In addition to see the Wickian World expand to Asia and North Africa, for “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” my husband and I were punched, rocked and rolled during the flick in 4DX at Regal LA LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.
What is 4DX? If you remember the old Star Tours ride in Disneyland, it is something like that. You enter a movie theater that has special chairs. The chairs move in a manner synchronized with the movie you will watch.
Unlike the Disney ride, you have choices. You can make an early decision whether or not you want the water spray. If you’re the size of a 12-year-old, your feet won’t touch the bottom of footrests and you will miss some of the puffs of air that will literally be over your head. According to the advertisement you can also have scents, but the smell of blood and burning flesh is probably not what you want during a movie. We had no bubbles or fog.
Other important choices include what you eat and drink. Do not eat things that require dipping. You want things that won’t drop or spill easily. You’ll want to sit next to someone who isn’t likely to spill their stuff on your lap, too.
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is the third movie in the John Wick series. In the first movie (2014), John Wick (Keanu Reeves) buries his beloved wife to an unnamed terminal illness. His wife leaves him with an exceptionally affectionate beagle puppy named Daisy to help him overcome his grief. When John takes Daisy out to get the necessary dog supplies, the spoiled son of a Russian mobster see his classic 1959 Mustang and wants to buy it. Not taking no for an answer, the man and his sidekicks follow John home, kill his dog and steal his car. John gets out his assassin gear and gets revenge, killing a lot of people on the way and saves a dog from being put down. Here we learn that the New York Continental Hotel is a place (sanctuary) where assassins are not allowed to do their killing.
In the 2017 “Chapter 2,” John is forced out of retirement by a marker that was a blood oath. John travels to Italy to perform his task (and there’s an Italian Continental Hotel that is similarly a place of sanctuary), but is double-crossed and finds there is little honor amongst organized criminals and assassins. He breaks one of the two codes of honor in order to get justice (killing someone on the grounds of the Continental), but that puts him in a tenuous position: He’s declared excommunicado and a contract is put out on his head. His friend at the New York Continental allows him a one-hour head start.
According to Merriam-Webster, the Latin phrase “Si vis paces, para bellum” means “if you want peace, prepare for war.” In modern English, “parabellum refers to a type of semi-automatic pistol or machine gun” according to Dictionary.com. Guns were a given in this Wickian world. Peace is hard to see at this point.
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” begins immediately after “Chapter 2,” with John Wick on the run and cellphones across New York City start ringing announcing a county on his head. Wick runs to an official organized affiliated doctor to be stitched up, but has to do some of his own stitches when his time runs out. He’s on the run; don’t worry–his dog is safe at the Continental.
Where does he run to? The New York Public Library. In the library, besides fellow assassins trying to collect on the bounty, he finds an old hollowed out book which has some pieces of jewelry, the photo of him and his beloved wife and a marker. The piece of jewelry provides him safe passage to Casablanca via the director (Angelica Huston) of a ballet school and assassin learning center. She seems to be part of a tribe (Ruska Roma) and calls John Wick by another name, Jardani Jonovich. We learn, John was once a member of her tribe and is a “son of Belarus.” John Wick is Roma?
The High Table has an Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) who contacts a sushi chef who not only deals in the deadly fugu, but is also a trained assassin, Zero (Mark Dacascos). Zero and team punish those who didn’t follow the rules as dictated by the High Table via the Adjudicator and also pursue John Wick.
In Casablanca, there’s another sanctuary hotel, but John Wick isn’t going there for sanctuary–since the code no longer applies to him. He’s looking for the manager, Sophia (Halle Berry). She owes him a favor for something having to do with her daughter. Sophia is protected by two Belgian Malinois who come in handy as Sophia takes John to an elder on the High Table. John wants a reprieve but he gets a riddle. The elder wants one of the dogs. Like any good dog owner, Sophia says no, and the dogs, John and Sophia escape.
John will get what he wants, but as you already now there is a “Chapter 4” in the works. He does give up his wedding ring in a manner most bloody. While all the Wick movies have blood shed, this one goes for the gross out factor–a knife in the eye and a dog giving men reason for castration anxiety. While “Chapter 2” expanded the Wickian World to Italy, “Chapter 3” bring in Asia (Japan) and North Africa (Morocco). The concept of Japanese honor doesn’t seem out of place or stereotyped in this crazy world of organized crime where the NYPD seem to hardly exist and a shady but stylish organization called the High Table oversees an international association of assassins and criminals using rotary telephones and female telephone operators to contact a cellphone-driven membership who lurk in classically designed and historic buildings. Through it all, Keanu Reeves is in his dark grey suit with a narrow tie, even on the red dunes of a desert.
For “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” 4DX was sure to keep you awake. As the combatants were punched, slashed and stabbed, thrown against the wall and falling against the ground, you got rolled and rolled. There were short, slight jabs to the upper back (right or left) to me, but on a normal size person it would hit you mid back. I was disappointed that the initial scenes where John Wick is running in the rain didn’t come with more water because I was prepared for that choice.
While this is a good choice for action movies, I also think 4DX would also be effective for:
- “Ant-Man” during leap into the Quantum Realm.
- “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” during the Goblin chase scenes.
- “Apollo 11” documentary during the flight and test flight scenes.
- “First Man”
There are some restrictions. Despite the advertisement photo, you can’t sit on another person’s lap. You must be at least three and a half feet tall and four years of age. I think you should be at least 12 and almost 5 feet (I am four-foot-11).
People in the audience were laughing out loud so there was a slight amusement park feel. The tickets may be pricy (an additional $8), but it costs less than a trip to Disneyland.