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Film / John Wick

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"People keep asking if I'm back, and I haven't really had an answer. But now...yeah, I'm thinkin' I'm back!"
John Wick

John Wick (later retitled to John Wick: Chapter 1 in line with the sequels) is a 2014 action thriller film co-directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitchnote  and written by Derek Kolstad. It was released on October 24, 2014, and marks the first chapter of the John Wick franchise.

A young gangster named Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen) and his friends break into the home of a man named John Wick (Keanu Reeves), who had earlier brushed off Iosef when he offered to buy Wick's vintage 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. In the process, they steal the car, rough up Wick, and, most egregiously, kill the man’s dog.

Unfortunately, Iosef didn't know some very important details about John Wick — namely that he’s one of the deadliest men alive, a retired assassin formerly employed by Iosef's mobster father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist), and the dog that Iosef killed was a last gift from Wick's recently deceased wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan). The break-in prompts Wick to come out of retirement and call in some favors in order to carry out a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.

Comparable to Kill Bill in premise and execution, John Wick is especially notable for its choreography, eschewing quick cuts and shaky cam in favor of long takes and minimal camera movement to showcase some truly spectacular fights and driving sequences that were almost entirely performed by Reeves. (Perhaps not too surprisingly, Stahelski and producer David Leitch made their names as stuntmen and stunt coordinators.) The film also shows several strong influences from films like The Killer (1989), Le Samouraï, and Point Blank (1967), meaning that the film is rife with brutal moves, badass One-Man Army moments, and Gun Fu that would make John Woo blush.

The success of the film spawned a number of sequels (Chapter 2, Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Chapter 4) and several other spin-offs, and gave Reeves a new wave of stardom and recognition as a certified badass in ways not seen since the peak of the hype surrounding The Matrix. In other words, we're thinkin' he's back.

John Wick contains examples of:

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  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The scenes involving John's normal life up until he gets the dog are almost entirely devoid of dialog, and don't have a bit of violence until Iosef breaks into John's house to get at his car.
  • Acquainted with Emergency Services: John and the police officer Jimmy are on a first-name basis with each other. Jimmy apparently knows about John's past and when he shows up at his house to investigate a "noise complaint" he can plainly see a dead body, asking John if he's working again, before leaving him in peace with both wishing each other a goodnight.
  • Actor Allusion: Keanu isn't the only Matrix star who made his way into this movie. Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson from The Matrix Reloaded) plays Kirill, and Randall Duk Kim (The Keymaker from Reloaded) plays the Continental doctor that patches John up after the ordeal at the club... and also gives him some red pills as well.
  • Affably Evil: Several of the criminals in this world are quite likable, such as Marcus, Charlie, Aurelio, Winston and, of course, John Wick. Even resident Big Bad Viggo is quite affable and reasonable (at least before his Villainous Breakdown kicks in).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Viggo's demise is actually quite dramatic, and even John seems to treat it with some solemnity. He had to oppose John because it was a matter of family; John's unstoppable force came up against the immovable object of filial obligation.
  • All of Them: A variation. Viggo's attempted negotiation with John fails miserably, and he decides to kill John before he can start his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    Viggo: Task your crew.
    Avi: How many?
    Viggo: How many do you have?
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The hotel manager's name is Charon, playing into the symbolism in the movie.
    • If his PAYDAY 2 bio is canon, John used to be in the military and is a former boxer. If so, this also becomes a case of Shown Their Work, since the shooting stance John utilizes uses the same kind of lower body stance as in boxing.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Turns out this is a bad idea when the dog in question belongs to John Wick.
  • Animal Metaphor: John's first dog is a cute little thing. After it is killed and John takes its revenge, the second dog he adopts is a bulldog, symbolizing the now-more powerful personality of John Wick.
  • Anyone Can Die: Various named characters, including Marcus and Ms. Perkins, get killed off.
  • Anti-Hero: John is a good modern example of the classic anti-hero.
  • Apathetic Citizens: A Running Gag is the nonchalant reaction many people have with the violence that happens around them. Loud and destructive fights are described as a "noise complaint." This is partially because these people are also assassins or otherwise aware of the situation, or they and John are on a First-Name Basis.
  • Arc Words: "Let's go home", symbolizing John's return to the criminal underworld.
  • Arc Symbol: Hidden throughout the start of the movie are daisies, which Word of God states is the symbol for Helen. And so when Iosef kills Daisy the dog, he is essentially killing a part of John Wick's wife.
  • Arch-Enemy: John Wick has Iosef Tarasov, who murdered his puppy for no reason.
  • Artistic License – Cars: An In-Universe example when Iosef Tarasov misidentifies John's Mustang Mach 1 as a Boss 429 (the main difference is that the hood scoop on the Mach 1 is purely decorative). The car is very much meant to be a Mach 1 model, it's just that Iosef doesn't know as much about cars as he thinks he does—much like he doesn't know as much about being a mobster as he thinks he does.
  • Artistic License – Law: John Wick performs self service at a New Jersey gas station and pumps his own fuel. In New Jersey, refueling must legally be performed with full service, by an attendant performing the act.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Iosef is a narcissistic, rude, spoiled brat who beats up John, kills his dog and steals his car just because John brushed him off when he offered to buy the car. He then gets informed that John is actually a highly skilled murderous assassin who will move heaven and Earth to see his imminent plan for revenge to completion, and still believes he can just "finish what he started" as if he has what it takes to kill John. When they actually come face to face, he comes nowhere near backing up his big talk, and no tears are shed when John puts a bullet in his head — with him complaining all the while.
    • Ms. Perkins counts, too. She's a Femme Fatale who sided with Viggo solely for the money and killed a man on the grounds of the Continental Hotel, violating the only absolutely inviolate rule of the hotel. For this breach of the neutral grounds, the owner of the Continental, likened to Zeus, has her membership revoked.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: While there's no conflict going on, Iosef's killing of John's dog has the same effect and is treated as such by Viggo.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Averted; the doctor Charon organizes for Wick is quite competent, though he has to stitch him up in a hotel room. By the end of the movie however, Wick has to resort to breaking into a veterinary office and stealing medical supplies. Geez, look at all the cute puppy dogs...
  • Bad Guy Bar: The one in the Continental, as John has to pay the special coin to get in and Winston says that he wouldn't be there if he wasn't back in the business.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: The reason John goes after Iosef in the first place is that the latter killed his dog.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Wick tearing through hordes of Mooks while dressed impeccably. He starts the film dressed casually while still grieving his wife, but suits up when it's time for action.
    • Almost all of the gangsters are dressed in very stylish suits and hats - particularly Harry with his Waistcoat of Style. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Continental is revealed to have their own tailor service in the sequel.
  • Bait the Dog: Twice in the same scene.
    • Iosef initially greets John by complimenting his car and claiming he likes dogs. Turns out he only wanted to buy the car, and given the premise of the film, the second part is nothing but Blatant Lies.
    • Victor, one of Iosef's bodyguards, gets him to back off and tells John to have a nice day. The same bodyguard is the one who kills John's dog.
  • Battle in the Rain: Thunder starts rolling and lightning starts flashing as the film nears the end, and a downpour breaks out when the final confrontation between John and Viggo happens.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Winston and Charon, respectively the owner and receptionist of the Continental. They're so affable and helpful to John that it's easy to forget that the Continental is a hotel for criminals. At least until the ending, where Winston has Perkins executed for breaking the rules of the Continental with four headshots.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Wick is solemnly getting by after his wife's death when someone decides to seriously mess with him.
  • Big Bad: Viggo Tarasov, mafia chief and father of Iosef, who killed Wick's dog.
  • Big Good: Winston conveys this. He is easily the most powerful character in the story, he claims neutrality in the feud between Wick and Viggo but it's made especially clear in the end that his connections and resources far exceeds the main characters. He does end up assisting John if only because Viggo shows disrespect for the rules of the Continental.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: Aside from John living in New Jersey, the entire film is set in and around New York City.
  • Bilingual Backfire: During their first meeting, Iosef attempts to disguise an insult to John by speaking in Russian. John responds in Russian, shocking Iosef.
  • Bilingual Bonus: A funny off-color exchange in Russian occurs between two mooks at the gas station.
    Mook 1 Do you want anything? [from the gas station]
    Mook 2: [laughing] Your sister.
    Mook 1: [shocked/exasperated] My God.
  • Bittersweet Ending: John Wick succeeds at getting revenge and has effectively destroyed one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the city, but his wife and dog are still dead along with his friends Marcus and Harry, and his car is still missing. A bit more sweetness: he rescues a new dog, a pit bull, from being destroyed at the pound. A bit more bitterness: whether or not he can get back out of the criminal underworld again is ambiguous.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: In the scene where Viggo approaches Marcus in his home, we see Marcus making vegetable smoothies, presumably to keep himself in fighting trim as he advances in age. Marcus drinks them without blinking, but Viggo can barely even look at the stuff.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: John is far from righteous, but he's a saint compared to some of the people he's hunting.
  • Black Comedy:
    • After the first action scene in the movie, a police officer, Jimmy, shows up at the door in response to a noise complaint. He looks past John at the corpse in the hallway:
      Jimmy: You, uh, workin' again?
      John: No, just sortin' some stuff out.
      Jimmy: Ah, well... I'll leave you be then. Goodnight, John.
      John: Goodnight, Jimmy.
    • In the Red Circle shootout, John punches a mook, prepares to shoot him, finds his gun empty, grimaces, reloads and cocks the gun and then shoots the mook in the head. All in the span of three seconds before the mook can even react.
    • Viggo is questioning Marcus on whether he's willing to betray his old friend, John Wick, by taking a contract on him. At the same time, Marcus is making questionable vegetable smoothies, one of which he offers to Viggo. Viggo spends the entire scene looking at it with a combination of confusion and revulsion.
  • Blood-Stained Glass Windows: The gunfight in the church where Viggo keeps his largest stash of money and blackmail material.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Viggo and his associates subdue John after the church attack. Someone that skilled and dreaded clearly out to destroy them (hence the church attack), and they don't kill him while he's unconscious. To further rub salt in John's psychological wounds, Viggo mocks John's distress over his stolen car and even his dog being killed, and for some reason, decides to have John killed by drawn-out suffocation in a plastic bag. It all goes as well you'd expect.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with John slumped against a wall, watching a video he took of himself and his wife on his phone, as well as finishing on a shot of Wick walking down the same waterfront on which his wife collapsed before falling ill.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • John doles out an impressive number of headshots in this film, many of which are paired with a Double Tap just to make sure they stay down.
    • Winston's method of revoking Ms. Perkins' membership at the Continental is four of these simultaneously.
  • Bottle Episode: In comparison to the rest of the films. This one is notably the only John Wick film that doesn't travel abroad, instead staying entirely within New York City and its immediate surroundings.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Played with, especially compared to most action-movies. John is frequently shown doing tactical reloads and his ammo efficiency is so high that he rarely takes more than 3 shots to kill someone. But at one point, he's killing so fast that he doesn't have time to reload before engaging another Mook and has to reload mid-fight. Similarly, if he realizes he can't kill someone with minimal gunfire, he'll switch to a different weapon or hand-to-hand combat.
    • The subversion of this trope is later demonstrated as the fact that John can only carry a limited number of reloads becomes an issue at the Red Circle.
