Being a dog person in a John Wick film is difficult. You'll often be sent in a fit of murderous rage and go on a killing rampage, maybe even become an assassin. However, being an assassin in a John Wick film is even more difficult. Because if you're not the Baba Yaga himself, then you're usually just cannon fodder who has a 50/50 chance of being killed with a pencil... a pencil!
Still, that didn't stop the legions of hitmen and assassins from trying to bag John Wick's head. In all three John Wick movies (maybe four soon), we see them quite a lot in their commendable but failed attempts at being ice cold. Some did better than others, though, and nearly gave John Wick a more permanent "retirement." Here are the top 10 heavy hitters you send to kill the one you sent to kill the Boogeyman.
10 MS. PERKINS
Taking on John Wick is a rather bold move, even if he's fresh out of retirement. That didn't stop a treacherous Ms. Perkins from going after Baba Yaga himself. Granted, Perkins is actually working for the Russian mafia boss, Viggo Tarasov at that time. As you can recall, it was Viggo who placed a $2 million bounty on John's head in order to protect his good-for-nothing son.
Perkins even had the audacity to conduct business on The Continental grounds just to snag that fat bounty on John's head. She was clever enough to attack John at his most vulnerable and nearly killed him as a result. However, Perkins was duly penalized for this brash action, and the cost was her life but not after she caused enough trouble for John's friends.
Ares is the fiery chic assassin from John Wick: Chapter 2, played by Ruby Rose nonetheless. She communicates through sign languages as a result of what appears to be her disability. Regardless of her silence, she still made quite the impression on John; she managed to give him a tough fight as well as some memorable sign language threats.
Sadly, she was merely in the way of John and his actual prey, which is Ares' boss, Santino D'Antonio of the Camorra crime syndicate. Ares didn't go down without a struggle, however, and even gave John a bit of trouble in Hall of Mirrors. While she lost, Ares went down like a true badass for opting to use her knife instead of her gun in their fight.
Any character played by Willem Dafoe is surely meant for greatness. The problem was (and with the way he looks), we're not sure if he's a friend or Daf.. a foe. However, in the case of his character, Marcus, John's close friend in the first film, he was deceptively friendly. As you might recall, Marcus accepted the bounty offer on John's head not because he wanted to do it, but because he wanted to protect John.
In fact, he could have easily ended John as a sniper several times but chose not to. Throughout the films, he has proven his loyalty cannot be bought or bullied. It's too bad this cost him dearly; Viggo came after him for betrayal and had him tortured and murdered.
In all John Wick movies, there's always that one guy or gal who is nearly John's equal. They are also respectable assassins in their own right and John retiring for several years gave them a chance to catch up. One of these guys is Cassian. He ran into a huge complication with John since he was tasked with the safety of the Camorra boss. Cassian's boss just happens to be John's assassination target.
The two of them seemed evenly match in their first fight, though John still won by the skin of his teeth in their subway deathmatch. Instead of killing him, however, John gave Cassian a chance to live and be friends with him... by plunging a combat knife through his main artery (that's friendly enough, alright?). Hopefully, we get to see more of Cassian in the fourth film; he was notably absent in the third despite having more than one reason to go after John.
Zero is the bald ninja dude hired by the High Table to deal with insubordination in the third film. He's pretty much the "Cassian" in this film, meaning he's more than a match for John. As a result, the two fought gloriously twice as well. Their first fight was an exhilarating highspeed big bike joust while the second one is a sort of "clean" one-on-one.
Zero actually nearly won in their first fight if not for The Continental. Eventually, John turned out to be a better assassin than Zero after their second battle. The formidable Japanese assassin got stabbed by his own sword and would trouble John no more in the next film(s). Oddly enough, Zero himself loves (in a platonic way) and adores John; he even looks up to him. This is why you should never meet your heroes... they'll end up stabbing you with a razor-sharp katana.
5 JOHN WICK
Oh boo hoo, I don't want to hear it. Let's be objective here. Yes, he's not so high up in this list and that's because of John Wick 3: Parabellum. That film revealed just how much of an ant John was in a world of titans. Before the third film, he would have been at the top but assassinating the entire world has proven to be too much even for someone as feared as the Baba Yaga.
In fact, John has been saved many times by his friends or other assassins too. There's no doubt that John can't do it all alone, especially not without guns, lots of guns-- provided by his allies. Let's also not forget that the John we have now was technically retired. It has been three movies already, but John has been going at it nonstop and probably didn't have the time to regain the same composure back when he was at his prime. That, or maybe he needs a better supply of pencils, who knows.
What's John gonna do against her? Shoot her two German Shepherds (or are those Belgian Malinois)? No, he can't do that-- he loves dogs (who doesn't?). Sofia is similar to John in that regard and she has even trained her two loyal doggos to go for the gonads or the throat. Even her dogs are trained assassins and could probably be sent on their own missions.
Thankfully, it seems John has no reason to go against Sofia. Not that he would willingly do it, anyway; he'd have to kill her two dogs in order to get to her. That's something John will never do. Come to think of it, the assassins in the John Wick films were not too bright, were they? All they needed to do to kill John was send a pack of dogs against him.
3 THE ADJUDICATOR
Now we're moving up another level in the assassin hierarchy. You'd have to be a special kind of cold-blooded to be this high up in the High Table. In case you forgot, the High Table is pretty much an Illuminati level syndicate who apparently governs all the organized crimes in the world. That means the assassin hotels, John's orphanage, the Camorra, and everything else. The Adjudicator is the harbinger of the High Table.
Their job is to whip up all the insubordination in line from anything lower than the High Table. They are not exactly seen as an assassin but nevertheless has an authority to harm or kill anyone at the High Table's whim. They're so high up in the hierarchy of assassins and hitmen, they don't even do the dirty work themselves. Even John can't go after someone like them without bringing the whole world and the stars right under him.
Like the Adjudicator, doing the deed himself is beneath Winston. Those good old days of muscle are behind him now, though he's not necessarily a retired assassin. He's more of a commander or a general for them (same status as Sofia too). He's also got the best weapon against the High Table that even brought the battle with the Adjudicator to a stalemate: John Wick.
We still don't know what Winston plans but it's safe to assume he's doing something to end the High Table's tyranny. For a senior assassin-turned-hotel manager, that's a bold move. On the other hand, he might have just betrayed John Wick to secure himself a nice fat favor from the High Table... either way is suicide, to be honest; we'll see in the future.
1 THE ELDER
Not much is known about The Elder other than the fact that he's "the one who sits above the table." The High Table, to be exact. Hence, we can assume that he's the de facto supremo in the organization of criminals and assassins. He even has the authority to pardon John Wick's initially unpardonable transgressions against the High Table.
As such, he probably also has the ultimate authority to kill anyone in the world or have them killed with a mere wave of his hand. For that matter, The Elder is someone who's probably off limits to John Wick at the time being. He's also probably even off-limits to Winston at the moment, much less to the Adjudicator. It should be interesting to see what both Winston and John will do against such an all-powerful emperor of assassins and criminals.