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Headscratchers / John Wick: Chapter 2

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     Ares's empty gun 
  • Why is Ares out of ammo when she confronts Wick? We only see her take a few shots at him, less than five. Plus, she doesn't have an extra mag or two?
    • We know she's out of ammo (a) because she attacks John with a knife instead of just shooting him in the face as soon as the door opens, and (b) when John takes her gun he checks the magazine and discards it (the mag, that is).
    • Ares couldn't reload in time or simply wanted to finish it fast. Also she wasn't expecting him to charge head on during Santino's speech.
    • She does have a backup magazine. John dumps the one in the gun and searches her jacket, finding a new mag with which he reloads. Maybe she just wasn't as confident in her shooting as in her hand-to-hand skills, especially in such a tight space.
    • Likely she was too arrogant, John seems to glare at her when he finds the ammo as if he realized she tried toying with him to the end.

     Winston's leniency 
  • In the first movie, Winston had Ms. Perkins executed by firing squad for *trying* to kill John in the hotel. In this one, he punishes John with excommunication for *actually* killing Santino, waits overnight to administer the punishment, and gives John a one hour head start. Why? Given the chaos and destruction that will ensue from this decision, it has to be more than just his personal respect/fondness for Wick.
    • Ms. Perkins conducted business on the premises by trying to kill John and actually killing Harry, so it's not just try and that just add to the murder attempt. Plus Winston was shown bending his rules for John since the first movie. Marcus wanted to do that too, so it's more than likely with the age difference and Wick's history he was around since Winston built the Continental. Viggo even mentioned Marcus and Wick are the last of the old guard, so there is a matter of honor into it.
    • Damn, I forgot about poor Harry, so good point there. But even so, would Winston really make this decision out of mere sentimentality?
    • Winston all but outright says that he does so out of sentimentality. John asks Winston why he isn't dead yet, and Winston's reply is "Because I choose it to be so." What's the point of being in such a position of power if you can't bend the rules a little bit when you choose to?
    • It may also be because Winston, being highly placed in the organization, knows that Santino was going to cause even more damage to everyone if he stayed alive, probably causing some kind of civil war among the assassins. But as long as he was on Continental grounds, there was no legal (by the organization's standards) way to stop him. Even in the best case scenario, there's an Evil Power Vacuum on his hands to clean up just to maintain the organization. By killing Santino, even on Continental grounds, Winston knows Wick's actions (however destructive) averted a bloody and wasteful disaster for the guild, thereby doing him a favor. Winston has to declare John Persona Non Grata and honor the bounty for appearances' sake, but he knows John saved their asses in the longer term.
    • Most likely Wick just did Winston a favor, the High Table would probably have gain more money from Santino taking over New York than leaving it to Winston and the Bowery king. Like the actor said in the first movie, if Viggo and Wick are the god and devil of New York, Winston is now the ruling Titan.
    • There is also a pragmatic reason for the hour's head start. If Winston declared John excommunicado immediately, the ensuing carnage as assassins tried for the bounty could conceivably begin while Winston is right there within small arms range. This way, John will begin fending off assassins while at least an hour's travel away. Winston didn't get where he is today without thinking this sort of thing through.
  • Is there any reason for Winston to object the High Table coming to New York? If anything, it would mean getting more business. The Intercontinental is more or less an union for work-for-hire assassins and the various support services they need to operate, so the organization depends on other more general criminal empires ready to pay top dollar for the absolute best.
    • They don't need to pay top dollar if they are the only available client in the area and as seen with Viggo when there is only one king it tends to encourage people into breaking the Continental rule if their backer is powerful enough. One of the reason why Winston is so powerful is that he is the only member of an international crime syndicate with a foot in New York. He won't be master of his own kingdom if there are other ready to offer the assassins a better share than him.
    • The deleted scenes show that Santino was already in the process of muscling into New York in a very hostile manner, and even verbally threatens Winston and tells him that he doesn't care about his rules and traditions.
    • There's a brief shot of Winston handing John a marker during their final conversation, which might imply Winston owed John and this was Winston's way of repaying it.
    • Winston said in that scene the Marker is new and might help Wick. He probably hopes Wick can fill a blood oath with a strong guy for protection one day.
    • Keep in mind that Winston is fully aware that John isn't doing what he's doing for profit or gain. The Continental and its rules are to force the criminal underworld into a degree of civility to prevent them from slaughtering one another, but Winston recognizes that John isn't abusing the system and it simply trying to get personal revenge and stay alive. He's willing to bend the rules, but can only go so far for someone who acted as brazenly as John, since if he ignores John's actions then the whole system comes crashing down. Perkins got treated differently since Winston knew she was conducting "business" for profit rather than out of personal reasons.

     International bounty on John's head 
  • At the end of the film, Winston tells John the High Council has doubled Santino's bounty and made it "international." So, is a bounty placed from Rome to New York City... not international?
    • Santino placed the bounty while he was in New York and John only started to get attacked in New York. Also note the numbers that received the bounty from Santino. They all had the same area code. It could be that the center that processes the bounty is somewhere else entirely but the bounty was local.

