John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum 4K Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
John Wick 3 Summary
In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
John Wick 3 Movie Review
The John Wick series has been amazingly good for a movie I expected nothing of when I first saw the trailers. Shockingly violent but with a nice story to go along with it, they have been enjoyable from start to finish, and I rely on the original film for reference material quite often. The third entry does not disappoint as there is more mayhem, more action, and even more violence than before. You get John Wick on a horse, John Wick with a couple of dogs, and John Wick taking on scores of bad guys to try to salvage his life.
I don’t feel that this installment is better than the first, which remains the best of the franchise, but it is a great action film on it’s own. A couple of the scenes are ones that I will go back to more and more for testing speakers and subwoofers, and it’s a film I can easily see myself watching multiple times over the years. I’ll have to wait another decade or so before I can watch it with the kids, though.
John Wick 3 Technical Review
John Wick 3 was shot digitally on ARRI cameras at 2.8K or 3.4K resolution and finished with a 2K digital intermediate. The disc features a Dolby Vision layer, which I watched, and the metadata gives us a peak highlight of 1006 nits and a MaxFALL of 228 nits. It was finished on a Dolby Pulsar if the metadata was correct. They seemed to be going for a very punchy, contrast-y look with John Wick 3. In the darkest scenes, of which there are many, there is a bit of shadow crush, which makes the image have that extra push of contrast. In some scenes, like the initial desert shot, there is a red push giving an oversaturated look that I believe they were after.
Neither of the first two films had this look to them, it’s only this chapter that suffers from it. Additionally, when you get panning scenes of the city there is a good bit of shimmer visible from the windows. This is particularly apparent when there is also rainfall at the same time, as this is likely pushing the bitrate to the limit. Bright highlights and neon washout at the very peak of the highlights, but that is more likely an issue with the WRGB OLED technology than with the disc, and I’ll watch again on a TV with 1000+ nits of peak brightness once one arrives to test.
HDR and WCG are used here quite well, and for the most part, the image is pleasing. It just isn’t up to the level of the first two films, and they push the look too far and make it too dark, crushing details, at least in my opinion. The soundtrack is very good overall, especially in certain fight scenes. When John and Sofia are fighting in Casablanca, the surrounds, Atmos channels, and subwoofer are continually used to great effect. One demo at CEDIA this year used the shotgun scene and the impact in my home theater wasn’t as great (their demo was incredible, as you expect from a $50,000 sound system) but still very impressive. The only downside is that I had to crank the soundtrack up to get the action as loud as I wanted (there isn’t a loss of dynamics, the levels are just lower) and some scenes were still very quiet. The dynamic range is almost too much with this disc, so it’s not quite reference quality, but it’s very good.
John Wick 3 Special Features
- Parabellum: Legacy of the High Table” Featurette
- “Excommunicado” Featurette
- “Check Your Sights” Featurette
- “Saddle Up Wick” Featurette
- “Bikes, Blades, Bridges, and Bits” Featurette
- “Continental in the Desert” Featurette
- “Dog Fu” Featurette
- “House of Transparency” Featurette
- “Shot by Shot” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer #1
- Theatrical Trailer #2
- John Wick Hex Game Trailer
- “Behind the Scenes of John Wick Hex” Featurette
- Optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles for the main feature
John Wick 3 Review System
Sony A1E OLED, Panasonic UB820 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, Power Sound Audio Subwoofer.
The John Wick series continues to impress, almost non-stop action, overall very good image and audio quality.
The image has been given a look that robs it of some shadow detail and can be too dark at times, the soundtrack might have too much dynamic range as some scenes are very quiet.
If you enjoyed the first two John Wick films, then you are going to enjoy the third chapter. If you haven't seen the originals, start there as they are both fantastic and demo worthy 4K discs.