Despite only being a mere 5 years old, the John Wick franchise arguably already holds the crown for best modern action movie series. They have some of the best action ever seen in cinema and the word they’ve created is rife for spin-offs and tie ins. But most importantly, the films and their characters are always just so cool.
And nobody is as cool as John Wick himself, Keanu Reeves. Throughout the series, John has dispatched multiple enemies in a variety of different and inventive ways, whilst always looking cool. But of the hundreds of enemies John has put down, which kills have been the most stylish?
Kicking this list off is one of the most badass scenes in John Wick: Chapter 2. After Laurence Fishburne’s ‘The Bowery King’ gives John a gun and a single clip of ammo (7 bullets for the $7 million on John’s head) John heads to take down the big bad, Santino D'Antonio.
Up against D'Antonio’s heavily armed goons and John only has 7 rounds - the odds are against him. But John proves why he’s known as the baba yaga and in an almost blink and you’ll miss it moment, he takes down 7 of D’Antonio’s guys one after another. He then just throws the gun away and moves on to the next poor mook.
After tearing his way through legions of D’Antonio’s goons (including Ruby Rose’s formidable henchwoman Ares) it turns out the big bad Santino D’Antonio has taken refuge on the sacred ground of the Continental hotel. As the films have made clear; there’ll be no killing done on the grounds of the Continental. Anyone who breaks this rule will be excommunicated from these safe havens and sentenced to certain death.
D’Antonio knows this and uses it to taunt John. There’s no way John would do that to himself right? Well if that’s what you think then you haven’t been paying attention. John shoots D’Antonio square in the head as he smirks about how safe he is. Maybe not the best play in the long run but damn if it isn’t a cool kill.
The first of many kills on our list from the third and latest entry into the series; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The film picks up straight after Chapter 2 with John on the run with a $14 million bounty on his head after being excommunicated from the continental grounds. And this being the world of John Wick, it seems everyone in New York City wants him dead.
He’s pursued into an antique weapons shop of all places where knives and other sharp implements line the walls. After a fantastic scene of John making pin cushions out of a few enemy assassins, we have maybe the most toe-curlingly cringy scene of the series as John slowly drives a knife into some poor guy’s eye.
This entry is cheating slightly because it’s more of a whole scene than just a single cool kill. Again it’s from the excellent third film and the scene comes at the end of the film, as John, Winston and Charon dig in to protect the Continental hotel from the High Table forces.
Charon warns John that the High Table goons are heavily armed and crazy armored. This sounds like normal pre-battle talk, until we see John go up against these super-soldier looking guys. Like the last level of a video game, these goons take a lot of bullets to go down. And it changes everything for John, who is used to the bad guys usually being dispatched with a quick head shot.
Despite John Wick’s loner status, he does occasionally find time to fight alongside other assassins. Be it with his old mentor Marcus in the first film or Charon in the third film whilst defending the continental. But no team up is as impressive or as well choreographed as that with Halle Berry’s Sophia and her dogs in the third film.
Set in Casablanca in the smelting facility where the assassin currency is forged, the fight sees John and Sophia take on waves of enemies with the help of Sophia’s vicious German shepherds. They jump about all over the place, taking down as many enemies as their human counterparts (and the less said about what they do to poor Jerome Flynn, the better).
The famous pencil scene from John Wick: Chapter 2 is one of the coolest in the series because of its lengthy foreshadowing in the previous film. We hear stories of how John apparently killed 3 guys with a pencil, it’s used to show us how ridiculously talented John is at killing people. But in the second film we actually see him do just that.
There’s a contract on his head and the people of New York are after him (including a violinist and a sumo wrestler, more on that in a moment). But when 2 guys attack John and all he has at hand is a pencil you better believe he kills them both of them with it.
Yet another kill from the supremely awesome John Wick 3. In this scene John finds himself in New York Central Library with the latest contract on his life about to begin. He thinks he’s got a couple of minutes but one assassin jumps the gun. Unfortunately for John, that assassin is a giant named Ernest (played by NBA player Boban Marjanovic).
Ernest’s hands are as big as John’s head so it seems like a pretty uneven match. Ernest even has a knife, making the fight even more uneven. But John can kill with literally anything and using a book, snaps Ernest’s neck.
In the same montage that sees John Kill the guys with a pencil, we also get to see that the assassins of the world come in all shapes and sizes. Already beaten and bloodied from a previous confrontation, John then has to take down a guy twice his size (played by real life world champion sumo wrestler, Yamamotoyama Ryūta).
It's an especially cool scene because it forces John to mix up his fighting style, especially when the guy shrugs of the gunshot wounds from John. It resembles a video game boss fight more than anything else. In the end, John takes him out by riding on his back and shooting him in the head repeatedly.
This scene comes not long before the previously mentioned knife throwing scene as John, pursued by a group of assassins, finds himself in an antique weaponry shop. Injured and without a gun, he does the next best thing and builds one from the parts around him. The scene builds as we cut between John building his weapon and the assassins climbing the stairs up to him.
As the first villain enters John whips round and kills him with a quick draw headshot. It's a cool scene because it shows us how crazy talented John is. Director Chad Stahelski even throws in a reference to Tuco in The Good The Bad and The Ugly as John checks the click of the cylinder as he builds the gun.
Ok, Ok, so I’m cheating again here. The number 1 coolest kill in the John Wick franchise is actually more of a scene of multiple kills. Despite everything the franchise has shocked and amazed us with in the subsequent sequels, it’s a scene from the first John Wick which takes the top spot. Chasing the man who killed his dog and stole his car, John infiltrates a nightclub.
The whole scene is bathed in neon light whilst the awesome song ‘Think’ by Kaleida thumps in the background as John tears through tens of enemies. John has had slicker and more inventive kills since but from a cool point of view, the series still hasn’t beaten this fantastic scene.