WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum, in theaters now.
The John Wick films feature an extraordinary amount of violence, with Keanu Reeves' titular assassin dispatching at least a hundred people by this point, ranging from faceless thugs to dangerous killers. The brutality on display is almost poetic at times, moving like dancers on a stage. Other times, however, the filmmakers just go all out with the bonkers violence.
Below are the five most brutal deaths from John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum. Honorable mention goes to the sequence in which John and his old friend Sofia work in tandem with her attack dogs to kill so many people. At one point one of the dogs springs off of Sofia so he can reach the roof and bite a guy in the crotch. Still, the absurdity of the sequence pales in comparison to other parts of the film.
Reading Is Fun-Dead-Mental
The first person John dispatches is inside a New York library. Even before the bounty on him goes live, he's attacked by the massive Ernest in the stacks, forcing John to fight back with the only object he has on hand: a book. Although John quickly gets a knife buried into his shoulder, he's still able to contend with his assailant. The battle is somewhat comical throughout, with Ernest frequently reminding John to be quiet, they're in a library.
Ultimately, that book turns out to be an even more dangerous than a knife. John even uses it at the fulcrum to dispatch the man once and for all as he stands the back on a table and forces Ernest down against it. The blows snap his neck, giving John his first kill of the film, and establishing the tone.
After the bounty goes live, however, John is attacked by a large number of killers, as is chased into a stable. Unarmed, John uses his surroundings to great effect, beginning with the horses. He hides behind one, receiving brief cover before surprising one assailant. He slaps the back of another horse, causing it to kick another attacker in the head. John uses that same tactic again, this time with the horse kicking a man in the chese.
The most over-the-top fatality comes when John climbs atop of one of the horses. Tying the reins around the neck of one of the assailants, John prods the horse to full speed. The killer is then dragged along the ground until John takes a sudden turn, which propels the man ropelled headfirst into a wall. It's a brutal way to dispatch someone, and leads to John riding onto the streets of New York City.
The Knife Store
Potentially the best sequence of the film sees John chased by another group of killers, and taking refuge in a small building. That turns out to be a weapons shop filled with antique guns. The natural implication is that John will use the firearms to bring down enemies, but he only has time to load one bullet before the men reach him. Falling back, John realizes the store doesn't have only guns; it's also full of knives.
The next couple of minutes are absurd, in the best way. Surrounded by multiple men, each grabbing knives of their own, John is forced to employ a host of skills to defeat them. That includes everything from the comical (when he only barely dodges a knife aimed for his groin, and he throws it at another man) to the gruesome (John buries a knife into a man's skull, and has to punch it repeatedly to force it deep enough to kill him). The biggest moment, however, comes a John turns a few attackers into pin cushions, leaving six or seven knives embedded in their bodies. It's such a ridiculous moment, followed moments later by John casually picking up an ax to chuck at the last remaining target.
When John finally returns to the United States, he's quickly targeted by Zero and his band of ninjas. John drives off on a motorcycle, and is quickly followed by seven men also on bikes. It shouldn't come as a surprise that John takes out all of the except Zero. What's shocking is how brutal these takedowns are.
Beyond slashing the ninjas with a stolen sword, John rams into them and the other cars on the streets. One of the men in particular has his arm slashed by the blade. John pulls up beside him, and yanks on the limp appendage. The man's arm is pulled down into the wheel of the motorcycle, flipping the bike. It's almost cartoonish how quickly that occurs, but John simply moves on to take out the rest of his gang.
The raid of the Continental Hotel actually goes well for Zero and the Adjudicator's men early on. Their reinforced armor makes them virtually impervious to most gunfire. The soldiers who storm the building make quick work of most of the guards who work for Winston, leaving John and Charon as the only surviving defenders. John finds the weak point in the soldiers, but that requires him to get close enough to unload his gun into their necks and heads.
That's when John and Charon, the Continental's concierge, reload. This time, they enter the battle with explosive shotgun rounds. The first person John finds, he targets their head. But with the new round, he basically explodes the man with a single shot. The remaining soldiers are brought down as well, of course. The next confrontations between John Wick and what's left of Zero's men are impressive, but none is as absurd as John reducing a group of stormtroopers to nothing with some well-placed shotgun blasts.
Directed by Chad Stahelski, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum stars Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Halle Berry, Jason Mantzoukas, Lance Reddick and Anjelica Huston.