    Who runs New York? 
  • When discussing the assassination of Gianna, it's mentioned that Santino would take over the Camorra and all of New York. Except the film says that The Mafiya also has a seat at the High Table and Viggo ran New York (he's only four days dead by the time the film starts). And later John's conversation with the Bowery King suggests the Camorra only has Downtown Manhattan. So...what criminal outfit runs the city?
    • Mostly a guess, but it's possible that Viggo was actually holding the Camorra at bay from New York and/or was in the process of somehow joining their ranks prior to or during the events of the first film. It seems likely that Wick's actions basically destabilized some kind of status quo and Santino sees an opportunity to move in (once he gains a seat at the High Table, of course) - and so calls in Wick's Marker.
    • Iosef even mentioned he just crushed some guys posing resistance for his father in Atlantic City at the start of the movie.
    • Viggo is actually introduced in the first movie coming out of a meeting with some unspecified criminal gang. We don't get any context or information, but Avi proudly declares, "They've agreed to your terms. But it's not like you left them much of a choice anyway though, right? Congratulations. Sir?" Later on when John Wick burns Viggo's stash, Viggo unravels with "All the leverage I had in this city was within that vault!". In the second movie Gianna just takes Mr. Akoni's shit without any regard. If you pierce all of that scattered information it's easy to deduce what is going on: Viggo (somehow) forced the Camorra into relinquishing their power over New York to him through some form of blackmail. When John destroys the blackmail material and dismantles Viggo's entire criminal outfit, the Camorra just returns and picks up right where they left off. As for the Bowery King, the movie makes pretty clear NY belongs to the Camorra as far as the High Table is concerned. Bowery King is explicitly noted as a faction opposed to the High Table.
    • So to sum it up: New York belonged to the Camorra, but Viggo usurped New York from their hands (with or without the approval of the rest of the Russian mob, it's unclear) via blackmail and possibly actual gang warfare. Camorra relinquishes their power over NY to Viggo completely around the same time of the events of the first John Wick. John Wick throws a monkey wrench into everybody's plan and wipes out the entire Tarasov syndicate and destroys the blackmail material, paving the way for Camorra's return. So during Chapter 2 the Camorra is returning and the High Table is trying to return things to normal. The Bowery King is just a renegade faction brewing under all of this conflict. Wick himself alludes to the idea that "A storm is coming for everyone who's not the High Table" and both him and Wick accept the fact Santino's takeover would mean the High Table fully dedicating themselves to wiping out the King's men. Whether Viggo accepted the Bowery King or not is unclear. In short: New York is escaping the High Table's control and slipping into Viggo's and Bowery King's, and they're trying to rerail it into their hands.

    Significance of the pre-title sequence 
  • Someone (presumably John) drives (what looks like) his restored Mustang, chases down a man on motorcycle, then retrieves a golden card (?) from him. I think that the sequence is supposed to take place after the ending, but some parts still doesn't fit. Warning, spoilers ahead.
    • For someone trying to keep a low profile, driving such a car in the street just screams out "I'm a big target." Has the contract on John been cancelled?
    • The man in the car (probably John) is impeccably dressed, and noticeably calm, in contrast to John's state at the end of the movie.
    • Did anyone spot anything significant on the card?
    • The sequence is actually set at the beginning. John is attacking one of Abram Tasarov's men with his car. The card John picks up from the man is some sort of magnetic ID card: if you watch closely in the following action scene at Abram's hideout, John uses the card to get inside the hideout by checking it on a door.
    • All of the events in the film happen chronologically. The first act was to resolve the hanging plot thread left open in the first film relating to John's stolen car.
    • The car John is driving in the beginning of the movie isn't his Mustang but the Chevelle SS that Aurelio gave him as a loaner in the previous film.

    Santino's blatant Loophole Abuse 
  • So, does the Continental not have any sort of contingency for the sorts of stuff that Santino tries to pull? You would think, that if one assassin has a qualm with another, that the possibility of "I'm going to stay in the one place where I can't be hurt on pain of death for the rest of my life while allowing my goons to keep after my target" would have come up at least once. How is Santino still allowed to do that, and cheat the system, yet John is at fault for breaking that loophole and killing him regardless?
    • Because the Continental's rules are strict and absolute. There would be no reason to keep around a safe haven of neutral territory if nobody is going to respect it or if the host reserves the right to kick anybody out at any time for any reason. Plus, Santino wasn't "cheating the system", he was using it for its explicit purpose as a place where members of the underworld can lay low for a time without fear of assassination. Of course, this all hinges on whether you're rich enough to stay there indefinitely and whether you can actually run your criminal enterprise from within the Continental. Either way, this all could have been prevented if John managed to keep Santino from actually getting to the Continental.
    • To be fair to Winston and the Continental, it's not like he's had time to deliberate on this. Santino arrives and mere minutes afterwards Wick catches up. It's possible that given a few weeks, Winston could contact the High Table and the other members of the Continental to discuss if Santino's membership should be revoked for what he's done, thus leaving him open for Wick. I'm sure the High Table, for example, would want Santino's head on a plate if Winston could prove he murdered one of their members.
    • Santino is perfectly within his rights to hide out at the Continental as long as he likes; he's paying for the safety and privilege of the Continental and he gives no indication that he's going to be breaking any rules or causing any real trouble for the Continental itself (other than being an asshole).
    • That's not even loophole, Cassian and Wick had to stop fighting the moment they entered the Rome Continental, it's not because Santino is a villain that he can't search for sanctuary especially when Wick is the guy who destroyed two criminal empire on revenge, if the Hight Table has a say in this they'll prefer Santino who is one of them over John who keeps "retiring".
    • Keep in mind that while Santino can hide in the Continental, he can't really do any work within the hotel beyond making phone calls. "Business" is forbidden inside the hotel. At best he can make some phone calls to his subordinates, but he cannot have meetings with anyone on the hotel grounds. That alone would severely curtail any mob boss's power, since why would anyone want to deal with or respect someone so weak he has to hide out in a hotel? No, Santino's power is greatly hampered by being inside the Continental and will diminish over time as he remains in hiding. He'll have to leave eventually lest he lose everything and then can no longer afford to stay.

     Taking too long to accept. 
  • If John was just going to take the contract after he got his house blown up why didn't he take the contract before he got his house blown up? Sure he knew there would be consequences for refusing a marker, no one in this universe lets things slide.
    • John's in denial. In both the first and second movie John is so headstrong about honoring Helen's memory he tries tanking everything to stay retired, even when it is blatantly insane. He was hoping Santino would respect his wife's memory and just leave him alone. He was wrong. John even contacts Winston later on to basically beg for a way out of the Marker (despite, being the Retired Badass he is, knowing fully well how the Marker works) because he's desperately trying to honor Helen's memory, even if it requires doing dumb things like refusing a Marker. He only takes on the marker after the universe (and Santino) basically force him to realize there's no other way out of this mess. There's even a particular scene John is getting his suits and screams in impotent rage as he comes to terms with this.
    • He took it for revenge, the only way he can kill Santino now is by removing the Marker and then killing him, he even said he will kill Santino with his own hands.

