top of page

John Wick: A Love Story

Love -- the most potent drug besides heroine, gambling, and the arcane erotica sequestered underneath stained mattresses and empty search histories -- is a prominent theme peppered into various films because of its remarkable ability to manipulate viewers into believing in its existence, and subsequently, capture the impressionable hearts of emotionally-inept film-ogglers. From "50 Shades of Gray" that gently reminds us that true love can be found in fuzzy handcuffs and safe words, to "Twilight", a tale of an awkwardly conflicted teenager who stumbles into a bizarre love triangle with both a 104-year-old albino who sparkles in direct sunlight and a walking dog who can voluntarily transmute into a shirtless human; nothing revitalizes the frayed fibers of our lonely hearts more effectively than a well-told love story. The John Wick tetralogy is another heart-melting love story that reminds us that good men exist when a devout husband demonstrates his unstaggering devotion to his deceased wife by murdering over three hundred men.

The volatile spark that ignited four sporadic bouts of incessant murder was a standard misunderstanding attributed to boys-being-boys: Three juvenile miscreants uninvitingly staggered into John Wick's home to play baseball with his newly-acquired beagle -- the furry placeholder for his recently-deceased wife. Knowing John's propensity for murdering people, the primary delinquent's well-connected father -- the manager at a New York assassination store -- orders hitmen like pepperoni pizzas to unwillingly store John's expired bullets in their exposed chest cavities while the revenge-stricken husband continues his blood-thirsty quest to murder an inexperienced teenager (though his age remains undeclared, it can be presumed). The plot -- as thick as a dish of microwaved butter -- does not become more complex than that; John Wick relentlessly murders approximately one hundred men until the movie suddenly ends.

For ethical reasons, "John Wick 2" strays from the previous theme of murdering vulnerable teenagers. When John's attempt to murder his friend's younger sister falters with the magnitude of an unannounced Covid lockdown, John murders assassins with more rapidity than a newly-released Coronavirus variant visiting an American nursing home.

"John Wick 3" once again features an extremely complex story line: The Round Table offers a healthy paycheck to anyone capable of murdering John Wick -- a standard retaliatory measure imposed upon the beloved mass-murderer for impulsively extinguishing an antagonist inside an unauthorized hotel. In this fictional world, murder crosses no discernible moral line, as long as it does not occur inside particular buildings, a statute that John neglected to adhere to. This freelance offer provokes John to murder an additional one hundred assassins in self-defense. In this installation, John Wick is comparable to a fearful elderly woman fending off a gaggle of purse-snatchers, but rather than bashing a couple delinquents with a padded coin bag until the police arrive, John converts New York City into an unannounced open-casket cemetery, filled not with well-preserved natural deaths and heart attacks, but with knife wounds and gun shots.

To be all-inclusive, episode 4 continues a common theme copy-and-pasted throughout the tetralogy. In the ultimate showdown for the seemingly unrivaled John Wick, the round table summons his greatest and most intimidating opponent yet: A retired blind man. Though assassins typically peruse Home Depot for double-sided tomahawks and throwing knives, Cane (the antagonistic assassin) navigates the home appliance section so he can locate nearby murderers with meticulously-placed doorbells. How the blind man does not mistakenly murder poorly-placed allies and civilians, or get murdered by combatants who promptly avoid doorbells planted on the side of dinner tables and walls is an unsolved mystery, but he remains unscathed for the three-hour bout of perpetual fighting, perhaps because of the ubiquitous negative stigma of harming handicapped men.

Though the John Wick universe may closely mirror reality, an observant eye may notice some obscurities: Police officers with the situational awareness of a woodland deer; Certified assassins with the accuracy of an HR representative in a self-defense class; Universal idolization of a text-book mass murderer; Corner-side assassins vastly outnumbering ordinary pedestrians; and an interminable list of obscurities that do not make sense, but are swiftly disregarded in favor of action scenes.

Unlike the Leicester Police Department that impolitely batters down my door every time I gently inform my wife that I'm upset she finished the thin mints, the New York Police somehow fail to notice three hundred unidentified corpses populating the streets like forgotten garbage. After exceeding four hundred public murders, not a single police officer or ambulance responded to blatant public disturbances.

Mirroring the police's incognizance, innocent bystanders were evidently oblivious to proximal assassins recurrently attempting to murder each other in public spaces. On the surface, not noticing dozens of quarreling assassins and dead bodies sprawled on blood-stained sidewalks appears to be coated in a thick film of absurdity, but in New York City, an absence of situational awareness is a genetic trait -- inviting a pinch of plausibility.

Though hundreds of bullets were carefully ejected in John's direction by professional murderers, every bullet miraculously missed all critical points, a statistical improbability rivaled only by my roommate's rejection rate at the local bars. Even the retired blind man nearly survived three hours of incessant combat without incurring a single observable scratch, scrape, or the slightest blister, skimmed only by John in the final moments.

Assassins vastly outpopulate ordinary pedestrians. Though not easily identifiable, they are slyly camouflaged as corner-side butchers, librarians, and homeless men that moonlight as murderers when requested, presumably a deviation of the Uber app, but instead of giving customers a ride, they give stab wounds to the chest. Moonlighting as a hitman does not deviate from expectations; it is a practical method of boosting income. The oddity is the quantity of hitmen in such a localized region -- nearly every seemingly-ordinary pedestrian attempted to murder John Wick at some point during the film.

Defying basic geometry, ammunition cartridges never deplete and throwing knives are as abundantly-available as melee weapons that spontaneously spawn in Halo when ammunition is running low. Geometrically, John would either need to carry a mid-sized box to lug around four hundred bullets, or he would frantically scavenge dropped items from deceased enemies. Weapon exchange was a frequented method of acquiring weapons, but scenes seldomly exposed characters looting supplies or searching for ammunition.

Another staggering obscurity is the audience's immediate infatuation with the mass-murderer, presumably because the killing rampage commenced after the death of a dog, or because humans simply mask their inner psychopaths that enjoy watching high-definition, high-frequency assassinations.

On the surface, the John Wick tetralogy may resemble nonsensical murder that does not present a deeper plot, and that is true. In this case, you can certainly judge a book by its cover. But humans are deep-rooted with a fascination of violence;

it is the staple that injects excitement into most films. Nothing scratches that itch better than John Wick, the elusive assassin that set cinematic records for the second most verified head shots, out-blasted only by Johnny Sins.


bottom of page