  • Brought Down to Normal: At the beginning of the movie John is mourning his wife and has been retired as an assassin for a while, so it’s safe to say he is not currently at his best. This is probably the only reason Iosef is able to get the better of him during the home invasion. Once John is back in Let's Get Dangerous! mode it’s a different story.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Played with. The vest stops two rounds, but the force of the bullets knock John down and leave him dazed while trying to fight Kirill. The vest is also useless against slashes from a broken bottle, though that's partly because the bottle missed the vest entirely.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Iosef seems to be the only person in the entire criminal underworld who doesn't know who John Wick is, or why it's a bad idea to piss him off. Made dumber because John Wick worked for his father as recently as five years before the film started, so you'd think he'd at least recognize the guy. The point is driven home in that even when his father is clearly terrified about what's to come, Iosef sees no problem in hanging out in a club (and when Viggo starts to explain why John is so dangerous, the first thing Iosef says once he's allowed to talk back? He offers to go back to John's house and finish the job). Viggo himself exploits him by explicitly using him as bait. He doesn't even seem to process or care why everyone else is so terrified of the guy until he sees John in action.
    • Aside from the premise of the film itself, Viggo could have gotten away clean at the end. He sold his son to John, who had his revenge and wouldn't have pursued things further. Instead, upon learning Marcus never had any intent of killing John, he decides to taunt John by killing Marcus and bragging about it. Naturally, John retaliates.
  • Butt-Monkey: Iosef spends the movie getting slapped and beat up by just about everyone. He deserves all of it.
  • The Cameo: Kevin Nash gets a single scene role as Francis, the Red Circle’s door guard.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: Marcus is hired by Viggo to kill John. He sets up on a rooftop to shoot John while he sleeps, only to change his mind and shoot the pillow next to his head to alert him that Miss Perkins is sneaking in to kill him.
  • Car Fu:
    • During the climax John chases Viggo in his car and even kills Avi with his car. The bad guys also fight John by ramming his car with theirs.
    • Kirill stops John's attack and manages to capture him by ramming an SUV into another car, which hits John.
  • Character Catchphrase: Avi's "English, please" whenever Viggo drops into his native Russian.
  • Chekhov's Skill: John's car skills, first demonstrated early on, come in handy in the finale.
  • Chiaroscuro: The Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene tends to be very dark, usually leaving John and his interlocutors half in shadow.
  • Clean Up Crew: Charlie runs one of these. He first gets called in to deal with the corpses of the Faceless Goons trying to attack John at home, and again to deal with Ms. Perkins's body.
  • Cold Sniper: Marcus, played by Willem Dafoe, apparently has a long history with The Mafiya, and his weapon is a Sniper Rifle. He's much more affable than he appears, however: he pretends to accept Viggo's contract on John, but only intends to help John throughout the movie.
  • Color Motif:
    • Initially, the movie is almost a cool blue monotone, reflecting John's detachment and struggle to cope with his wife's death. As he crosses back into the violence, colors leak back into his world and become more intense. And then at the very end of the movie when he at least attempts to cross back over into the ordinary world, the colors become more subdued again, but also warmer.
    • At the beginning John wears a brown jacket with a white shirt, the same colors as his beagle's spots. At the end John adopts a pit bull as black as the suit he's wearing.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • All the characters and mooks seen in the film will use whatever's at hand to their advantage. John even uses one mook's beard to take the guy down. And unlike most action movies, John uses pistols in fist fights. Anything else is usually to get clear enough to use the gun.
    • Where possible John finishes every mook off with a shot to the head even if they might be "subdued" already.
    • Viggo throws every man he has against John before being forced to fight the man himself.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted when one of the Faceless Goons sent to John's house to kill him tries to shoot him through a wall (while John's waiting on the other side for him to come round), and only misses because of some quick ducking on John's part. Both John and the mook are even shown shielding their faces from the bits of debris that might be kicked toward them.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The All of Them example above was not nearly enough to stop John Wick.
  • Consummate Professional: Most everyone except those associated with the Russian Mob are this. John Wick is famed for it, which makes it all the more alarming when he tells people "It's Personal". After his first major gunfight killing would-be assassins, John calls in "A dinner for twelve" and a crew with a waste disposal arrive to remove the bodies and clean up his house. The staff of the Continental maintain strict obedience to rules that "business" is not conducted in the hotel, which is why Viggo ups the bounty if the hitman dares to kill John while he's inside. Which is partially the reason Winston bends the rules in alerting John to Iosef and later Viggo's locations, and later has Perkins executed for attempting to kill him in the Continental and later killing Harry. They give John a new car for the trouble.
  • Contract on the Hitman: Viggo puts a $2 million bounty on John's head, with double that for anyone who dares go against the rules of the Continental to take him out while he's there. The latter part comes back to bite Viggo hard, as not only does Ms. Perkins, who decides to go for the double bounty, get swiftly executed by firing squad on Winston's orders, but Winston then rats Viggo out for even offering an incentive to break the rules, telling John where to find him and leading directly to Viggo's demise.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The chances of the bratty son of the head of the Russian mafia running into one of the most dangerous assassins ever at a random gas station in the New York/New Jersey area are very small. Viggo lampshades this, deeming it fate.
  • Cool Car:
    • John's 1969 Mustang is quite a pimpin' ride. So cool, in fact, that Iosef wants it for himself... and isn't willing to take no for an answer. Dialogue refers to it as a Boss 429; if it is a true Mustang Boss 429, it is one of 859 made and would easily sell for over 6 figures. It's actually a major plot point: Aurelio immediately recognizes the car and kicks out Iosef because he didn't want any part in the coming war, and was the first person John contacted for information on who took his car. Though it isn't recovered during the events of this film, in the sequel's opening John tracks it down and recovers it, albeit severely damaged.
    • The car the film uses doesn't seem to be a true Boss 429; it seems closer to a 1969 Mustang Mach 1. The hood vent (which is nonfunctional, Boss 429s have a wider, functional hood scoop to feed air into the engine), hood latch pins and spoiler are the giveaways; Boss 429s came with a much beefier and wider hood scoop, did not have hood latch pins, and the wheels are Shelby wheels, not Mustang wheels. The interior is also much closer to what a Mach 1 would have.
    • Aurelio later gives John a black with white stripes 1969-1970 Chevy Chevelle SS as a loaner car, which he uses extensively.
    • The 2012-2015 Dodge Charger which he receives as a compensation from the Continental management, while no collector's item, is nothing to scoff at either. Pity it gets wrecked in the finale.
  • Corrupt Church: A Little Russia church serves as Viggo's front with his hidden cache of money and blackmail material.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: It is acknowledged by everyone that none of this would have happened if Iosef had bothered to look up (i.e ask anyone within a thousand mile radius) not just the addresses of people in the area who own a Boss 429, but who they are.
  • Could Say It, But...:
    • The "Code" prevents Winston from telling John about a certain helicopter being fueled at a certain helipad for a certain someone. (Of course, this is fair game since Viggo had already broken the code first.)
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but the free drink Winston gives to John at the Continental comes with "Red Circle" on the napkin.
  • Cover Drop: The image of John used in this alternative poster and the DVD cover appears in the film; it's him walking towards Iosef to kill him once and for all.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The Continental Hotel is a hotel that caters, perhaps exclusively, to assassins and criminals.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Iosef and his goons deliver one to John in his home, right before they steal his car and kill his dog. John spends the rest of the film returning the favor.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Viggo claims to have personally seen John Wick kill three men in a bar with nothing but a pencil. In the sequel, the audience gets to see him do it, too.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Iosef wants revenge on John for refusing to sell his car to Iosef, John wants revenge on Iosef for killing John's dog, Viggo wants revenge on John for killing Iosef, and then John wants revenge on Viggo for killing Marcus.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ms. Perkins, a hitwoman sent to confront Wick. Bonus points for being played by Adrianne Palicki, who's quickly making a name for herself as an ass-kicker of the feminine persuasion.
  • Deadly Euphemism:
    • A "dinner reservation for [x]" = "I need [x] bodies cleaned up and the evidence completely removed."
    • "Noise complaint" = "violent confrontation."
    • "A talk with [x]" = "I want to kill [x]."
    • Francis (the bouncer at the Red Circle) tells John that there are at least twenty guards inside by telling John he lost "over twenty kilograms". (The subtitles translate this incorrectly as "over sixty pounds")
    • When Winston is sentencing Ms. Perkins to execution by firing squad for breaking the rules of the Continental: "Your membership to the Continental has been, by thine own hand, revoked."
  • Death Seeker: The movie sets up the ultimate theme of the series: John wants to die, but he can't just let someone kill him. In the first ten minutes, he goes to an airstrip to drive recklessly and barely stop himself crashing into some construction equipment.
  • Deconstruction: The main appeal of the film was to apply real or at least semi-realistic outcomes to variety of action movie cliches or to at least re-evaluate them.
    • After Iosef is told by his father how much he fucked up by incurring the wrath of John Wick, Iosef, trying to get back on his father's good side again, vows "to finish what he started"; Viggo, lampshading how Iosef ignored everything he just told him about John basically being the deadliest hitman in the world, tells him that John is going to go after him, he can't do anything to stop him, and to just get out of his sight. Vowing to kill a guy who has the reputation of being a stone-cold killer while you're an inexperienced, incompetent, spoiled, slacker of a son will get you laughed off. (Iosef then goes off to...distract himself from the situation by partying.)
    • After the first major action scene, John calmly calls someone to make "reservations for 12" - cue a "Specialized Waste Disposal" crew arriving to his house to clean up the mess left by said action scene.
      • Before that, John is visited by a police officer after killing all of the hit squad because he had just had a violent fight with 12-13 people, with tons of yelling, unsuppressed gunfire, and glass shattering for a couple minutes, long enough for neighboring houses to become disturbed and call 911. The only reason John isn't arrested is because this cop, and possibly the police in general, are fully aware of who John is and what just happened, so he's let off the hook.
    • Betraying the Continental's rules does not mean you can get away scot free, badass assassin or not. Ms. Perkins doesn't even get a shot off before Winston's men surround and execute her.
    • When cornered by John, Iosef Tarasov goes down as easy as anyone else.
    • Viggo Tarasov quite understandably becomes more violent and suffers a Villainous Breakdown after John dismantles his leverage over organized crime in New York City, torches his fortune, and makes him sell out his own son.
    • John's tough, but the impact of two bullets to a Bulletproof Vest leaves him off his game enough for Kirill to truly beat him up. Kirill is the first person who even manages to land shots on him, which is going to happen if you get enough people against anyone.
    • While a Bulletproof Vest will stop bullets, it's less useful against knives or a broken bottle.
    • The two times John needs outside help are in the hotel and after being tied to a chair, both times occurring after he had been asleep or knocked out. John might be a one man army, but even he is vulnerable if he's unconscious.