     The marker not helping John get out. 
  • John says taking the marker was his way of getting out, but why would he think that if it could pull him in like this? How did it get him out?
    • From the way Wick talks, it seems like he had three choices: A) Never fulfill "the Impossible Task" and thus never retire. B) carry out the Impossible Task unassisted and get killed doing so, or C) get Santino's help through the Marker and retire, then hope Santino would never find reason to pull him out of retirement. Winston points out how his retirement tactic is kind of fragile to put it mildly and John's only answer is "It was the only way". For that matter, he doesn't seem entirely wrong: From the way Santino talks it seems like there'd be a huge social taboo against taking Wick out of retirement for just the Marker (which Santino himself points out), the only reason Santino recruits Wick is because of the entire Iosef massacre of the first film which implied John Wick had come out of retirement in the eyes of the criminal world, making cashing in on the Marker socially acceptable. If we erased that moment Iosef kickstarted the plot of the first movie, Santino would never have been able to cash in the Marker because of the social taboo against breaking a man's retirement. It's also very possible Wick could avoid the Marker some other, non-lethal way (like giving Santino some information he needed).
    • We also find out that markers aren't an entirely secret thing. A ledger is kept by the Continental, and many people knew about John's wife and retirement. With all the rules everyone adheres to, it would be poor form to negotiate a marker to help John retire knowing that using it would take him out of retirement.
    • That and the taboo on pulling someone in from "the other side" after they retired means that someone would likely only use it in direst of needs. I.e. if Santino was in a similar situation at the end of the movie only someone else was hunting him, he might run to John for protection and use the marker as a way to remind John that he still owes Santino. John would likely accept that, instead of being forced to carry out another assassination for Santino's benefit. In fact, it's implied that this was why Santino would have originally agreed to the Marker in the first place: he didn't expect John would seemingly come out of retirement, but someone as deadly as John Wick owing him a favor would be invaluable down the line if things went really, really bad. Santino used what should have been an emergency backup of last resort to instead arrange a power grab.

     Why didn't John wait out a while for Santino to let his guard down first? 
  • Santino abuses the loophole by staying in the Continental Hotel to protect himself from John, so why didn't John wait out a little while to plan an assassination attempt in such a way that even if he killed Santino on Continental grounds, nothing can be traced back to him? Say, he could've gone the way his late friend Marcus did in the first film: sniping his unguarded target from afar. Better yet, John could've pulled a Loophole Abuse himself and just beats or tranquilizes Santino to knock him out first but not killing him, then drags him out to just outside the Continental ground before putting a bullet in his head.
    • Because it's made clear that John is hotheaded and sometimes doesn't clearly think through the long term implications of what he does or doesn't care. Plus, the open contract on his head is still active, so it actually works in Santino's favor to wait him out, since eventually one of the countless assassins out there is going to take John down for him.
    • What happened in the first movie when John stayed at the Continental with a bounty on his head? Some Young Gun assassin tried to kill him here and there he can't play the waiting game and he knows it, it's revenge and run.
    • Before that Young Gun showed up, Marcus was the first one who tried to kill John with a sniper rifle from outside the hotel, but he changed his mind at the last moment and instead fired a warning shot to alert John that Perkins was in the room. Granted, a sniper rifle would be hard to find when you're on the run from half the New Yorkers, but it isn't his only option either. As I mentioned, John could've gone for the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Santino to knock him out first but not killing him directly. He fought with Perkins inside Continental in the first movie and it's all fair game as long as nobody is killed on Continental grounds, so it's okay for John to fight with Santino to knock him out first. Santino doesn't strike me as a fighter type, so I assume John would be able to take him out pretty quickly, possibly in a single move, then he's free to drag him out of the hotel to kill him.
    • For the record Marcus did not try to kill John at any point. When Perkins showed up the shot to the pillow was to alert John, not a miss. Which is why John never went after Marcus and why Marcus was teasing John at their last meeting after Iosef was killed.
    • The Continental rules are very specific in that "no business" be carried out within the Continental, not "no killing". Physically assaulting a person on Continental grounds is just as forbidden as killing them. If you remember, the Roman Continental immediately stopped John and Cassian from fighting each other when their brawl was carried over into the building. John was given a pass with Perkins because Perkins was clearly the instigator. Marcus was just smart enough not to get caught, and even then it's not very clear if he really even intended to kill John in the first place.
    • Hand to hand combat in the Continental is against the rules, just like any other violence. It got a pass in the first movie because John was defending himself from an attacker, rather than bringing outside business into the building. If John were to grab Santino and haul him outside, then security would have stopped him, because that would have been John instigating a situation and it would have resulted in a death, neither of which would be acceptable.
  • Out of curiosity, what would have happened if Wick (or a proxy) put a contract out on Santino and tried to force a "call off one, and I call off the other?"
    • Santino has bigger pockets so it won't work, and the killer would still have to deal with the Camorra's retribution since they can't afford losing two leaders to assassins without trying to stop that. That's probably why he needed a marker to kill his sister, too costly to make the hit worth being targeted by Cassian or other family members out for revenge (Santino has a private army and tradition covering him).
  • Would that rule about "no business inside" count for something smuggled/delivered to the hotel? Would it also mean Santino cannot conduct any business of his own from the grounds without management approval? If the latter is true, he'd be effectively in a Gilded Cage and unable to do anything with his organization other than sit and wait, looking over his shoulder for a honked off World's Best Assassin if he so much as goes out for a smoke.
    • No that would make John's preparing for business inside the Continental and being smuggled out of Rome a huge plot hole. It's not because Santino is the villain that he doesn't have the same perks as Wick.
    • You can prepare for business inside the Continental, but business cannot be conducted. That means that the Continental can provide supplies and services to help you, but you have to leave the building to do anything business-related. Otherwise everyone would be conducting meetings inside a Continental building instead of the numerous meetings we see outside of the hotel. Santino wouldn't be able to do anything relating to his empire outside of some phone calls, since everything relating to his criminal empire is outside the hotel and the power base of a mob boss is dependent on him looking powerful and having a presence.

