John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review

The previous John Wick movie ended with the title character (Keanu Reeves) excommunicated from the Continental, having broken its stuffy rules by killing crime boss Santino D'Antoni on the premises, and a price put on his head. Chapter 3 – Parabellum picks up from there, following Wick as he evades assassins and attempts to triangulate a way out of his predicament.

It's very much business as usual. Series writer Derek Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski ensure a stylistic and visual continuity with the film's predecessors, while (as was the case with John Wick 2) expanding on the Wick/Continental mythology. There are new characters here, including Halle Berry as a former assassin, and returning old favourites (Ian McShane as Winston, Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King).

Most vitally, ...Parabellum never forgets what the franchise is all about, which is bone-crunching hand-to-hand combat and thrillingly choreographed gunplay. This is a brutally violent movie at times, but you won't hear us complain. Its narrative is peppered with (often quite lengthy) set-piece fights, an inventive, blade-filled scrap in a weapons museum and a running gun battle through darkened streets in Casablanca being the standouts.

Picture: John Wick 3 swaggers on to Ultra HD Blu-ray with a pristine, vibrant and dynamic 4K HDR transfer that – despite presumably being based upon the movie's 2K DI – feels as sharp as one of Wick's suits. The 2.40:1-framed image continually pops with bright highlights, yet doesn't push black levels to the point of obstructing detail. The result is that even humdrum scenes, such as those in the Bowery King's HQ (Chapter 2), have a tremendous sense of depth, while Wick's subsequent jaunts through the night-time streets of Chinatown are awash with precise neon highlights. The HDR grade (available in Dolby Vision with compatible hardware) is routinely intense.

Part of the visual appeal here comes from Stahelski's deliberate style, but that doesn't make this any less impressive. Only a few instances of noise in low-lit sequences, and a slightly murky feel to the Casablanca night-time set-piece, take the shine off.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: A crack of lightning illuminates the New York skyline. Rolling thunder reaches from low-end depths. A sudden downpour cascades around you. And just like that you’re transported right back to where you left the world of John Wick – not just to the ongoing narrative, but also to the franchise’s aggressively immersive sound design. As with its predecessors, this latest instalment’s Dolby Atmos track is a blade-scraping, bullet-blasting work of high-impact acoustic artistry. Every gunshot, kick and punch packs a powerful low-end, while the soundfield fills with fizzing bullets and precisely placed environmental damage (breaking glass is a particular favourite). It’s also expansive, frequently extending dynamic effects into the height layer for an even greater sense of immersion.

Best of all – unlike Warner Bros. UK’s treatment of John Wick: Chapter 2 – Lionsgate has included the Dolby Atmos mix on both its 4K and 1080p platters.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Bonus features consist of nine featurettes covering topics including expanding the world of the franchise; new characters; location shooting; fight/weapons training; and editing. Also included are two trailers, plus a trailer and behind-the-scenes featurette for the surprisingly decent-looking John Wick Hex videogame.

Note that Lionsgate has also released two exclusive Steelbooks – one through Amazon, the other through Zavvi, pictured below – that add unique slipcase artwork and collectibles.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: The John Wick franchise doesn't show signs of flagging, and this 4K release is an AV powerhouse.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Lionsgate, Ultra HD Blu-ray & Region B BD, £30