A Third Dimension of John Wick

For John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, director Chad Stahelski (John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2) confronted the “curse” of doing a sequel.

“You try to do something that’s very original, and by the very nature of doing a sequel, it can’t be as original as the original, so you have a couple of choices,” he said in a featurette for the home video release. “You can blow more… up and have bigger spaceships and bigger monsters — or you expand. That’s what we tried to do with John Wick — just get more in depth to who he is, what his world entails and show that through his personal journey.”

“It’s about John’s journey and his quest to live to remember his wife Helen,” added Keanu Reeves, who stars as master assassin John Wick.

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is available now on digital and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand from Lionsgate.

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Featurettes explore the mythology and action of the “John Wick” universe; the planning that went into the horse chase sequence and “dog-fu” fight sequences; and the editing.

Chapter 3 features previous franchise stars Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick, but it also expands with new faces, including Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston.

Halle Berry in Parabellum

In the film, Wick has a $14 million price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild. With an army of the world’s most ruthless hit men and women on his trail, John must find a way to survive. He seeks out a figure from his past to help him on his journey, the mysterious “Director” (Huston), at an academy in a ballet theater. “It’s basically a school for young assassins,” Huston explained in the extras. The threequel also expands geographically, taking the action to a foreign outpost of the Continental hotel chain in Casablanca. There, Wick meets up with Sofia (Berry), another accomplished assassin who uses her pet dogs to take out enemies. Berry spent long hours building a relationship with her Belgian Malinois companions.

“I could command them like the trainers,” she said in the disc featurette about the canine training.

Parabellum also expands the action.

“It really was one of the hardest physical stories that I’ve had to tell because there is a lot more action in Parabellum than in the other two films,” Reeves said in the extras.

“He’s fearless,” added Berry, who also had to commit to months of physical training.

“Some people say they want to do ‘John Wick’ training — and then it starts,” Reeves noted in the extras. “Halle said, ‘Thank you, sir. Can I please have some more?’”

“If you hurt, so what?” added Berry.

On the Road With John Wick

Aug. 31 through the first half of September, Lionsgate mounted a “John Wick Road Trip,” displaying the vehicles used by the on-the-run hitman in the series, including the Ford Mustang from the first two movies and a Zero DSR motorcycle from John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

The motorcycle sequence was one of the most elaborate in the film.

“They designed this motorcycle sequence that involved live action in the moment and then working in a computer-generated space,” Reeves said in the extras.

The tour also featured a traveling museum of series memorabilia.

The exhibit traveled across the Midwest and East Coast to visit select Best Buy Stores, NASCAR events, and a Green Bay Packers football game. Fans had the opportunity to take a photo with the Mustang, escape an army of assassins with a “John Wick” motorcycle green screen and check out real props from the films.

Killer Packaging

Lionsgate designed some killer exclusive packaging for top retailers.

Best Buy exclusive steelbook:

Walmart packaging with black coin:

Target exclusive steelbook:

 

‘Community,’ ‘Rescue Me,’ ‘Benji’ on September Disc Slate From Mill Creek

Complete Blu-ray series sets of “Community” and “Rescue Me,” two double features and films about animal friends are among the titles on Mill Creek Entertainment’s September disc slate.

Due Sept. 18 is Community: The Complete Series, featuring all 110 episodes from the TV series, on both Blu-ray ($99.98) and DVD ($69.98). The comedy ensemble series, starring Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Borwn and Jim Rash, centers on a tight-knit group of friends who all meet at Greendale Community College and their hijinks.

All seven seasons are included in Rescue Me: The Complete Series coming out Sept. 11 on Blu-ray ($149.98). Whether pulling survivors from a fiery high-rise or the twisted steel of a subway collision, Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) takes pride in leading the heroic but overwhelmed firefighters of the NYFD. Meanwhile, he’s also drifting between sorrow and anger over a separation from his wife and three kids, and the haunting memories of his fallen comrades.

The lovable mutt Benji returns Sept. 11 in the Benji: Off the Leash Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) at $19.98. The story, told from the pooch’s point of view, tracks his early days as a pup to his current life in showbiz. Bonus features include a feature-length commentary with director Joe Camp, editor Dava Whisenant, composer Anthony Di Lorenzo and producer Margaret Loesch; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Benji Movie Memories,” which covers memorable scenes from five Benji movies starring three different Benjis.

Streeting Sept. 18 are two double features on Blu-ray at $14.98 each. The comedy double feature includes Age of Consent, starring James Mason and Helen Mirren, and Cactus Flower, starring Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. This is the first time either film has been available in high definition.

Also in HD for the first time are Nightwing and Shadow of the Hawk, paired in a double feature of fright. Nightwing follows the investigation of a wave of mysterious deaths on a Native American reservation in New Mexico that turn out to be caused by killer bats. Shadow of the Hawk stars Jan-Michael Vincent in a tale of an old Native American shaman who trains his skeptical grandson as a medicine man to battle enemies and black magic.

Born Free: The Complete Collection comes out on DVD Sept. 11 at $19.98. The franchise collection is based on the 1960 book about raising an orphaned lion cub Elsa and then releasing her back into the wild. The book changed the world’s perception of wild animals. The DVD collection includes the 1966 original film, the 1972 sequel, the 1974 TV series and the 1996 TV movie.

Due Sept. 11 is the Western Buffalo Girls on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98. The film, starring Anjelica Huston, Melanie Griffith and Sam Elliott, celebrates the escapades of tough-talking Calamity Jane Canary. It co-stars Gabriel Byrne, Reba McEntire and Peter Coyote.

The miniseries Family Pictures comes out Sept. 11 on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98. The drama, starring Anjelica Huston, Sam Neill and Kyra Sedgwick, is based on Sue Miller’s best-selling novel. It follows a daughter who comes home to her divorced parents and tells the story of her family, including her younger autistic brother.

Coming Sept. 11 on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98 is Hollywood’s Best and Brightest, featuring more than 12 hours of Hollywood star biographies. Featured legends are Warren Beatty, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Julie Andrews, Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Lauren Hutton, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, Barbra Streisand, Kathleen Turner and Raquel Welch.