     Are there any limitations to the Blood Oath? 
  • Does Santino try to execute John Wick to cover up the contract the blood oath was used on? Because, it really makes no sense that everyone wants John dead if it's common knowledge that his contract is associated with the blood oath. It would seem logical in such a system that no on holds a grudge against an assassin stuck to a blood oath, since they literally have no choice in the matter. Was Santino breaking the rules by attacking John, or was John Wick fair game regardless of the blood oath? Moreover, does it really not bother the Continental or the High Table that this blood oath was used on a member of their own? I would hope that the makers of this system realize how self destructive it'd be to give the blood oath immunity from such high level assassinations.
    • You reap what you sow. It's made clear in no uncertain terms that taking out a Marker is done only under exceptional circumstances, and no sane person would ever agree to put themselves under one unless they had no choice. Winston had even warned John that he should have known what he was getting himself into by giving a Marker to a man like Santino. So in the eyes of criminal world, anything that happens to John relating to the Marker is his own damn fault.
    • Alright that makes sense. However, are there limits to those "exceptional" circumstances? Like, if I wanted John Wick to murder a sitting US Senator, or as joked about earlier in the film "I hope you're not here to kill the Pope", would the High Table really be okay with the blood oath being used to cover that? I'm assuming that the system isn't horribly abused for this purpose because of how rarely people use blood oaths, and rarer still how unusual it'd be for someone of John Wick's exceptional talent to have used one. Even with Santino sitting on that unusually valuable card to cash in, I'm just wondering what the High Table's view is on him using it to murder his own sister for personal gain.
      • I doubt they were supposed to know what exactly the Marker was for - Santino's plan involved killing Wick as well, mostly to avoid being murdered in turn but probably partially so no one would ever know that Santino hired someone to murder his sister and ascend to the High Table. Besides, if they started shrugging off broken rules for extraordinary circumstances, it wouldn't take long for people to start pushing the limits of that, which would lead to chaos.
    • They doubled the bounty when Wick killed Santino so I think they were siding with their former member on that matter, I mean her sister threatens children what is cashing in a favor to kill your relative compared to that?
    • Also, there's the context to the killings. When Santino arranged to have his sister killed, he used the Marker to give himself enough plausible deniability that the High Table would be hard pressed to find proof that he did it. Plus, even if they did suspect him, Santino is still a high level crime lord in his own right, and could have explained his sister's death as an internal family dispute. Plus, it's safe to assume that as major crime lords, every High Table member has to accept on some level that they're a potential target for assassination by their rivals. On the other hand, John killing Santino on Continental grounds demonstrates that he's a major potential threat to the High Table since it's clear he doesn't care about rules anymore, potentially overthrowing the status quo they've worked so hard to set up.

     Assassin/Non Assassin ratio 
  • The Continental currency and entertainment was a good clue how big the criminal underworld is but now it's downright a Villain World. Is the silencer shoot-out an exaggeration or everyone was an assassin but some didn't risk taking on Wick? Was there anyone in the movie actually not involved in the underworld?
    • The silenced shootout scene seemed more like a Hollywood Silencer situation, where the crowd simply didn't even notice the gunshots, and the whole thing was played for laughs.
     Where the actual hell are the police? 
  • I'm sorry, I know, suspension of disbelief and shit, but how in the fuck does John never have to deal with NYPD? The small-town situation with Jimmy is understandable, but when he's in New York City, there is no way in hell NYPD wouldn't get involved in the very public shootouts John gets into.
    • Do you know how hard it is to make Central Park an execution ground where everyone walking in the area is in on it? This is Wanted level of police immunity, there is probably a big bold sign in the police station that reads wait until Winston gives the ok. The criminal underworld control the World and you think the police still do their jobs normally?
    • Word of God has said that there is an unspoken truce between the police and the assassins. The police won't interfere with the assassins as long as the assassins don't kill police or innocents. This is heavily implied in Jimmy's interactions with John, where he willfully ignores all of the strange events revolving around John.
    • You also see this last bit reflected in how the assassins and Cassian go after John. They always wait until there's no civilians in the way before they make their moves, excepting the silenced subway shoot-out, which was obviously for laughs, and neither John nor Cassian had any civilians backstopping their shots.


  • Why would the leaders not only accept but enforce a Marker on one of their (soon to be) own?
    • No one knows what the Marker would be used for. Apparently, the Marker's purpose is entirely up to the owner and no one keeps track of it (Winston, the guy who keeps tabs on the Markers, doesn't know what the Marker would be used for and has to ask John). All the High Table knows (and anyone else who's not Santino and John)is that John owes a Marker to Santino and is not honoring it. The High Table want it enforced because all Markers must be honored, it's part of their society and tradition. What the marker will be used for is none of their business. If they knew Santino would use the Marker against one of their members, it's possible they'd see things differently (or at least put a bounty on Santino's head or declare him excommunicado), but as far as they know, all Markers must be honored and this is just another Marker.
    • Marker are Continental business, the High Table indulges it since Winston and the other Continental founders gave them a currency that can make thing so easy for all of their operations.
  • Out of curiosity, what would happen if two conflicting markers were in play? Say Santino's sister knew what her brother planned and put out her own marker to get her slimeball brother killed instead. Would the first overrule the second, the second overrule the first, would they cancel each other out, or would it be up to the individual assassin which one they honored?
    • There is no overruling, Markers are just a way to make sure when a criminal owe you one they mean it. The High Table only enforcement is that Wick can't go to them for support because he just showed he is unreliable in paying back. They don't give a shit about each other either so if Santino want to kill his sister he can do it that's part of business. Plus this is the Camorra that doubled down the bounty since as much as a scumbag he was Wick killed a made man without leadership's consent (unlike Gianna who got the ok from a family leader).
    • The Markers are a Continental thing, so the High Table doesn't give a shit whether they came into play or not. In the example outlined, I would imagine it would just come down to which Marker got filled first. If the person who issued a Marker dies before it can be fulfilled, it wouldn't be fair for the Continental to keep holding it against the indebted.

     Assassinate the Assassin 
  • Why can you take out a contract on someone for fulfilling a contract? This seems like exactly the thing you'd have an Assassin's Guild to stop happening.
    • Assassins shouldn't be immune to assassination guild or not, especially when you forced the assassin in a way that will have retribution.
    • It's already heavily implied and demonstrated in the film that Santino has a bad reputation among the criminal underworld. It's probably why he had to resort to the Marker in the first place, because no sane assassin would want to work with him on such a dangerous job since it's obvious they'd get eliminated as a loose end.
    • Santino is the kind of person who toes the line without ever technically crossing it, and always maintains plausible deniability. He is not technically breaking any hard rules, but he is deeply pushing the unwritten taboos among the assassin and criminal world through his actions. Normally you probably wouldn't take out a contract on the assassin who carried out the mission for you, but Santino is willing to break that sort of professional courtesy between client and contractor, both out of necessity (silencing John so he can't tell anyone who hired him) and out of personal arrogance and pride (as John refused him at first, and Santino wanted to punish John for such arrogance).

