish than ever. The cameo-studded first trailer for John Wick 3: Parabellum — the third film in the Keanu Reeves-led film franchise — looks stunning, dripping with gorgeous sets and cityscapes, gorgeous people, and gorgeous action sequences.
John Wick (2014) gave its tortured main character a sweet, fantasy-fueled pass to New York’s most glamorous, seedy underbelly — a kind of James Bond-esque glamour that both the film and its 2017 sequel made sumptuous use of, all while putting its unkillable, unstoppable antihero through the ringer as he battled various villains and eked out various acts of revenge. The trailer for the third film finds Keanu riding a horse while being chased by a biker gang wielding swords, because why not? Oh, despite the notorious fate of his first puppy, the friendly pit bull he picked up in the final scene of John Wick is still alive and well in Parabellum. The fact that he’s seen with other dogs in the new trailer had briefly alarmed some viewers as to the fate of his second pet, but it’s possible he’s just a dog-friendly guy.
One thing that’s made the John Wick franchise so good is that it’s always worn its Asian vengeance cinema roots on its sleeve. The new trailer makes that connection even clearer, with lots of scenes looking as though they flew straight from the mind of Park Chan-wookcirca his Oldboy years.
The connection to Asian cinema is also strengthened in part due to some obvious and not-so-obvious callbacks to The Matrix. The clearest link, apart from the franchises’ shared neo-noir trappings, is that Parabellumcontinues John Wick’s reunion between Keanu Reeves and his Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne — here playing the inscrutable king of the Bowery in the shadowy world of New York’s underground titans. But there’s another, even more direct connection: Parabellum’s director, Chad Stahelski, who made his debut with John Wick, was Reeves’ Matrix stunt double.
The new film promises more of what you showed up for in films one and two — Keanu Reeves, looking tired and gritty but immaculately attired as he singlehandedly mows down rows of unfortunate bad guys with, like, two fingers and a tiny gun. (He does acquire a very big gun at the end of the Parabellum trailer, which leads us to wonder what on Earth he’ll be taking down in the film. John Wick has never needed a really big gun to wreak havoc on lower Manhattan, so we can only assume he’s facing off against something akin to the Cloverfield monster.)
The film is also bursting with star power, from Halle Berry showing up as Wick’s unimpressed ally, to Deadwood’s Ian McShane reprising his role as Wick’s reluctant nemesis Winston, to Anjelica Houston, credited only as “The Director.”
What’s she directing? We don’t know, but we’re 100 percent certain it’s badass.
John Wick opens in theaters May 17.
Correction: This article originally stated that John Wick’s dog was new. In fact, though he’s seen with other new dogs in the trailer, the dog he got at the end of the first film is still alive and well, and from all appearances, a very good boy.
How ‘John Wick 3’ Scales Back While Pushing Forward
If the buzz from fans on social media is any indication, the third John Wick entry is among the year’s most hotly anticipated genre films. The trailer certainly provides enough evidence as to why, set to Andy Williams’ “The Impossible Dream (The Quest).” The slick, neon-lit actioner, directed by Chad Stahelski, looks to be pulling out all the stops: dog packs, horses, sword-carrying motorcyclists and Halle Berry, serving as a reminder that for all the bloodshed we’ve seen, we really haven’t seen anything yet. Throughout cinema across the world, we’ve come across plenty of men with guns seeking revenge or running for their lives. But we’ve never encountered anything like John Wick.
The success of John Wick as a franchise shouldn’t be underplayed, because it was never a sure thing. In an action-movie landscape where superhero movies and sci-fi epics have dominated, the John Wick franchise has become a welcome surprise hit. The first film seemingly came out of nowhere in 2014, and prior to release was often lumped in with the “aging action star comeback” subgenre that Liam Neeson has so successfully managed to own. But John Wick proved to be something more when it was released to rave reviews and made $88.8 million globally on a budget that reportedly ran between $20 million and $29 million. The sequel John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) enjoyed even bigger success, going on to make $171.5 million on a $40 million budget. With Reeves’ sensitive portrayal as a hurt man who just wants to live in peace with his dog, stylish action sequences and efficient world building, John Wick has become the modern mid-budget action answer to the lamentation that we no longer have heroes on the scale of Stallone’s Marion Cobretti, Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix, or Van Damme’s Frank Dux, while surpassing them all.
The Wick world-building and allusions to mythology have allowed its character to survive beyond the simple conceit of revenge and launch him into a multimedia franchise that has so far consisted of a comic book series, a VR game and a planned TV series, The Continental. Wick’s unique perspective and action set pieces launched the careers of screenwriter Derek Kolstad and stuntmen and stunt coordinators turned directors, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the latter of whom departed the franchise as a director after the first film and went on to direct Atomic Blonde (2017), Deadpool 2 (2018), and the upcoming Hobbs & Shaw (2019).
But Kolstad and Stahelski haven’t let the lack of a co-director dent the Wick franchise at all. The third entry looks like it may scale back slightly on some of the political mythology concerning the High Table that was integral to Chapter 2 and opt for a “man on the run” narrative that sees the master assassin going global and picking up a few strays along the way.
While so many action franchises from Die Hard to Taken has experienced a steady decline, the John Wick series seems to be getting better with each entry. There’s of course a scenario in which this third film collapses under the weight of its own ambition, especially with a title that’s perhaps one word too many. But going by the trailer, John Wick remains in the best of hands, brutally so. With Kolstad’s ability to create mounting tension, Stahelski’s kinetic action sequences, cinematographer Dan Laustsen’s gorgeous cinematography and Reeves’ blend of mystique and vulnerability, John Wick: Chapter 3 may be the most emotionally complex and narratively streamlined film since Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). And as if we needed any more proof that stuntmen and coordinators deserve Oscar nominations, this film should certainly seal the deal.
John Wick is the kind of success story for original properties that so many studios dream of, and while John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum may be closing a trilogy, we doubt the character will be getting away from audiences that easily. Going by Wick’s history and passion surrounding the property, Parabellum may be only the conclusion of the first campaign in a much larger war. In the immortal words of villain Viggo Tarasov, whose actions started this whole saga, “Be seeing you, John.”
John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum opens May 17.