Top 10: John Wick

Dreamy. Kenosha, WI. 2020.

Even in the midst of 2020’s mess, one thing is still for sure: Keanu Reeves is a supremely multi-faceted, incredibly dynamic & disarmingly beautiful artist.

From Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, to Somethings Gotta Give, to The Lake House; he has us wrapped around his little finger. As his warm eyes and strong jaw held us hostage, we neglected to remember exactly what this tough guy is capable of.

The Devil’s Advocate, The Matrix, and the John Wick saga reminded us that he’s not one to be trifled with. Don’t even think about looking at his dog. Got it?

Dialing back just 6 years, the world was a much simpler place. 2014 was the year of the ALS ice bucket challenge, the Oscar selfie, and Kim Kardashian’s attempt at breaking the Internet (at this point, I wish she had!). Yet, it was also the year we were first introduced to John Wick. #swoon

Since then, we’ve been blessed with three chapters of his adventures in and (mostly) out of retirement. This franchise follows Mr. Wick from the despair resulting from the death of his wife, to his vengeful return as apex assassin, and delivers him to the mercy of the ultimate powers that be.

I’ve taken the liberty to share the Top 10 lessons I learned consuming the trilogy in one sitting. While it may go without saying: spoiler alert!

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself in a movie promo set to the track “Old Town Road”. Just ask Sly Stallone. OK, this one is regarding the previews, but it still counts.

With impeccable style, you can get away with anything. No mask, no costume, no government-grade wartime vehicle, virtually no dialogue, and not a single haircut. Just a suit, a glass of Blanton’s Special Reserve, and “Guns. Lots of guns”.

Reputation precedes you. The Baba Yaga. Not the boogeyman, but the “one you sent to kill the f*ckin’ boogeyman.” The one who killed Miss Scarlett in the Conservatory with the pencil. And my favorite: “that f*ckin’ nobody is John Wick.”

Having standards will cost you. As Mr. Wick stated boldly, “not everyone has a price.” Unfortunately for him, the takers of the world don’t receive this notion kindly. This particularly offended the spoiled heir of the Russian mob. In lieu of the Kelly Blue Book offering for his Mustang Boss 429, Mr. Wick paid in flesh, blood, and fur (sigh).

Have a solid crew. John Leguizamo is ol’ reliable. The Green Goblin is surprisingly virtuous. Catwoman prefers dogs now. Laurence Fishburne keeps you on your feet. While John Wick has the technical skill to conquer most, he often reacts based on his emotions. His unlikely band of misfits allows him the support he needs to return for Chapter 4.

Rules and consequences: without them, we’re just like the animals. Even the top assassins respect the home-plate rules of the Continental. Although, I’m not sure the seven slashes are quite as civilized as the High Table may think. Dare I mention, Angelica Houston’s induction into the Hall of Stigmata? #cringe

Make like the Greatest Generation and stash your money anywhere but the bank. Under slabs of concrete? Check. Inside the frame of a NYC library book (a la Tomb Raider)? Check. At your local Chase bank? That’s a no for me dawg.

Deadpool call centers mean business. Even while running on green-screens and rotary phones, their service levels are impeccable. Not only will you be provided with to-the-minute countdowns of the latest Excommunicados, you’ll also receive real-time updates for open contracts via text message. Sorry, no iMessages. Burner slide phones only. Side note: interesting dress code. Finger tattoos, cat-eyes, and red lipstick required.

Wear your watch on the underside of your wrist. I mean, who are you trying to tell the time to anyway? But if you don’t trust me, maybe you’ll trust Reddit: “before the action starts, John wears his wristwatch ‘normally’. But, when he goes into the ‘battle mode’, he wears [it] face inside the wrist (which is the way soldiers usually do it – so they can see the time while holding a rifle).”

Good women can’t be forgotten. So many memories. So many photos. So many letters. This loss leaves a hole that burns brighter than the Door to Hell. Retirement? Never heard of her.

Lets be clear. This is no Christopher Nolan trilogy. This is a man of little dialogue, few symbols, and far less regard for morals.

John Wick is a study of what vengeance can do to a person. Like a Dark Knight without Bruce Wayne. Alienated, lawless, and unrelenting.

These depictions of darkness remind us why we refrain from temptation and forgive those who trespass against us.

P.S. Which test audience is responsible for all the footage of reloading ammunition? WE GET IT! IT’S TOO MUCH!

P.P.S. If you need a Spotify album to balance out all the blood & guts that John Wick I, II & III had to offer; here’s one. I’ve never been one for T. Swift, but Folklore may have changed all of that.

“Revenge is a confession of pain.” – Latin Proverb

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” – Gandhi

“Live to die happy.” – Matt Hoffman