     John Wick's stamina 
  • I know that a large part of John Wick's persistent ability to keep going even after receiving horrible injuries, and going through heavy combat for hours, is just his sheer will power allowing him to overcome physical limitations. With that said however, realistically how much food and water intake, as well as sleep and first aid would a combatant need to keep going as long as John Wick does? Like would looking at soldiers and how they endure combat be a reasonable comparison? Or should I not put too much thought into it because it's an action movie?
    • Do you even have to ask?
    • As far as calories are concerned, the US Army actually did research on that subject. They observed how much food intake Army Special Forces had during their training, and it was around 3200 calories on average. Though we're getting into the issue of how many days John is actively awake during all this. There are plenty of stories of soldiers really having no other choice but to survive on scraps in various wars throughout history, especially the US Marines which John likely hails from. Sleep is a different issue altogether though. Cognitive focus would severely depreciate as time goes on, though that too gets into the issue of will power — and some soldiers have claimed to function for up to 4 days in a row when called upon. John Wick isn't a massively extreme example as far as action movies are concerned, since he does noticeably wear down and get slower as the fighting goes on.
    • I think it works. John has to travel to and from Rome. Surely he has some downtime over these trips to get some sleep in. And during his prep for the hit, he gets to stay and sleep in the Rome Continental. Don't they say that he needs to use their services to arrange safe passage for him back to NYC in the return trip? We can presume that a hitman probably didn't board the flight with him, or we would have seen an action sequence to show him dispatching the assassin on the flight. Or if he wants to play it really safe (but slow), maybe he took a shipping route back to lay low? That would give plenty of time for him to rest and recuperate from his injuries.

     Everyone is an assassin? 
  • I see that thrown around a lot that every criminal that shows up to kill John in this movie is an assassin. Says who? I'm pretty sure that even low ranking mooks would jump at the chance for a 7 million dollar bounty. Or that all the people who work for Winston — especially the ones that show up in Central Park — is an assassin. An assassin is supposed to be someone who is professionally trained to kill high value targets. Not every mook and their grandma is an assassin. Isn't it just easier to suggest that these guys might just be criminal goons that conduct whatever orders their boss give them, even if it be gunning for a guy like John Wick? Not saying that none of them are professionally trained assassins, but it just strains credibility that all of them are that.
    • No that's not what an assassin is. Everyone who takes a job that requires to assassinate someone for cash is an assassin, there is no you must be this cool bar or any other glorification when it's about murder for cash. It makes way less sense to believe a sumo wrestler or that violinist are ready to take a hundred percent of the risk just to split the bounty with their imaginary bosses than they are just opportunistic assassins, especially when they received the info about the bounty directly to their cellphones instead of hearing the orders.
    • It's strongly implied that the majority of the mooks and nameless people are just thugs, goons, mercenaries, etc. instead of highly-skilled professional hitmen. Winston's park display was probably him calling in a lot of his available manpower to make a point to John, and the phones ringing afterward were likely from many of the same people who got word that the excommunicado was in effect.

     What is the High Table exactly? 
  • Is the High Table an international treaty of cooperation between the other criminal organizations, or is it a simple "You don't fuck with me and I don't go to war with you" agreement? I'm curious if they have a deal of sorts where they might share intel and resources
  • For that matter, why is it such a bad thing that Santino's sitting on it? We're talking an assassin's guild, not a scout troop. You have to be a bloodthirsty sociopath just to check into the Continental, much less be one of the guys running the "chain." Plus, there's eleven other members on that council who could more than keep a leash on a punk like him, especially since everyone knows he's a slimeball among slimeballs. Granted, he's probably scheming to take over the whole thing, but it doesn't seem to be a secret among the political players in the organization what he's planning.
    • The High Table's inner workings are unclear but it seems more likely that it functions like a sort of criminal United Nations, in which everyone is kind of allied but also hates each other (like, say, Russia and the US both being members of the UN). It's also implied every member of the High Table has a high amount of power over the region they control.
    • Part of it is audience sympathy, or lack of it- we've seen Santino screw over John in all sorts of ways, from blowing up his home to calling a hit on him after John fulfills his end of the bargain. Santino is the bad guy, and we don't want the bad guy to win. Second, the difference between Santino and Gianna is similar to Iosef and Viggo. They're both evil, but it's the difference between Practical Villainy and Stupid Evil. Santino's just too petty and vicious to be trusted with power- look at how he antagonizes the One-Man Army.

  • According to an article linked to from the main site, this movie only takes place four days after the end of the first movie. Except, in that case, how has the puppy John rescued in the first movie grown to adult size in four days, and how are none of John's extensive injuries from the first movie ever a factor?
    • To be honest it might be better for all involved that said continuity be ignored. It really does strain credibility.
    • John doesn't rescue a puppy at the end of the first film. The puppy is the one that dies. He rescues the same dog that appears in Chapter 2, an older pitbull male. As far as his injuries, they do affect him, it's just that there's so many other injuries he accumulates over the film that it's hard to tell what's restricting him due to the "new" and what's "old" and still hampering him. He conspicuously demonstrates he's still hampered by old wounds in some of the decisions he makes on how to dispatch the men in Abraham's warehouse, primarily relying on his car to do the fighting for him and going for his gun the second he has to deal with someone who looks like he can handle himself.
      • For a fully-grown adult dog, it grows in size between the two movies, as can be seen here. Notice how it doesn't reach knee height at the end of the first one, but it does in the second.

     Pay Day universe 
  • Should John Wick's presence in the Pay Day universe be an indicator that he's going to survive the events of the third movie? Or should we consider that continuity as irrelevant to the movie universe?
    • Likely a separate continuity altogether, as Payday!John can still go to the Continental, while in movie canon he has been excommunicated.