    • John has to reload frequently and often in the middle of a fight. When he runs out of his primary ammo he tries to attack Kirill hand-to-hand when he gets close to conserve ammo. When it fails he switches to an emergency gun to finish it.
    • One bullet isn't enough to kill anyone instantly if it is put anywhere other than the head (and even that's not a 100% guarantee). So when John wants someone dead, he makes sure to place a second one in the head. Quite frequently John does shoot an opponent in the chest, which staggers them but doesn't kill them, forcing him to do a follow-up shot to the head to keep them down.
    • After John destroys the contents of his vault (containing money, Continental coins, priceless art, and blackmail, all of which gave him power over the city's underworld) and makes him give up his only son, Viggo goes into a suicidal rage after losing everything and goes after Marcus, standing by and aiding John, knowing full well John will try to kill him too.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Marcus who chooses to go out on his own terms rather than be tortured to death, taking a few of Viggo's men with him.
    • Also, Victor utters out a "fuck you, motherfucker" as John drowns him in the Red Circle's bathroom.
  • The Determinator: When John Wick is committed to something, it's best to just stay out of his way and "leave him to it."
  • The Don: While he's a Russian mobster, Viggo's a classic example: Shrewd, has his own code of conduct, and protective of his family (to an extent).
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Iosef Tarasov, to the max. Typical empty tough guy attitude which falls apart at the first sign of trouble. Particularly in the fight at the Red Circle, where he grabs a nearby girl to shield himself when John has him in his sights.
    • Considering he sells out his own son to save himself and doesn't fight Wick until he's thrown all of his men at him, Viggo counts to a degree.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Depending on how much you love dogs or hate violence, John's actions may be this.
  • Double Tap: As seen under No Kill like Overkill, John does this even with assault rifles.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone with common sense is utterly terrified of John Wick.
    Viggo: Well, John wasn't exactly the boogeyman. He was the one you send to kill the fucking boogeyman.
    • How John's reputation was introduced to the audience:
      Viggo: [back turned, on the phone] I heard you struck my son.
      Aurelio: Yes, sir, I did.
      Viggo: And may I ask why?
      Aurelio: Yeah, well... 'cause he stole John Wick's car, sir, and, uh... killed his dog.
      Viggo: [turns around, face fallen] ...oh.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After selling out his son to John, and losing all of his money and leverage, Viggo turns to drugs.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Marcus decides to go out "on his own terms", which means he, after being tortured and maimed, gets up, kills a few guards and goes down guns blazing against Perkins.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Despite how extreme its action is, this film is tame in action and mythology compared to later episodes in the series. It also has the bystanders at the Red Circle react appropriately to a gunfight breaking out in their midst, whereas in later installments people who don't serve the Table don't seem to be aware of the Underworld and its activities. John is also less impossibly Made of Iron in this movie. Later episodes have him more or less shrug off being hit by a car; this time it takes him down so Viggo can tie him to a chair and strangle him to death (until Marcus saves him).
  • Engagement Challenge: A variant. Four years before the start of the film proper, John asked Viggo for permission to retire so he could leave the life and get married. Viggo gave John an Impossible Task to fill in order to gain said permission. What the task was was never stated, but the power vacuum created by the body count John left behind while completing it turned Viggo into a rising star in the New York underworld. (The sequel reveals that John accomplished this with Santino D'Antonio's help, sealing a Marker between them, meaning Santino could ask him for any task, once, at any time.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: The film, unlike many other action films, chooses to film its fights in smooth, easy-to-follow tracking shots instead of the Jitter Cam-laden, over-edited style that's present in most films in the genre.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: After Wick's intentions are made clear, Viggo offers his old buddy Marcus, the only person from John's time in the underworld to come to Helen's funeral, two million dollars to kill him. Subverted, since Marcus ultimately reveals that instead of failing to kill him throughout the movie, he's been helping him stay alive.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Continental is a haven for murderers, mobsters, assassins, and other professional criminals. But it also has rules, and breaking those rules is a massive taboo within the criminal underworld. The fact that Perkins is willing to break said rules shows how evil she is, even by the standards of the Continental's guests.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: At the end, John and Winston are the only major characters left alive.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: A lot of characters of the film have grappling-rich fighting styles. John uses primarily judo, while Perkins indulges in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Viggo shows some sambo as well, and the big bodyguard guy in the club utilizes pro wrestling moves.
  • Evil Costume Switch: John's not exactly evil, but when he comes out of retirement, he goes from light-colored T-shirts and leather jackets in earth tones to dark suits.
  • Evil is Petty: The entire situation is triggered by Iosef Tarasov deciding to kill John's dog, simply because the dog won't stop making noise while he and his goons are looking for John's car keys.
  • Exact Words: Marcus tells Viggo to "consider it done", but he doesn't explicitly take the contract on John's life. Instead he spends the film stalking and protecting John from other assassins and pays for it with his life.
  • Excuse Plot: Subverted and discussed. Both in and out of universe, slaughtering the entire Russian Mob over the death of a single dog sounds patently ridiculous, but when Viggo tells John this, he gives a lengthy, ultimately screaming speech over how it wasn't "just a dog", but the last ounce of hope for a normal life the dog represented, the last bit of his departed wife's memory, and the last chance a person like Wick had of actually expressing grief, love, and life. In other words, while it may seem like an Excuse Plot at first, it most definitely isn't.
  • Experienced Protagonist: John is already an incredible badass long before the story starts, which explains why everyone he fights is terrified of him.
  • Expy: John Wick's Ford Mustang is identical color-wise and in appearance to "Eleanor" from Gone in 60 Seconds (2000). It also ends up being stolen as a major part of the plot.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The film appears to take place over four days, with the main plot happening in about 48 hours.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Marcus goes out smiling, and Viggo dies philosophising to John.
  • Fan Disservice: A close up shot of a bikini-clad woman's buttocks would normally be plain fanservice, but the sleazy nightclub she works at serving Iosef makes it this.
  • Faux Affably Evil: While virtually every single criminal barring Iosef is Affably Evil, Ms. Perkins has the superficial charm, but remains no more than a ruthless thug.
  • Fingore: Ms Perkins quietly dislocates her thumb to get out of the cuffs Harry put on her.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • Right after Iosef and his goons beat him up, steal his car and kill his dog, the first thing John does is go to Aurelio's chop shop, where Aurelio is expecting him and explains what happened. This quickly establishes that John is connected to the underworld and is feared enough that most people don't want to get on his bad side. The following scene of Viggo calling Aurelio establishes further just how terrifying John's reputation is, with even The Don concerned of John's upcoming rampage.
    • At his hideout, Iosef is irritably on edge and yells at his cohort playing a First-Person Shooter at full volume (because he's wearing full headphones to keep in contact with the security team) to turn it off, finally snapping "WILL YOU STOP PLAYING THAT FUCKING VIDEO GAME!" Literally five seconds later, John gets him to stop playing by sniping him from afar.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • It's set up to look like Marcus is fending off rivals for the bounty, but John never questions where these mysterious shots came from.
    • Once he hears that the contract on John is open (as in, anyone can fill the contract), Marcus accepts it, telling Viggo, "Consider it done." That is, he only accepts once he learns that John could use some protection from other assassins.
    • There's also a foreshadowing signal in the soundtrack when Marcus is cleaning and assembling his sniper rifle. The song is "Killing Strangers" by Marilyn Manson, where one of the key and repeated lines is "We're killing strangers so we don't kill the ones that we love." This makes more sense later when the friendship between John and Marcus is revealed.
    • During the confrontation between Aurelio and Iosef, Iosef's lackeys declare Viggo won't like Aurelio punching Iosef and talking back at him. Aurelio counters that they don't know what Viggo would or wouldn't like, and that he'll tell Viggo "something he'll understand". After John leaves Aurelio's shop, Viggo calls for an explanation, and Aurelio plainly tells him it was because Iosef stole John Wick's car and killed his dog. As alluded to, Viggo is very understanding about the situation.
  • Formerly Fat: Francis, the doorman at Red Circle, says he's lost over 20 kilograms of weight since the last time John saw him. It's unknown how true this is, as it's code to tell Wick how many guards he'll be facing inside. (And on a guy the size of Kevin Nash, 20 kilograms might not look like much.)
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When John's showering, if one pays attention, one can see John has a tattoo on his back saying "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat". That is Latin for "Fortune Favors the Bold" and is similar to the motto of the 3rd Battalion of the Marine Corps "Fortuna Fortes Juvat". The Marine Corps' "Fortes" is plural, which can translate as "Fortune helps the bold ones" and has a sense of teamwork and camaraderie, whereas John's "Fortis" is singular. "Fortune helps a strong one", meaning that Fortune (whether luck or the Roman goddess Fortuna) only helps those who are strong. Playing toward John's One-Man Army tendencies.
    • There's also the weapon cache he digs up in his basement; one side is various weapons, the other side has gold coins. We don't find out the significance of these coins until later, but twelve of them are enough to arrange "a dinner reservation for twelve" AKA disposing of twelve bodies. And Wick has a case full of them.
    • Cases of the gold coins are shown in Viggo's personal safe, where he keeps his big black book of numbers (including John Wick's) and more are shown in the stash that John incinerates. They appear to be the universal currency of the underworld.
      • The value of a coin varies wildly throughout the series and they're abandoned in later installments. One will get you entry to a secret bar, or a body discretely disposed of, or a friend to babysit a rule-breaker, or call in a hit... they seem to be not so much money as they are tokens of favors, and at that they're favors less intimate and one on one as the marker called in by Santino in the sequel.
  • Friendly Enemy: Interestingly enough, Viggo and John are cordial enough with each other, and neither seems pleased with how things turned out. Noteworthy that both John and Viggo offer one another a chance to be spared, which is quite out of character for both.
  • From Bad to Worse: Iosef's predicament (wholly self-inflicted, but still). Your B&E/grand theft auto victim turns out to be an emotionally wounded man with nothing left to lose who launches a vendetta against you. And he's a former assassin you only took down because he was unarmed and unprepared to fight. And as assassins go, your mob called him "Baba Yaga", not because he was the boogeyman, but because he was who would be sent in "to kill the fucking boogeyman."

