John is a junior in his second year of Journalism. He likes to write, play video games, and watch movies.
John Wick Trilogy Takes Action to a New Level
September 3, 2019
When it premiered in 2014 as a bit of an underdog action flick, John Wick quickly earned my vote for one of the best and most stylish action movies to ever exist. Some believe it has revolutionized the action genre as a whole. Directed by Chad Stahelski, this brutally violent but engaging movie features a deadpan Keanu Reeves, perhaps best known as the main character of The Matrix. It grossed $80 million on a $20 million budget.
Since then, it has spawned two sequels and earned a reputation as being one of the top action movie franchises. Now, with John Wick 2 and John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum, the triology has been packaged into a film box set that comes out on Sept. 19. So in case you’re one of the few action movie lovers who have missed this trilogy, here’s why this boxed set may be well-worth your hard-earned cash.
John Wick is about an ex-hitman who has left a shadowy, underground world of assassins to pursue a normal life with the wife he loves– or at least, that’s what we slowly realize as the movie opens with him having just lost his wife to a deadly illness. Depressed, he slowly starts to recover thanks an unlikely source: a puppy which is delivered with a note from his deceased wife tell John that he still needs something in the world to love.
Of course, something goes wrong– namely that a thug ruins his new lease on life when he breaks into John’s house. The rest of the movie details how John Wick abruptly returns to his old ways to wage war on Russian mobster Viggo Teresoph. Slowly, through a series of brual events, we come to learn why John was the worst person in the world to trifle with.
John Wick is one of the most brutal and ruthless protagonists in all of cinematic history, going on a revengeful killing spree of anyone who stands in his way. But at the same time, he is one of the most relatable and sympathetic characters because we sympathize with his losses. While he may seem invincible as he guns down Russian gangsters with ease, he still gets hurt (and has to reload). This makes the fight scenes far more intense and believable than most action movies.
The idea that Wick is only human is seriously contrasted with him being the most deadly assassin to ever walk the land. Whenever John Wick is mentioned in a conversation, it genuinely strikes fear into people. However, one problem with this movie is that it relies on too many cliches, such as Russian bad guys driving black SUV’s and the final fight scene taking place in a thunderstorm.
Still, John Wick is easily my favorite action movies, and one of my favorite movies in general. The fight scenes may not be as good as in the sequels, but the character motivation is what makes this movie stand out.
John Wick Chapter 2
John Wick Chapter 2 is what every sequel should be, not just a repetition of the first movie, but something that builds upon the original to create its own storyline. (One exception is the first scene when John causes mayhem to get his beloved car back for an unexpected reason, with ironic consequences.)
Thanks to John’s actions in the first movie, his long -time enemy, Santino D’Antonio, returns with a marker, which is a contract between two people basically saying you have to do whatever the carrier of the marker says. And when John refuses the marker, well, let’s just say bad things happen.
Making his way to the swanky Continental Hotel, a safe haven for assassins and criminals run by his friend, Winston, John seeks to kill D’Antonio. But as Winston explains, there are “two rules that cannot be broken, Johnathon: no blood on Continental grounds and every marker must be honored.” He then adds, “While my form of judgment comes from excommunicado, the High Table demand a more severe outcome if their traditions are broken.”
Say what? Let’s just say that John is too mad to listen, so more mayhem and more elaborate fight scenes than in the first movie ensue, this time, in some pretty spectacular locations in Europe.
While the story feels a little generic and shallow on the surface, John Wick Chapter 2
uncovers so much of the criminal underworld and how it’s being run by the High Table, that viewers start to wonder, Could stuff like this really exist? The introduction of new factions that are all interconnected makes for some great world building. Plus, the fight scenes are far more energetic and colorful than in the first movie, where everything seemed to be filmed in shades of gray or black.
True, the plot is put on the back burner for character and world development, but a major, unexpected plot twist–and a new canine friend–makes this movie the bridge between the first and the third movie.
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
If you want peace, prepare for war. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum is easily the best action movie of 2019 and quickly becomes a classic. It takes all of the aspects of the fight scenes and cranks it to an 11 on a scale of 1-10, with the highest kill count, longest run time, biggest number of fight scenes, and diversity in its kills.
Because of his actions in the second movie, John Wick has been declared excommunicado by Winston, and with a $20 million bounty on his head, everyone (really, everyone) in the world is after him. That’s about as far as the plot goes, but it sets up one of the most powerful and skilled villains Wick has ever faced: a ninja clan leader by the name of Zero.
Zero and his gang of ninjas prove themselves by killing off almost everyone Wick had been involved with over the first two movies, and they do it all without firing a single bullet. What’s hilarious about Zero and his gang is that they’re actually John Wick’s fanclub and are thrilled to have the opportunity to kill him. In one scene with John and Zero in the Continental, he explains how he’s John’s biggest fan, and is enraged when John doesn’t give him enough attention.
The John Wick trilogy feels less like a movie series and almost like a book with how the movies take place back to back. At one point, someone says “All of this over a car and dog?” It’s true. Another line repeated throughout all the movies is that “without rules, we live with the animals.” The John Wick trilogy proves that where viewers are concerned, some rules are meant to be broken.