     Opening fights 
  • During the first fight scene where John attempts to get his car back, he engages in a fistfight with a number of guards before shooting the last Giant Mook in the knees. Given John's ruthlessness and combat pragmatism, why didn't he simply shoot all of the guards?
    • He came in peace, killing all of Abram's men would have been a bit harsh for when he proposes peace. After his brother, nephew and now his whole operation permanently destroyed because of his lack of staff even if he is scared he will want revenge like Viggo did after giving away his son.
    • At that point, hadn't he already killed several (either through garroting, or running them over?)
    • There's no indication the garroted mook was killed, and the only ones getting run over were by their fellow henchmen.
    • John was using deadly force only as needed, because he wanted peace with Viggo's brother. That said, he was still intending to win, so when needed he used as much force as needed to take down each goon.

     Cassian's Vengance 
  • Why was Cassian so keen on revenge? Tracking a reluctant hired gun across continents seems like excessive dedication for a failed bodyguard.
    • Bodyguards must have a code too, given how easy John killed his ward I guess his career is ruined so at least he can kill the hitman to show any new employer that the only one who bested him is dead.
    • It is also heavily implied that things were personal between Cassian and Gianna. Not necessarily romantic, but he certainly held her in high regard. It's like asking why Wick went on such a rampage in the first movie over a dog; people who lose something don't always approach things in the most cool-headed and rational manner.
    • The bodyguard seeking retaliatory revenge is a common trope in fiction, for both personal and practical reasons. For personal reasons - they were a friend or lover or someone you respected. For practical - both as a demonstration to other clients that even if you died on his watch, he will avenge you, and as a warning to another assassin that even if you kill his ward, he'll personally make you pay for it by killing you in turn.

     Ares' Fatal Stabbing 
  • In their final confrontation, Ares attacks John with a push dagger, which John fatally stabs her in the chest with. The dagger appears to be a Cold Steel Safe Maker 1, which has a 4.5 inch blade. Would that really be long enough to pierce her hand, clothing, skin, sternum, and make a large enough puncture in her heart to be fatal?
    • Interesting theory. That probably isn't enough to get to the heart (which is anywhere from 15mm to 55mm. 4.5 inches is right at the lower end of that. I think we chalk it up to rule of cool. I personally was surprised he didn't put a bullet in her head like he does everyone else.
    • 55mm is about 2 inches, so the blade should be able to reach, even through an inch of hand and half an inch to an inch of clothing.
    • Depending on how powerful John ram the knife it might have got a little deeper before the skin on handle (Ares' hand in that case) push the blade back. And even then by removing the blade he made sure she bleeds out unlike Cassian. Gaping hole in the sternum is not fatal but serious enough that she won't be able to make it unless someone help her fast.

     Gianna and Wick 
  • The movie makes clear the they have at least some history together and that she considers Wick a friend, plus Wick is visibly ditraught at his obligation of killing her. So, why didn't Wick just ask for Gianna's protection in order to get out of the dilemma? Gianna knowing that Santino betrayed her would lead to a war between the siblings, one that Gianna would certainly win since she outranks her brother and thus has much more power in her hands. Yes, that would mean breaking the marker oath and thus breaking one of the rules of the Intercontinental (rules that he doesn't care much about anymore), but being ex-communicado would be much less of a issue if he was employed by one of the leaders of the High Table.
    • Would just be trading one devil for another, Gianna was still shown to be willing to put knife under children's throat to get what she wants so Wick being under her heel instead of her brother doesn't help him at all.
    • Even in the best case scenario, that Gianna succeeds in giving John the resources he needs to take out her brother, Wick is still fucked. Assuming she tells the High Table that Mr. Wick helped her turn the tables against her brother, and as a reward she gives him a pardon for the marker or at least gets him excommunicated as the most minor punishment she can get him off with, John is now back in the game. She owns him at that point, and John Wick would simply owe her a favor just like he owed her brother. Like the other guy said, John would simply be trading one devil for another. And even without a marker held over his head and John simply decides to kill Gianna for receiving an order he doesn't like, he'd have a bounty put on his head leaving him in the same hellish scenario he finds himself in when he kills Santino. John Wick really was in a no win scenario no matter what he did.
    • Breaking the Blood Marker is a much more serious offense than killing someone at the table. The latter will get assassins after you, but you'll still have the protection of the Continental. The former, on the other hand, means you no longer have the Continental's protection, which is vastly more dangerous because of the amount of resources they'll put out to deal with anyone who breaks the rules. If John kills Gianna, he just has to deal with her goons and likely Santino's, while if he breaks his oath, the entire Continental will come after him on pure principle.

    Why Is Santino Such An Idiot? 
  • OK. So Santino, unlike Iosef, knows very much about John Wick's reputation. He knows that the man is not any ordinary assassin, but a walking force of nature. John has proven, on multiple occasions, that he will do anything to accomplish whatever he sets his mind to, and recently gutted the NYC underworld just to get at one kid. So why does Santino think it's alright to not only try and kill John after John took care of his sister, but then put out a massive bounty?
    • Because it worked? It took John cashing in a favor from the Bowery King and marking himself for death by breaking the Continental rule to kill Santino. Santino knows Wick's reputation but he also knows the only reason Wick accomplished his legendary impossible task was because Wick made a deal with him, he is a great hitman but sill a man. Even Viggo knew Wick can be killed and there are a few like Perkins willing to take their chance against him for the right price.
    • It's important to remember a few things about Santino. First, he's arrogant, which is going to color his strategic decisions to antagonize John. Second, his relationship with John came from the fact that John came to him first for help with the "impossible mission." This is important because the seemingly-impossible task that John completed, which earns him so much fearful respect from those who don't give him normal respect, was something that required Santino's help to complete, and that will mean that Santino lacks the same respect for John and views him in a less legendary light compared with other people. Third, Santino nearly succeeded at killing John twice; were it not for his armored coat John would have died immediately after killing Gianna or in the catacombs, and the packs of assassins hunting John would have killed him without the Bowery King's help. John is terrifying and incredibly deadly, but he is still mortal and Santino had the resources to kill him eventually, which is why John decisively ended it when he cornered him in the Continental.