  • Genre Throwback: To the Golden Age of action films from The '80s and The '90s.
  • Give Me a Sword: Avi spends the final action scene demanding to be handed a gun. Viggo eventually hands him one... after taunting with him pulling it away a few times while in full Villainous Breakdown.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Mostly with really terrible accent. Also, virtually every single longer sentence in Russian gets subtitles that are totally different from the ones spoken.
  • Grin of Rage: Aurelio does this when Iosef brags about killing John's dog. Right before punching him in the face.
  • Guardian Entity: Marcus protects John on a couple of occasions.
  • Gun Fu: In a Reconstruction of this trope, Wick integrates Mixed Martial Arts techniques such as judo and jujitsu alongside tactical gunfighting stances, frequently using throws and holds in close-quarters to pin foes down in order to finish them with a gunshot, which also helps to avoid hitting bystanders with ricochets or through-and-throughs in crowded locations.
  • Heal It with Booze: Wick uses Bourbon to help deal with the pain after being stabbed with a broken champagne bottle.
  • The Hero Doesn't Kill the Villainess: John kills every male who slights him in any way during his quest to avenge the murder of his dog. Yet, when Ms. Perkins sneaks into his hotel room, attempts to assassinate him in his sleep, and intentionally re-injures his recently sutured side during their fight, John merely subdues and leaves her restrained with his friend Harry, to be released later in the day. This bites John in the ass when she kills both Harry and John's other friend Marcus.note  John shows no such restraint in John Wick: Chapter 2 or John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum after he's been excommunicated from the Continental.
  • Heroes Love Dogs:
    • John may or may not have been a dog lover before the film started, but he quickly became attached to the critter anyway.
    • John shows his love of dogs again at the end of the film by "adopting" a pit bull from the pound, i.e. stealing one that was scheduled to be put down.
  • He's Back!: What with the everything, John's thinking he is.
  • Heroic Bloodshed: A bit of this in terms of theme crossed with modern realistic shootouts.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Played with. Rather than taking place during a fight against the Big Bad, it's used for a Bait-and-Switch. John is apparently dying in the opening scene before the movie flashes back to How We Got Here, falling out of his vehicle severely wounded and playing a video recording of his deceased wife on his smartphone. When we get to that scene however, the recording enables John to rally himself enough to treat his injuries.
  • The Hero's Journey: The film follows the classical hero's journey closely, complete with relevant symbolism referring to the various stages.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Hinted at by the apparently genuine warmth several characters display towards John, including not only Marcus but also Winston, Charon, Addy, and Harry. It's implied there is something more to John than a cold-blooded killer, although that's almost all we see of him.
    • His Nice to the Waiter tendencies and attempts to avoid civilian casualties, as well as leave Jimmy out of the situation, suggest that he's actually a pretty friendly guy. Just when he's on the job, he's all business.
    • His interactions with Addy the bartender seem to hint that they might have been involved at one point or another. She definitely finds him attractive and is happy to see him back.
  • Hidden Supplies: When John retired, he put all of his guns and gold coins in a chest and buried it in concrete under the rug in his basement. The scene where Viggo explains John's backstory is intercut with the footage of John taking a sledgehammer and smashing the concrete.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted. Everyone attacking John in his home and John himself all have silencers on their weapons and the guns are much quieter than guns would normally be, but they're not "pfft pfft" silent, they're just loud rather than explosively loud.
  • Holy Pipe Organ: The church organ is playing Ludwig van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." The use of this piece of music may be an allusion to its context in A Clockwork Orange or perhaps Die Hard.
  • Honor Among Thieves: John is on a first name basis with many of the criminals in the film, with the criminal underworld present in the film portrayed as being built on respect, Sacred Hospitality and a somewhate villainous case of Superman Stays Out of Gotham. If anybody violates these rules - like the disrespectful Iosef intruding on John's retirement, stealing from him and killing his dog, or when Ms. Perkins breaks Hotel Continental rules and tries killing him and later kills Harry - you will receive no help or sympathy from anybody at best.
  • Horrifying the Horror: As Viggo puts it, John isn't the boogeyman - "he was the one you sent to kill the fucking boogeyman."
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with a battered up car crashing into the side of a building. John falls out, bleeding profusely, and lies on the ground watching a video recording of him and his wife together on a beach.
  • I Can Still Fight!: John at the end. He's been beaten, shot and stabbed, thrown off a balcony, hit by a car, hit by another car while in a car, and then stabbed again by Viggo. John's Made of Iron, Viggo can only last as long as he did because of all the accumulated damage John suffered.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Viggo knew what John is, and he knew what his son had done, but he had to try. He had to try and defend and then avenge his son. He couldn't, of course, because John Wick, but still.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • When Viggo has captured John, he doesn't kill him immediately. Instead, he talks and gloats for a bit, then leaves John for his henchmen to torture and kill.
    • Later on, Viggo still doesn't learn. When he's got Marcus, he prefers to torture him and gloat rather than just killing him. Marcus manages to wrestle a gun from his captors and kill two of Viggo's men before Perkins shoots him. He also calls John to gloat, which is bordering on Too Dumb to Live.
    • Viggo's son, Iosef, also qualifies — had he spent less time partying and bothered to learn the history of his crime family, he would have known about John Wick and why leaving him alone would have been a good idea. He manages to jealously hold onto the ball by continuing to insist he's not worried about John even after finding out that his own father is terrified of the man. It's not until he sees John rip through his entire security force at the night club that he actually understands how serious things are.
    • John catches a small one during the club shootout sequence. When John realizes he is out of spare mags for his primary pistol, he grimaces angrily and engages Kirill in hand to hand. Only after being thrown one floor down he remembers that he has a backup gun behind his belt. At least in this case, John was in a drawn-out fistfight and drew the gun when he had a reprieve.
    • And finally for Harry, a killer, to not be aware about the thumb dislocation trick to escape handcuffs and to let his guard down around Ms. Perkins, one who's already proven willing to break the rules of the hotel. It's particularly bad in his case, because he has literally no reason to ever get within arm's reach of Perkins just to scold her about breaking the rules.
  • Implacable Man: Yeah, you know who. And Wick's enemies are well aware of it.
  • Impossible Task: In a discussion between Viggo and his son Iosef, the father talks about why the title character is someone to fear: When Wick wanted out, Viggo set him on what he referred to as an impossible task as a condition for leaving, expecting that Wick would fail. Viggo concludes with saying that the pile of bodies left that day by Wick in the process of completing that task cleared the way for their criminal empire.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: John Wick makes every bullet count, displaying such precise speed, accuracy and reflexes that he is at times dropping Mooks with headshots one by one. That said, it's also played with in that at longer ranges or when faced with tougher material than a high powered pistol could accurately hit or punch through, he'll switch to something else like a shotgun or rifle.
  • Improvised Weapon: John likes using random things as improvised garrotes. Towels, handcuffs, his own sling, a pencil...
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Downplayed. Viggo spends a lot of his screentime drinking various kinds of alcohol, although it's not clear whether it's from the stress of knowing his son just pissed off the most dangerous man alive or whether he always drinks like that.
    • Also John after the Red Circle fight to numb the pain from his wounds.
  • In Medias Res:
    • The movie opens with John roughly parking an SUV, crawling out bleeding and laying against a loading ramp, and deciding to watch a video of him and his wife. The movie does not return to this until the very end, which reveals he crashed into the back of the pound/a veterinarian's office and uses the medical supplies to patch himself up. Also a case of How We Got Here and Once More, with Clarity.
    • The entire movie also qualifies. There is plenty of information given to let you know who the players are, and the exposition provides more than enough detail to follow along, but the movie is in love with giving characters backstory and then refusing to explain them at all. A movie about an incredibly skilled assassin getting out to be with his dying wife would normally start with the mission that he's tasked to do, and instead John Wick starts with her death. It's clear that there is some serious Worldbuilding behind the scenes, but the movie only provides the barest glimpse into it.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Averted, though it may not seem to be at first. John almost always goes for a headshot. When he can't, he favors one or two shots to the torso to stumble someone and finishes with a headshot when the opportunity presents itself (a technique called the Mozambique Drill). Failing that, he'll set up a headshot in another way such as hand-to-hand combat or shooting someone's foot.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • When they first meet, Iosef tells John that "everything has a price." John tells him right back when he comes to collect.
      • In Chapter 4, John repeats the echo with the Marquis. Rules, and consequences.
    • When Aurelio tells Viggo what Iosef has done and to who, Viggo's reaction is a flat "Oh." When Viggo explains to Iosef that John isn't so much the boogeyman as "the one you send to kill the fucking boogeyman", Iosef has the same reaction.
    • "Don't worry. Housekeeping will find you." First said by Harry to Ms. Perkins. Perkins repeats this to Harry after she kills him.
    • John kills Iosef out of redirected grief over his wife's death; later Viggo kills Marcus out of redirected grief over his son's death.
  • Irony: One of Iosef's guards is playing a first-person shooter when he gets sniped by John.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: The funeral of Wick's wife is in the middle of a heavy rain shower, setting the mood of the scene.
  • It Was a Gift: John Wick's dog.
  • It's Personal: Wick really valued his dog, and with good reason.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Literally speaking, the killing of John's dog. It had no reason to happen other than spiting John, and the combination of this incredibly petty reason for why she died alongside how she died (beaten and left to crawl up next to John, leaving a bloody trail, and die from her wounds) turns it into the last impetus he needs to initiate his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • Viggo's insinuation to John that his wife's death was divine punishment for his misdeeds as a hitman.
  • Kubrick Stare: John pulls off a frighteningly furious one, which could even be said to put his climactic one in The Matrix to shame.
  • Large Ham: Michael Nyqvist is having a fun time as Viggo Tarasov, but the ham really only kicks in after John dismantles his leverage on NYC and he sells his son out to die.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Pretty much the entire movie is John's retribution against the Tarasovs, particularly Iosef. It's implied that, if Iosef had only beat John up and taken the car, John might've just written it off and left well enough alone. But he just had to kill John's dog...
    • The decision to break the rules of The Continental by Ms. Perkins, attempting to kill John and later murdering Harry while there directly leads to being executed on Winston's orders.
    • Viggo's torture and killing of Marcus provokes Winston to inform John of where he's headed.
  • Laughing Mad: As part of his Villainous Breakdown, Viggo Tarasov can only laugh when John shows up to chase him down in the climax.
  • Leitmotif: Of sorts; Marilyn Manson's "Killing Strangers" is played recurrently during scenes involving Marcus.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Wick agrees to this when called to by an unarmed Viggo, throwing away his pistol. Unfortunately, when it's clear Viggo is getting the worse of it, he draws a switchblade.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Continental's rules state that no "business" can be conducted on Continental grounds, which is why Winston says he won't help John find Iosef. John replies by telling him that it is personal. By Winston's standards, "personal" is not the same as "business," so he bends the rules by covertly slipping John the location where Iosef is hiding. (And, of course, there is the little issue of Viggo inducing Perkins to break said rules.) It looks like Marcus might be attempting this, sniping John in his Continetal room from another building, thus not technically "conducting business on Continental grounds," but it's revealed Marcus wasn't trying to kill John, but watching over him.
  • The Lost Lenore: John's late wife, Helen, is a major source of grief for John.

