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Franchise / John Wick

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John Wick is a neo noir action thriller franchise set in the shadowy underworld of assassins and criminals.

The franchise focuses on John Wick (played by Keanu Reeves), a former hitman coming out of retirement after the death of his dog. Even as he tries to return to his peaceful life, he finds himself drawn back into his former life by old debts.


Works in this franchise includes:

Films

  • John Wick - retroactively called John Wick: Chapter 1 (2014): A hitman comes out of retirement to take vengeance on the men who killed his dog and stole his vintage car.
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  • John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017): Wick is drawn into underworld politics when a mafia boss calls in an old favor.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019): After the events of Chapter 2, Wick is on the run, with everyone gunning for him.
  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (2021)
  • Ballerina (TBA): A Spin-Off about a young woman who is raised to be an assassin, pursuing revenge on the hit men who killed her family.

Comic Books

Live-Action Television

  • The Continental (TBA) A spin-off series set the John Wick universe (but not starring the man himself though he is set to make an appearance).

Video Games

  • John Wick Chronicles (2017): A VR game where you play as as John Wick taking down targets in the Continental Hotel using a multitude of weapons.
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  • John Wick Hex (2019): A strategy game developed by Mike Bithell (of Thomas Was Alone and Volume fame).

Video Games with John Wick DLC

Not to be confused with game designer John Wick.


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Tropes present across the franchise:

  • Ammunition Conservation: John tends to restrict himself regarding how much ammunition he uses against his opponents. This practice gets particular focus in the first film with the Red Circle shootout, where John kills Viggo Tarasov’s men with an average of two and a half bullets per combatant.
  • Arc Words: "Be seeing you, John."
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The spec script for Ballerina was written as an original story, and was adapted to fit into the John Wick universe after it was purchased by Lionsgate.
  • Franchise-Driven Retitling: The first film has been given the subtitle, Chapter 1 to match the sequels.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: In contrast to the 250+ men that John has killed so far throughout the series, the number of female Mooks he has encountered can be literally counted on one hand: Ms. Perkins in the first film, Ares and the Violinist in the second, and the young assassin at Grand Central Station in the third. You can arguably add Gianna D'Antonio to that list as well, although she is merely a non-combatant assassination target who gives up without a fight. Of these characters, only the Grand Central assassin is a completely throwaway extra.
  • Police are Useless: The police don't intervene at all past the first few moments in the first two films, with the same cop coming to the home, finding the sheer amounts of carnage Wick was involved with, and, knowing Wick, deciding to leave it at that. Somewhat justified, in that the cops probably know they don't stand anything resembling a chance against the guy, and he Would Not Shoot a Civilian so there's not much to gain.
  • Retro Universe: The series is clearly set in the present day, and the 'ordinary world' is no different from our own. The assassins' underworld, however, is built on a feudal system of fealty, and they have a strong preference for antiquated technology in everything except weaponry: gold coins as currency, rotary phones and typewriters all see use and go unremarked upon.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: While the first movie can be watched standalone on its own, the second movie ends on a very clear cliffhanger that leads directly into the third. As the third film ends in another cliffhanger leading into a fourth, it ends up being a two-part tetralogy.
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