    The Bowery King and John Wick: Why not cash in? 
  • When John is being targeted by multiple assassins, he finds a "homeless man" in a subway station, uses a Continental gold coin to get the actual assassin's attention, then submits to "him" revealing his name, which has a bounty on it in New York. Was it all The Bowery King's morbid curiosity that allowed John Wick to live? And most of all, if John gave TBK's life back to him, and he became what he is, why does John "owe" him after giving him refuge for a day and a gun with the maximum round capacity allowed in NY State?
    • Giving his life back was just the Bowery King being theatrics. John half-assed slitting his throat since he wasn't the target. It'll be like the Giant Mook with busted kneecaps owe John. Plus while they take golden coin the homeless seems to be at odds with the High Table, who are the one that put the bounty. The Bowery King was likely weighting if 7 millions is worth more than losing New York to Santino.
    • John owes the Bowery king because the Bowery King didn't just put a bullet in his head while John was unconscious and collected the $14 million and good relations with the Cammorra, and also treated John's wounds. The Bowery King has no obligations to John in any way and was clearly powerful enough and well-armed enough to take on the Camorra, and was gearing up for such a fight when John offered him a clean and deniable way out.
    • Cashing in John is only a short term gain. Sure $7 million is a lot (as he repeatedly points out), but he stands to gain more with Santino out of the way. Santino is going to move on his property sooner or later, and even if Bowery King wins, its still bloody and expensive. By backing John at the low cost of a gun and seven bullets, he throws the High Table into disarray and leaves a power vacuum he can fill, plus gains a favor from John.

    In the opening, why didn't John go make peace with Abram first? 
  • John is trying to get his car back. The car is with Abram Tarasov whom he had no intention of fighting, and he wanted to make peace with him. So why didn't John just go straight to him instead of sneaking around killing his henchmen to steal his car back? Sure, maybe he thought Abram would shoot him on sight because of what he did in the first film so he had to sneak inside that factory, but then he goes straight to his car instead of making peace with Abram first, which resulted in a lot of Abram's mooks uncessary deaths and John's car severely damaged from his attempted escape. Poor Communication Kills?
    • John wanted to weakened Abram first and secure his car. He can't be sure Abram is gonna forgive the death of his nephew and brother unless he has not much choice.
    • But what exactly is John’s plan of achieving that? After sneaking around a bit and killing a couple of henchmen, John directly calls Abram, telling him that he has his car, warning him that he’s coming for it. Why would he need to do that in the first place when he could’ve just sneak around and kill everybody else in that factory stealthily, then confront Abram? Why did he tries to escape with his car when a lot of Abram’s henchmen are still around and will most likely stop him from escaping? All of it could be resolved by simply John calling Abram on the phone and telling him exactly what’s on his mind: “Just give my car back, I’m sorry for killing your brother and nephew, though all of this wouldn’t happen if they weren’t jerks to me first, but that’s in the past now. If you let me be, I won’t ruin you.” Simple as that.
    • Because it wouldn't scare Abram much if he just sneak killed everyone and likely piss him off that his relatives are worth the life of a dog with the phone call. If John reduces their number enough so he can safely show off to Abram even without the element of surprise no one can take him Abram is not gonna put 4 millions on John's head. Wick is still one man and Abram has connection like Santonio, if he straight up kill him John is gonna have to live on the run from the Red Mafia and as seen with Perkins some hitmen are willing to break Continental rules for the right price, if John calls him and say "I'll get my car back fuck your family" Abram is also gonna put a price on John's head because of how arrogant he sounds but if he shows first hand to Abram he still got it and then tells him to bury the hatchet it has better chance to work. The whole movie shows why even though Wick is badass killing mob bosses end poorly for the hitman, his big fight in Abram's garage was to convince him the revenge is not worth it.
    • Abram, like his brother Viggo, is well aware of John Wick's capabilities. The two could even know each other well considering that John did work for Viggo in the past. Even Viggo doesn't want to mess with John unless he is left with no other choice or hit the Despair Event Horizon with his son's death, so just the news of John coming for his car should be enough to scare Abram into accepting peace. And there's no guarantee that Abram wouldn't put the price on John's head anyway after he mowed down most of his henchmen just to prove a point. And putting all that aside so we could have a cool action scene, was it necessary for John to take his car for a ride first and risk getting it heavily damaged by Abram's henchmen, which eventually happened? The big fight could've happened with or without John getting his prized Mustang totaled first.
    • Its pretty clear from Abram's dialogue at first that he was expecting John to come after him violently, and had ordered his men to shoot John on sight. Abram was unlikely to believe John wanted peace until after he had taken down all of his men and had him at his mercy. John knew this, which is why he used comparatively less-lethal methods to take down most of his men and recover the car.

    Shooting through the fountain? 
  • Did Wick and Cassian shooting through the fountain at each other strike anyone else as out-of-character? Both seem to have a policy of not harming innocents, yet they're shooting into a crowded area where they can't check their targets.
    • The wide shot right after they start shooting shows that there's no civilians backstopping their shots.

     Why don't ya just snipe him? 
  • This goes for both films (and possibly any future installment, too) but it begs the question. John is almost a supernatural force in mid-range to close quarters combat. So why don't assassins get the drop on him by sniping? The first film suggested that had Marcus wanted to actually kill him with this method, he could have with impunity. Of course, the writers would likely find a way for John to counter a sniper, or be rescued via assistance (unless they wanted to kill him in the final chapter by these means), but it makes you question why Viggo's men (not just by guarding Iosef with snipers, but by actually hunting Wick and/or setting up a trap with them) and the assassin horde in the second movie never tried it.
    • The thing about sniper attacks is that you need planning and coordination ahead of time. Any snipers in Wick's world would struggle to quickly respond to a contract and predict Wick's future whereabouts to set up a long distance ambush. It's much easier for the street level, close combat assassins to spot and attack Wick on opportunity.
    • So why can't they make a coordinated effort, with ground level people attempting to shepherd him into a corridor of open street space with a good line of sight, and X-many snipers on different nearby buildings going for the shot? Yes, the more people who are involved the more you have to split the contract, but they might consider reduced earnings a worthy penalty for a) the ability to actually take down the legendary assassin and b) not be murdered in a humiliating fashion by him in the attempt.
      • That would require coordinated effort from a large group of professional assassins. Santino has a large group of soldiers but most of them were killed by John in the catacombs (hence the open bounty). After that all of the groups hunting John were small team or individuals. Up until the third movie John hasn't fought anyone with the numbers and resources to pull off that kind of coordinated operation.
    • John seems especially concerned about moving through the city stealthily (hence him contacting the Bowery King for help), meaning that he might be aware of snipers and working to avoid the spots they'd be likely to set up. The only time he's completely vulnerable to sniper fire is during his meeting with the Bowery King, and it's reasonable to assume that the King has some men on overwatch looking out for snipers.
    • A sniper is only useful if you know where he is gonna be and have a good vantage point, a subway and catacombs are not great for that and that was the only point Wick was known to be located aside the continental where if you do snipe him you're marked for death by Winston.
    • Actually, do we know for sure that you're forbidden to snipe into the Continental? Technically they only talk about business being done on the grounds of the hotel, which suggests you'd have to be physically present yourself. I guess sure, they won't approve of people attacking their guests from afar, but on the other hand a sniper may be hard to trace (which may explain Marcus's lack of worry about repercussions when he sniped John's pillow to warn him about Miss Perkins breaking in). As for John being defensive in his route to Santino, fair enough. However, why didn't Viggo place a sniper detail all around the Red Circle club? That's only got a limited number of entrances and exit points. And I'd trust a pro sniper in this universe to be able to pick him out in a crowd, especially if the sniper has a spotter (or if there are any surviving/discrete ground level guards to work with him).
    • Yes we do, by Chapter 3 if the person so much as have a hand on the step you can't shoot him even if you are in the street, sniper distance be damned.
      • Though seeing as again, Marcus's shot was just a warning shot to tip off John to Perkins' arrival, he could probably make a case to Winston if that could be traced back to him.