  • MacGuffin: Ostensibly, John's car, but the real motivation for his revenge is the death of his dog.
  • Made of Iron: Wick, though by the end of the film it's somewhat Dented. He doesn't get hurt often, but when he does it looks very painful. It doesn't stop his onslaught, though. But also played with in that the injuries he does sustain are shown to be similar to the ones that would take out his opponents—a stab wound weakens him and a gunshot to the chest stumbles him. The difference is he doesn't allow his opponents to follow up or they're not professional enough to just go for the kill. Also played with in that early on, we see him being tended to by a doctor who gives him medication to ease the pain. The implication being that throughout the rest of the movie, he's basically holding himself together through sheer grit and drugs. Which means we're not actually seeing him when he's at 100%...
  • The Mafiya: Viggo's organization, although some of his henchmen aren't Russian. In fact, there's a Running Gag about how his second-in-command can't understand Russian, despite everyone around him using it constantly.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: A bunch of ski mask-clad Faceless Goons try to attack John at home after he's gotten his head back into the game, with predictable results.
  • Mauve Shirt:
    • Francis, the doorman at Red Circle. When John introduces himself with the muzzle of his pistol, Francis greets him politely and they chat for a moment. He then proves to be the smartest man in the room by agreeing to John's suggestion that he take the night off.
    • Crossing over with Elite Mook, Kirill is the one person in Viggo's organization to match John blow for blow and survive multiple encounters.
  • Mickey Mousing: The gunfight at the Red Circle briefly syncs up with the music.
  • Misplaced Accent: Viggo Tarasov speaks with Michael Nyqvist's rather pronounced Swedish accent.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: The crooked Priest briefly comments this to John, saying Viggo will kill him if he opens the vault. Wick's reaction is to ruthlessly gun down a nearby Mook and a skeptical "mm-hm". The Priest promptly opens the vault. Viggo does indeed kill him.
  • Moe Greene Special: At the Red Circle club chase/shootout, John pins one mook beneath him and shoots him in the eye.
  • Mood Whiplash: John brutally kills a dozen hitmen in his house, taking down the last one by repeatedly stabbing him in the throat with his own knife. Then the doorbell rings, and we get a comedic scene with a police officer investigating noise complaints. It seems clear that the police know John was a hitman and don't react at all when they see one of the bodies behind him.
  • Mook Horror Show: The movie quickly descends into this territory, with John Wick cutting down mobsters and hitmen (most of whom are practically helpless against him) with ruthless efficiency. The only advantage his enemies have against him is numbers, which doesn't really help that much.
  • Morality Pet: Literally, John's dog, given to him by his dead wife. Iosef's impulsive decision to kill the dog is what triggers the whole series of events. John explains it very clearly himself late in the film, the dog was his last link to his wife, his hope for doing anything other than lapse back into his old ways, and killing the dog released the last bit of restraint he had.
  • Mugging the Monster: Iosef decides to steal John Wick's car when John refuses to sell the car to him, so he breaks into the man's house, beats him without killing him, and kills his dog for good measure. Iosef is the only person in the city who has no idea who John is, and Viggo has to stress just how badly he's fucked up.
    Viggo: It's not what you did, son, that angers me so. It's who you did it to.
    Iosef: Who? The fucking nobody?
    Viggo: That "fucking nobody"... is John Wick.
  • Murder Simulators: Played with. Iosef has a video game console in his safe house, and his remaining buddy Gregori is playing a First-Person Shooter note  to pass the time while they're in hiding. Notably, Iosef seems a lot less entertained by violent video games when he is being pursued by an actual trained killer.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • John Wick, in universe. The mere mention of John's name is enough to send most of the criminals in the city into a panic.
    • John is also given the nickname Baba Yaga. The film translates it as the Russian word for "boogeyman", but it's actually the name of an old witch who eats kids in Russian folklore.
  • Neighborhood Friendly Gangster: John Wick is pretty well-known around town. Everyone who knows him either likes or, at the very least, greatly respects him. He's even friendly to the police officer who visits his house.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Played with. During the final fistfight confrontation Viggo pulls out a knife on John and actually manages to stab him in the gut with it. Turns out to be a bad idea as John let himself get stabbed to take an opportunity to break Viggo's arm, grab the knife and fatally stab him with it.
    • Gets a Call-Back in the fourth film, as John lets Caine give him a lethal gutshot while holding his own last bullet so he can get the Marquis close and kill him, getting a win that also leaves his friend Caine alive, along with the latter's daughter.
  • Neck Snap: Done semi-realistically with John, using the edge of a table to break a mook's neck when his home is raided. He also does it to one of Iosef's friends in the bath-house using a towel and his elbow.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • John, interestingly enough. He's cordially cool to most people, but he's shown to have made acquaintances with people like Addy and Francis, who are a bartender and a Mook respectively. And in the latter case, this means John gives Francis an opportunity to walk away from the fight.
    • Part of what makes John so respected is his professionalism. He doesn't kill indiscriminately (unless you work for someone he doesn't like and he doesn't know you) and avoids firing into crowds when he knows he won't hit his target. Jimmy, the cop, is only doing his job and is either paid off or knows enough to not get involved, namely because since John is involved it won't go beyond whatever business he has. Francis seems to work for the club moreso than Viggo directly, so with that and whatever history they have allows John to give him an out. But if you pull a gun against John, you're an impediment to the mission, and soon dead.
  • Noble Demon:
    • John himself is a ruthless ex-hitman, but he also takes care to never fire when it would endanger the lives of non-combatants, such as when he fights his way through a nightclub. And when he desires the death of someone who is a non-combatant, he arranges it so that that person gets killed by the hand of another. Lastly, he respects the rules of the Continental even though Management implicitly would have let him kill Ms. Perkins for assaulting him in his room, as she was the one who violated the rules by breaking the truce.
    • The same is true for most people who can even remotely be considered "good guys" in this series (and a few bad guys). Given that the setting is the criminal underworld, and more specifically the world of professional assassination, virtually nobody has clean hands, but John's friends and allies tend to have qualities like honor and loyalty to make them sympathetic, compared to figures like Santino and The Marquis, who are vile Hate Sinks.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: John Wick asks his acquaintance, Harry, to keep Ms. Perkins locked down until hotel management can deal with her. He accepts and keeps an eye on her, only for her to get loose and shoot him in the head. Later, Perkins is the one who tails and uncovers Marcus working in cahoots with John, leading to Marcus's death as well.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Iosef and his men do this on John before killing his puppy.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Viggo doesn't explain exactly what John did to earn his "retirement," except that their reign over the city was built on the mountain of corpses John left behind him on that one "impossible" assignment.
    • John and Ms. Perkins are implied to have some kind of history, enough that she's willing to break the rules of the Continental to kill him.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: John and Viggo acknowledge they're both cursed to live through violence, regardless of what they try to do.
  • Not So Stoic: For the most part even in the middle of a fight Wick isn't emotional, but his stoicism has limits; in particular, the death of his wife and later the death of the dog she left him.
  • Nursery Rhyme: Viggo hums a Russian nursery rhyme about the Boogeyman stealing away bad children to himself, intercut with John killing a bunch of mooks with the intent of getting revenge on Iosef.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Impossible Task Viggo set John to in order to get permission to retire is never described or shown, but the body count left behind by its completion - in a single day - was apparently epic.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Iosef brings John's car to a chop shop to get new plates and a fake registration, only for Aurelio, the owner of the shop to go white, punch him in the face, and tell him to get out.
    • When Viggo calls later for Aurelio to explain his actions, he only has to explain that Iosef stole John Wick's car and killed his dog to get off the hook.
      Viggo: ...Oh. [hangs up]
      • The highlight is perhaps Viggo's reaction to learning who Iosef stole the car from; Viggo can't decide whether to laugh, cry, or simply beat the ever-loving crap out of his son.
    • Viggo calls John immediately after learning all this. He tries to reason with him and work things out. John says nothing and hangs up. The look on Viggo's face screams This Is Gonna Suck.
    • Marcus, when he realizes Viggo has come to punish him.
    • Iosef acts like a real tough guy for the beginning of the film, until he sees John slaughter his way through the Red Circle after him.
    • Iosef, calling Victor only to straight away realize he's actually talking to John Wick. The guy who he stole a car from and killed his dog. Wick's response is merely this.
      John Wick: Victor's dead. [in Russian] Everything's got a price.
    • Iosef gets a final one when he watches the dude playing a video game get head-shot right in front of him and realizes that John has found him.
  • Ominous Walk: John looks like the Angel of Death when he is about to kill Iosef. He slowly walks up to him, with emphasis being placed in each of his thundering footsteps, before he shoots Iosef in the face.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: Viggo claims that John once killed three guys with a pencil.
    Viggo: A fucking pencil.
