In this article, we will dive into the world of the John Wick movie franchise, a thrilling gun-fu action series starring the iconic Keanu Reeves. Directed by Chad Stahelski, the franchise has captured the attention and admiration of audiences worldwide, surprising many with its success considering its seemingly simple premise. As we eagerly await the release of John Wick: Chapter 4, let’s take a moment to rank all the current movies in the franchise, from worst to best.
The Power of John Wick Movies: Common Strengths
The John Wick series may not delve deep into complex narratives or philosophical reflections, but its main strength lies in showcasing the creative and diverse ways its titular character eliminates his enemies throughout each film. Unlike many modern action movies that employ quick cuts or shaky cam techniques, the John Wick movies provide clear and steady shots, allowing the audience to fully appreciate the intricate choreography and stuntwork.
Keanu Reeves himself deserves immense praise for his commitment to the role, performing a majority of the action sequences himself and showcasing his exceptional skills and professionalism. This dedication allows the camera to focus on his face, intensifying the connection between the audience and the character. Additionally, the movies display a keen understanding of realistic gun usage, emphasizing proper ammunition counts and gun discipline, adding to the authenticity of the action.
Beyond the adrenaline-pumping action, the John Wick movies also present a captivating world. The series reveals an entire society of killers, complete with specialized services like exclusive hotels, body cleanup crews, and firearm suppliers. The intricate worldbuilding gradually unfolds, highlighting the rules and unique aspects of this hidden society, providing a stylish and distinct backdrop for the films.
Ranking the John Wick Movies
Now, let’s explore the rankings of the John Wick movies, starting from the least impressive to the best of the franchise.
John Wick (2014) – Directed by Chad Stahelski Rating: 8.5/10
The inception of the John Wick series in 2014 brought a fresh and captivating take on the action genre. Directed by Chad Stahelski, this film introduced audiences to a world of lethal assassins, complex codes, and a legendary hitman seeking vengeance. Keanu Reeves’ portrayal of the titular character, John Wick, was a revelation. The film’s simplistic yet compelling premise centers around a retired hitman who finds himself compelled to return to his lethal ways after his beloved dog is killed, setting off a chain of events that ignite a ferocious and relentless pursuit of retribution.
What set “John Wick” apart from other action films was its commitment to stylistic action choreography and world-building. The directors, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, who both have backgrounds in stunts and action coordination, brought their expertise to the forefront. The action sequences were meticulously crafted, showcasing a seamless blend of gun-fu, hand-to-hand combat, and creative weapon usage. The “gun-fu” style, which combines martial arts with gunplay, was popularized by this series and became a defining element of its action scenes. Each shot fired, each move executed, was choreographed with precision, making the action sequences feel like a dance of destruction.
The visual language of “John Wick” was equally captivating. The film’s color palette of dark, moody tones contrasted with the vibrant splashes of neon lights, creating a visually stunning and memorable experience. The world-building was intriguing as well, hinting at a hidden society of assassins governed by rules and honor codes. This rich world hinted at untold stories beyond the scope of the film, leaving audiences craving more.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) – Directed by Chad Stahelski Rating: 9/10
“John Wick: Chapter 2” continued the momentum of the series, diving deeper into the mythology while upping the ante in terms of action and stakes. Picking up shortly after the events of the first film, John Wick is forced to repay a debt, setting off a chain reaction that leads him back into the world he tried to leave behind.
The sequel explored the intricacies of the Continental Hotel—a safe haven for assassins—and the broader network of hitmen and women. Ian McShane’s portrayal of Winston, the enigmatic owner of the Continental, added depth to the world-building, showcasing the relationships and power dynamics that define this unique universe. The film also introduced new characters, including Ruby Rose’s Ares and Common’s Cassian, both of whom brought their own flavor to the series’ expanding cast of assassins.
What truly elevated “Chapter 2” was its dedication to expanding the action sequences. The film showcased more varied combat styles, intricate choreography, and inventive use of weaponry. A standout sequence set within a mirrored art installation transformed the environment into a disorienting battleground, showcasing the filmmakers’ ability to blend action with visual storytelling.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) – Directed by Chad Stahelski Rating: 9.5/10
“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” marked a high point for the series, delivering a relentless rollercoaster of action and delving deeper into the lore. The film begins moments after the conclusion of “Chapter 2,” with John Wick declared “excommunicado” and a massive bounty placed on his head. Fueled by survival instinct and the desire for revenge, Wick embarks on a quest to find a way out of his dire circumstances.
This installment not only amplified the stakes for Wick but also expanded the universe’s scope, introducing new locations and characters. Halle Berry’s Sofia, a fellow assassin, added layers to the narrative while engaging in a jaw-dropping dog-assisted action sequence. The High Table, the shadowy organization that governs the world of assassins, is further explored, deepening the intrigue surrounding this clandestine society.
The action sequences in “Parabellum” pushed the boundaries of creativity and execution. The aforementioned dog sequence, a showdown in a library, and an exhilarating horseback chase through the streets of New York City were just a few highlights. These sequences showcased the filmmakers’ dedication to pushing the envelope of action choreography and demonstrated a level of visual storytelling rarely seen in the genre.
The John Wick series is a testament to the power of vision, dedication to craft, and the impact of charismatic performances. Each installment builds upon the previous one, expanding the narrative and exploring the complexities of this hidden world. Keanu Reeves’ portrayal of John Wick, combined with the exceptional action choreography and immersive world-building, has established the series as a modern action classic. With a fourth installment on the horizon, fans eagerly await the next chapter in this adrenaline-fueled saga.