     Just how durable is that suit? 
  • Sure, it's depicted to have plates woven into the fabric which are strong enough to not transfer blunt force trauma to the wearer through ballistic impact, as well as to apparently never degrade. That's unrealistic, but put that aside with a Hand Wave that armour is just that damn good in this universe. Ok, but what about the fabric itself? Wouldn't all the gunshots (not to mention attacks by melee weapons) be enough to tear the fabric and eventually have the plates fall out of the suit?
    • Garrisson Bespoke is a tailor company that does make bulletproof suit, they use nanotube of carbon that the army uses for military gear so fabric wise the suits can block small caliber bullets by themselves without degrading much. And that's the realistic way to make them because kevlard and plates like John is using would be even safer but heavy and uncomfortable as hell but durability wise he might as well be in swat gear.

  • So forgive me as I’m a Brit so get most of my gun knowledge from, well, TV Tropes! but I thought people make poor bulletproof shields. There were so many times in this film (especially at the Rome gig) where John shot mooks, usually in the head, with civilians right behind them. Willing suspension I know I know, but so many civilians dead but for a mook skull or kidney... I can’t imagine for a second, even if he hit the mook every time (THAT I can believe :) ) no overpenetration happened.
    • I posed a similar question on the first movie's headscratcher page, and the people who answered justified it by bringing up hollowpoint rounds. This could equally apply here, particularly as you'll note that he only used the assualt rifle and shotgun (which would both be more likely to overpenetrate than handguns with hollowpoints) in the catacombs where there were no civilians involved.

     The beginning 
  • Strange question, but does anybody know what happened to that guy who seemed to be Abram's Number Two, he's there for the call back scenes and said he already knew about the pencil story, but I don't I saw him again after he handed Abram the phone. I looked for him in the fight but I don't think I saw him. If anyone did please tell me, it's bugging me.
    • Based on the nicer suit, I just figured he was the guy on the bike that Wick took out with the car door. Having a shot showing him explicitly getting on the bike initially may have thrown the fast pace of the scene off a little.

  • So in Chapter 2, John shoots Santino at the Continental. Aside from the drama of John being excommunicado... why the hell didn't John just physically drag Santino out of the building and shoot him outside? Winston is clearly okay with a little Loophole Abuse and very much understands why John is as angry as he is, so this would seem to be the more obvious way to go.
    • If he dragged Santino outside to do the deed, it might have become purely a High Table matter, at which point John would have been marked for death twice over before the day was out. However, killing him in the Continental put him under Winston's jurisdiction, at which point Winston could give Wick an actual grace period as well as advanced warning for his precise consequences. In a sense, there was no real out for John in this situation, so it was a choice between putting himself to Winston's judgment or the High Table's.
    • Physically removing Santino from the hotel is just a slightly more complex way of killing him on Continental grounds, which is a massive no-no, even for someone as regarded as John. If you could get away with it by doing it in that manner, especially in a way that would be clearly visible to everyone else staying in the hotel, then whatever value the Continental's Sacred Hospitality once held is gone.

    Winston and the Marker 
  • How does Winston giving John a marker at the end of Chapter 2 work? If John is excommunicado, doesn't that mean that he is cut off from all Continental "services", including, presumably, having his markers honored? Or alternatively, if the markers still work, then can't John give Winston the marker and force him to lift the excommunicado status?
    • It's probably less of a technical marker and more of a promise. Winston cannot lift excommunicado - doing so just doesn't happen and would invalidate the Continental's Sacred Hospitality. The Marker is probably for a lesser favor, or even an excuse for another friend or Continental agent to shelter John if need be. "I'd kick him out, but he cashed in a marker, you know how it goes. Wink-wink."
    • I would assume that the Markers aren't a Continental thing. Just something the Continental was involved in. Winston specifically says at one point about having to ask the High Table, and the High Table wouldn't allow what he was asking. The High Table apparently has more control over Markers than the Continental. It was also pointed out that Markers must be paid under any circumstances. The High Table wouldn't cancel a marker asking to murder a member of the High Table.
    • Perhaps it's the marker Santino called in? Might help John explain to the High Table why he killed Santino, if anyone gives him the chance.
    • The marker could also be blank, so that John can buy some help if he can find a willing benefactor.
    • A third possibility is that it's a marker that Winston owed to Wick, and the reason for the grace period and lack of instant death.
    • I think we're perhaps overthinking this a little. Winston presumably cannot overrule the excommunicado, but he can grant John a simple favour out of personal regard. He's probably not supposed to, but dash it all, he likes and sympathises with the guy, so despite everything is willing to grant him some small assistance. Besides which, doing so puts John into Winston's personal debt which, given John's skills, could be a very useful thing indeed for Winston.
    • It has been revealed in the sequel that the marker was not Winston's. He was holding a marker for John that John would cash in. It was someone else's marker that owed John a favor.
    • You misunderstand, I think. The one Winston gave him, he holds onto. The one Wick cashes in, he grabs from the library.

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