  • One-Man Army: John Wick shoots through dozens of thugs, and eventually takes down both Iosef and Viggo personally.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: This appears to be the motive of Marcus, but it turns out he really is trying to protect Wick.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • There's actually several, starting with Aurelio who immediately realizes Iosef stole John Wick's car and that there's gonna be hell to pay.
    • Victor is the one among Iosef's group who tries to keep him from causing trouble, such as pulling him away from John and apologizing for the trouble then later keeping Iosef's other friend from shooting Aurelio.
    • The cop Jimmy who calls on John's house after John takes out 12 hitmen. Jimmy remains utterly calm realizing there's a couple of bodies in plain view (John even steps to the side and looks back like "oh yeah, those"), and knows well enough to say nothing about that and politely walks away. Fans regularly identify him as the smartest guy in the movie.
      • In the same vein, John gets the drop on Francis (one of Viggo's mooks that he appears to know personally) and offers him the opportunity to walk away. The man immediately takes it, but not before thanking Wick.
    • Viggo starts off this way, knowing full well just how dangerous John can be, but Viggo's desire to protect his own son overrules it. And then after he betrays Iosef to save his own skin, Viggo goes overboard taking out his revenge on John's friend Marcus.
    • Kirill deserves a mention, if only for the run-up to the Red Circle scene: he obviously knows who he's up against, is pissed off at Iosef for starting the whole mess (and for trying to continue his party boy lifestyle while one of the most dangerous men alive is on his trail), and tells him so in no uncertain terms.
      Kirill: [in Russian] My job is to keep a boy safe. Not to babysit a drunkard.
      Iosef: [in English] Are you scared of the fucking boogeyman? I'm not.
      Kirill: [snatches Iosef's glass away from him] No. But you should be.
  • Overlord Jr.: Iosef is Viggo's son but, unfortunately, inherited none of his courage or intelligence...
  • Painting the Medium:
    • When subtitles are on screen, words that are emphasized in speech are bold and colored in the subtitles.
    • The movie makes a point of Daisy's role in John's life: she is ultimately intended to be an outlet for him to express his grief. When he gets her, he also receives a note from his departed wife and breaks down, and he has tenderness in every scene with Daisy. When Iosef kills Daisy, John loses his outlet for expressing grief, and the movie goes out of its way to avoid any scenes of grief. He buries Daisy, but it's shown in a smash cut. He doesn't stop to think about his wife, or his puppy at any point, and operates on pure, clinical Tranquil Fury...until it's all done. At which point he pulls out his phone and watches a video of him and his wife, and he's allowed to grieve again. As long as John is unable to grieve, we the viewers are unable to grieve as well.
  • Papa Wolf: Played straight at first, but ultimately subverted. Viggo expends significant resources trying to kill John to spare his son. When it comes down to it, however, he barters away his son's life to spare his own. He does try to get revenge for Iosef's ensuing death, but the means by which he does it serves to put him right in John's sights.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Winston and some of his Mooks invoke this on Ms. Perkins via four simultaneous headshots as punishment for her Stupid Evil violation of their standards. Given how she just got finished helping Viggo ambush Token Good Teammate Marcus to death, most viewers can't help but cheer Winston and said Mooks on.
  • Playing Nice for Now: Winston makes it clear to John that no "business" (i.e. killings) will take place on the grounds of the Continental Hotel. Ms. Perkins willfully ignores this rule, both in her attack on John and the killing of Harry, the latter capped off with an arrogant "Fuck Management", and is executed by a firing squad.
  • Police Are Useless: Played With. Jimmy sees a dead body on John’s floor and doesn’t even inquire to get a self-defense technicality to report back, but this is justified because Jimmy obviously knows who and what John is. He even makes a point of moving his gun hand away from his holster as he backs away. Jimmy knows exactly who he is dealing with, and he is not stupid.
    • Jimmy removes his policeman’s cap before discussing the situation, implying that he is going “off the record.”
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Played with; John's deceased wife leaves him a beagle because he needs something to love, and "the car doesn't count". Ultimately, however, John's rampage is because Iosef killed the dog; at best, the car was merely icing.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto:
    • "fortis Fortuna adiuvat" (fortune favors the bold) is tattooed across John's back.
    • The gold coins used in the assassin underground are stamped "ex unitae vires" (Unity is Strength) and "ens causa sui" (Existing Because of Oneself). They're even dated in Latin (MMI, aka 2001).
  • Profane Last Words: Iosef manages to get as far as "It was just a fucking—!" before John shoots him dead.
  • Professional Killers: A number of characters, not least John himself, are assassins. They have a Code, with stiff penalties for going against it.
  • Protagonist Title: John Wick is such a force of nature that he proves the movie could not have been titled differently.
  • Rated M for Manly: Multiplied with Rule of Cool for maximum manliness.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The New York Continental Truce Zone rules state that no business is to be conducted on Continental grounds but are willing to allow attempted victims of this to defend themselves with lethal force against those who violate the rules. When John is on the phone with Charon regarding the noise from Perkins' assassination attempt, John subtly gets permission to kill her should he choose.
  • Recurring Element: Honor. Trust. Brotherhood. Marcus chooses to side with John over Viggo in this film, and that's a recurring element throughout the series. The High Table (introduced later) is built on power; the Underworld they claim to control is built on Brotherhood. John wins because he's a Living Legend, yes, but part of that is built on the fact that he's a good friend.
    Koshi: Friendship means nothing if it's not convenient.
  • Replacement Goldfish: John gets a new dog at the end of the film.
  • Retired Badass: John Wick, at first—and retired enough that, aside from Iosef's ambush taking him down, if you compare his first shootout with his last, he's notably slower, less sneaky, less deadly, and less accurate earlier in the movie. Not that it helps his opponents, as he's still phenomenally lethal.
  • Retired Monster: John has shades of this. From what we're told of his past, he is responsible for several bloodbaths when he worked for the Russian Mob. In addition, the elevator pitch for the movie was "The worst man in the world comes out of retirement."
  • Retired Outlaw: Former hitman John Wick retired from the business to live quietly with the love of his life. Sadly, she then succumbs to a fatal disease, and then Iosef just has to show up and kill John's dog, who oh by the way was pretty much the only link he had left to her.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Viggo kills Marcus to get back at John for killing his son, though part of it is because Marcus took the job and instead helped John throughout his journey.
  • Riches to Rags: The film opens with Viggo securing a deal that puts him at the top of the NYC crime world. By the end of the film he's lost dozens of henchmen, millions of dollars, irreplaceable treasures, and all of his leverage over others, at the hands of the person who started his organization rise to the top. By the time John kills him, it's almost a mercy.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: A big part of what makes the death of John's dog so tragic is that she's almost impossibly adorable. It's even more tragic in that the dog crawled next to John while he was unconscious and died next to him before he could wake up.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The whole movie is John Wick exacting vengeance for the death of his dog, Daisy. By proxy, also his wife in that cancer is not something he can shoot and kill and helplessness is not something he's all that familiar with. In killing Daisy, Iosef replaced the dog as something John could handle and direct his attention towards in order to express his grief. Too bad Iosef isn't nearly as adorable as Daisy was.
  • Rule of Cool: The culture of the criminal underworld. Not only how John behaves himself towards allies and old friends, but best represented by The Continental. The way that organization handles itself and abides by its own code of honor swiftly found a devoted fanbase.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • The hotel manager is named Charon and John pays him a gold coin before fully embarking on his rampage. In Greek mythology, Charon was the ferryman that took dead people across the river Styx into the underworld and had to be paid with a coin.
    • Addy even asks John how "life on the other side" was. A simple question, but with the film's symbolism, a double meaning implying that the only real life is outside of crime.
    • Compared to many action movies where the sound track usually is the loudest thing in a scene, in John Wick, the music is almost tranquil and subdued while the loudest thing is John's gunshots or something similar (thunder as John chases down the final villain). This highlights both his Tranquil Fury but it also highlights how that violence - and specifically his guns - are his way of expression his emotions of grief and anger. His gunshots are substitutes for crying and yelling. The one scene where he seems to lose his cool is the one scene where he is otherwise helpless and doesn't have a weapon on him.
    • The suit he wears during the movie? Same suit he wore to his wife's funeral.
    • There's also symbolism with the colors in the movie. Notice how the second film's poster is red.
    • In the scene where John gears up to start his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, he lays Daisy's collar on his nightstand next to a bracelet that belonged to his wife, and picks up a gun, symbolizing, in left to right order, how first cancer took his wife, then Daisy was taken by Iosef, and so all John has left is the gun.
    • The dog John gets at the beginning of the film is a puppy, representing John's new start in life in innocence, being only five years out of the life. At the end he has an adult pit bull, showing he has returned to his old, tenacious ways and, like a pit bull, if properly abused, he can be a monster.
  • Running Gag: Viggo speaking Russian, and Avi asking him to speak English.

  • Sacred Hospitality: Violence or other criminal business is strictly forbidden within the Continental Hotel. Anybody who violates this rule will be punished severely. Ms. Perkins, who takes double Viggo's bounty to break this rule, pays the price after not only attacking John, but killing fellow assassin Harry when John assigns him to watch her.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: While the mythical Baba Yaga was indeed depicted as a villain and occasional child-snatcher in folklore, it's because she preys upon the overly-curious, who stray from their homes into her domain. In modern times, she is almost always portrayed as a wise and strictly neutral or even helpful character, who might hinder or assist the protagonist of a given tale. The screenwriters seem to have confused Baba Yaga with a similarly-named entity known as Babay, or babayka, who are primarily known for snooping around homes to lure and kidnap children who don't go to sleep when they're told to. If anything, the babay seems closer in description to the boogeyman than Baba Yaga does. Ironically, one antagonist that Baba Yaga often helps deal with is a figure whose description fits John Wick almost perfectly: Koschei the Deathless.
  • Screw the Money, This Is Personal!: Implied. When Viggo finds out about that his son Iosef had stolen John Wick's car and killed his dog, he calls John and tries to reason with him, knowing that John is about to embark on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. John listens to him beg for a few seconds, before wordlessly hanging up—making it quite clear he won't be bribed or reasoned out of this. Viggo goes to great lengths to protect his son, so John starts hitting Viggo where it hurts: his money. He burns all of it, not even taking pennies for himself, it's all about vengeance.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!: "No business may be conducted on Continental grounds." In other words, the hotel premises constitute a Truce Zone, and the penalty for violating it is summary execution. Perkins doesn't appear to care about the rules given the money she's being offered. Unfortunately for her, Winston does. After she murders Harry while escaping, Winston hunts her down and has her shot.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: One of the posters for the movie shows the title character pointing a pistol at the viewer, with the opening of the barrel replacing the "o" in "John". The Blu-ray and DVD disc art uses the same image and creatively makes the barrel the center of the disc.
  • See You in Hell: Implied; Wick and Viggo say "Be seeing you" after seriously wounding each other.
  • Self-Made Man: If invokedWord of Saint Paul is to be believed, Viggo carved his criminal empire out of nothing. The implication is still present in the movie, where Viggo seems to be a lot more aware of the reality of the criminal world than his son, Iosef, who didn't grow up facing the same difficulties.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: In the final fight, John realizes his opponent is strong enough that John won't be able to redirect the knife pointed at his gut, so he just takes the stab wound and takes the knife that way.
  • Shout-Out: The Red Circle is likely named after Le Cercle rouge, which Chad Stahelski has acknowledged as an inspiration for this film.
    • The church shootout seems to deliberately evoke the famous shootout from Heat.
  • Show, Don't Tell: The way the Continental's currency system works is shown during the clean-up scene at John's house with no exposition whatsoever. The use or acknowledgement of a gold coin easily shows that a person is part of the criminal world.
  • Shown Their Work: The distinctive and fluid shooting style that John uses throughout the movie is an actual system called Center Axis Relock (C.A.R.). It is specifically referred to as a gunfighting system, not target shooting.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Winston has about ten minutes of screentime in the entire movie, but to quote his actor, "If John and Viggo are the gods of New York, Winston is the Titan."
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Sort of. John is quiet and tranquil. While there are loud music choices, notably, there are certain sounds that are unusually loud such as the sound of John's guns which tend to be even louder than the background music. A reflection of his inner rage and grief that he himself can not actually express.
    • Similarly, the lyrics that play over certain key scenes often hint or highlight the actions therein. For example, when Viggo first offers Marcus the contract on John, the lyrics that are playing speak of hunting and killing strangers and enemies while not killing/not being able to kill the ones you love - hinting and foreshadowing that Marcus won't betray John.
    • Played with during the club shootout: When John is on the bathhouse itself, the music is relatively soft and not very aggressive, and utterly at odds with the knife fighting and gunfire, which reflects how off-kilter John's emotional state is, to the point where he hesitates to kill Iosef and he's having trouble against individual mooks. However, as John continues chasing Iosef through the club, the music becomes more aggressive and in time with his actions, showing John becoming more focused and efficiently dispatching the guards and trying to kill Iosef.
  • Source Music: The music in the Red Circle shootout is the actual music being played in the club, changing as the scene changes location and going silent for the shots outside the club of Iosef escaping. This causes some Soundtrack Dissonance in the bathhouse at start, with the serene, ethereal "Think" playing over the violence.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: "John Wick" is fairly mundane as far as badass hitmen names go. That said, it's also crosses over into a Visual Pun or Rule of Symbolism - he dresses in dark colors, tends to fight in the dark or in thematically dark places, yet the muzzle flashes of his gun are extremely prominent much like the wick of a candle. Alternatively, the wick of a candle could be analogous to the fuse of a stick of dynamite.
  • Spoiled Brat: Iosef Tarasov, who insults, threatens, boasts and complains throughout the whole movie.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Marcus looks poised to kill an unsuspecting Wick, but instead shoots just off to the side to alert John to an assassin in the room.
  • Stealth Parody: Of The Dreaded and One-Man Army. The film has a very dry and subtle sense of humour about John's reputation and the bodies he leaves behind him.
  • Tag Line: "Don't Set Him Off."
  • The Syndicate: The Continental, which seems to have ties to the system of payments and debts the criminals use.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • For breaking the rules of the Continental, Perkins is shot in the head by four different people simultaneously.
    • Marcus is shot twice by Perkins, twice by Viggo, then 3 or more times by Viggo after he's already dead.
    • When John wants someone dead, he doesn't do it by half measures. Any given mook is going to be shot at least three times if he doesn't immediately go for the head: twice in the chest and once in the head for good measure. Honorable mention to the Mook that John puts an assault-rifle burst into at point-blank range, and then delivers a second burst to the head. Justified since John is a professional killer: you don't earn a reputation like his unless you Make Sure He's Dead. (On a more mundane front, in close-quarters combat, John is prone to putting the first round into his target's foot or leg, which is painful but usually not immediately fatal.)
  • They Just Dont Get It: Iosef has a hard time grasping the fact that he's just pissed off Death incarnate, repeatedly brushes off his father's warnings, and at one point even says that he'll go back and kill Wick himself. It takes a club full of mooks getting systematically slaughtered right in front of him before he starts to grasp just how screwed he is.
  • Thicker Than Water: Iosef may be a no-good layabout but he still is Viggo's son, which is why the latter can't just let John go kill him. He ultimately is intimidated into it via a Kel-Tec KSG shotgun to the face after John blows his driver away in front of him.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    • How Iosef first tries to intimidate John.
    • John immediately returns the favor. Iosef is taken aback (in part because his intimidation effort was in Russian and, presumably, he did not expect John to understand it).
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Viggo's slumped posture and Avi's soft "Oh god..." after the former's phone call to John said it all from both of them. The former is resigned to the inevitable, the latter is quietly terrified.
  • Tired of Running: Viggo spends the entire movie fleeing Wick's wrath, but by the end, his Villainous Breakdown reaches the point he just stops running and charges head on against John.
  • Title Drop: One of the first times John's full name is said is treated like this, as Viggo explains to Iosef just whose car he stole and whose dog he killed. Viggo giving John's backstory is then intercut with John digging up a stash of weapons by smashing through his concrete floor with a sledgehammer.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Helen's bracelet, and not long after that, Daisy's collar.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Within the space of around forty-eight hours John buries his wife, gets beat up, has his car stolen and watches his puppy get killed in front of him. Then he starts visiting the trauma on others.
  • Truce Zone: Do not break the rules of the Continental. Ms. Perkins did and pays the price later on, with the added bonus that they indirectly sold out Viggo for hiring her.
  • Truth in Television: As mentioned in Deconstruction, John's constant reloading is still carried throughout the next films, which makes the film franchise take on a much more realistic approach to gunfights. In comparison, many other gun-oriented action films would opt for Bottomless Magazines and zero reloads instead. Also in a case of applying thorough research, the number of shots John fires before reloading is portrayed accurately when it comes to actual magazine sizes (which means he always empties his clips). For example, John fires 7 shots from an M1911 before he reloads, because that's the standard maximum clip size of the gun in real-life.
  • Undying Loyalty: Marcus to John. Unfortunately, his loyalty is a bit more undying than he is. Also John himself to an extent, both to people he forms attachments to and from the people who know him best.
  • Unflinching Walk: John, after blowing up Viggo's private stash.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • John tells a sympathetic cop looking at the bodies in his home that he's "working through some issues right now."
    • The Cleanup Crew is a "dinner reservation".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: After John takes out a goon squad in his house, Jimmy, a police officer, comes over to check out the "noise disturbance." Jimmy is familiar with John's reputation, and doesn't even blink at the body visible in the hallway.
    Jimmy: You, uh, working again?
    John Wick: No, just sortin' some stuff out.
    Jimmy: Ah, well I'll leave you be then.
  • Uriah Gambit: As Viggo explains to Iosef, John used to work with the Mafiya when one day he asked to leave. Viggo granted that request on the condition that he performed a job considered impossible. Of course, John Wick being John Fucking Wick, he succeeded.
  • Villain World: The fictionalized version of New York in the film is filled with professional killers who operate virtually in public, have a similar villain's code/culture to the pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and are left alone by the law, who intentionally and probably sensibly turn a blind eye.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Viggo, by the end. To elaborate, he lost almost all of his money, all of his leverage and power in New York, was forced to sell out his son, and was turning to drugs to drown his sorrows. That he's Laughing Mad and willing to antagonize John more are quite understandable.
  • Waif-Fu: Downplayed Trope. Ms. Perkins fights with a lot of grapples and holds rather than the typical tactics associated with this trope. Mind you, there's a reason for this, in that she's hardly willowy but John is still much stronger and taller than she is, so she favors grapples to eliminate the size difference. Once John gets in a good, solid punch to her face, Perkins is easily subdued.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After everything, John never gets his car back. The sequel changes that.
  • Within Arm's Reach: While dueling Kirill at the Continental hand to hand, John manages to pin him against a table only for Kirill to notice a wine bottle there, which he grabs and smashes on John's head, stunning John and letting Kirill gain the upper hand.
  • Worldbuilding: This film depicts a society of elite hitmen who are almost completely separate from everyone else. They even have a separate economy based on gold coins (one of which is worth thousands of dollars) as a way of proving to each other that they have the skill, reputation, and wealth necessary to run in those circles.
  • World of Badass:
    • Everyone in the movie who isn't a Mook is some level of badass. Even the concierge at the Continental is unfazed by John's level of violence.
    • Even the Mooks show varying level of competency, to the point that a few minor one-on-one engagements almost got John killed and they're shown using effective techniques in real life as well as understanding realistic mechanics.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Played with. Wick has no problem giving Ms. Perkins a beating in self-defense, but he seems reluctant to kill her unless absolutely necessary. He would have been perfectly justified in doing so, and is even given implicit pass for the Truce Zone when Charon asks if he needs a "dinner reservation". He instead gets her to sell out Viggo in exchange for her life. He also spares a pair of women managing Viggo's money stash, though they were technically noncombatants.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: John takes down one of the mooks in the pool with a Kido clutch, and later performs a rolling fireman's carry slam on Viggo.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Did you really think John would get Iosef the first time around, or that it would be over after John finally gets his man?

♫ Think of me, I'll never break your heart
Think of me, you're always in the dark
I am your light, your light, your light
Think of me, you're never in the dark. ♫


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): John Wick Chapter 1


The Reaper and John Wick meet

To promote a new collaboration with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, which includes a skin based on John Wick, Epic Games released a trailer that features him and his expy within Fortnite, The Reaper, facing off.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / ExpyCoexistence

Media sources: