Who would reign supreme in the ultimate showdown: John Wick or Mission: Impossible’s Ethan Hunt? With the release of John Wick 3: Parabellum, Keanu Reeves’s status as an action star favorite has once again been secured with audiences and critics alike. The Matrix star experienced a surprising career resurgence through the John Wick movies, which combine gloriously over-the-top stunts with the most appealing elements of Reeves’s effortlessly cool on-screen persona. Wick has fought off swarms of fellow assassins, dealt with home invasions, kicked ass in crowded nightclubs, and in the new film, he has full-on brawls while riding a horse.
But is John Wick the hero to beat in this generation of action cinema, or is it the force of nature that is Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible movies? As played by Tom Cruise over the course of more than two decades, Hunt has evolved from being a pretty good spy to a near invincible figure of physical prowess and perseverance. If John Wick plays on Reeves’ chill nature, Ethan Hunt is a symbol for the enduring energy of Cruise - perhaps the last remaining A-List megastar in Hollywood ,and one whose dedication to doing his own eye-watering stunts sees him stand alone among his peers.
So who would win in the battle of John Wick versus Hunt? Who reigns supreme in the match-up between an unstoppable force and an immovable object? Our extremely scientific analysis follows.
Ethan Hunt is the Best for Big Stunts
Ethan Hunt has essentially become godlike in the later Mission: Impossible movies. As the stunts get more spectacular and audience expectations get higher, the pressure has fallen on Cruise and his team to up the ante in ways that we simply don’t see in Hollywood anymore (or at least, not with practical stunts). Hunt certainly has motivations, a very real emotional core, and a sense of humor, but the true appeal of his character lies in how completely bonkers the things he does are (and how much that ties into our own perceptions of Tom Cruise).
Hunt can hold his own in a fight, but the real fun with him comes with those exceptional stunts, as well as his now iconic running. The fights are standard action stuff, but the stunts are out of this world. Watching Hunt scale the tallest building in the world, cling to the side of a plane as it takes off, and pilot a helicopter during a chase through the mountains remains an undeniable thrill. He’s always one step ahead of everyone else, and half the fun of a Mission: Impossible movie comes in knowing that Hunt and his team will outsmart their opponents in increasingly weird and technologically marvelous ways. John Wick has many skills, but he probably wouldn’t be able to take on Hunt in a helicopter.
John Wick is a Master Fighter
Are guns involved? Then John Wick is going to win. Are there a lot of knives on hand, or basic items that can be turned into deadly objects? Then don’t bet against John Wick. The sheer dazzling prowess of Wick comes in those elaborate hand-to-hand combat scenes, demonstrating his immense skill in an array of situations. He's not on the same level of technological magic as Ethan Hunt, but he is similarly savvy about working with what he has - be it horses, or the layout of a nightclub. Wick is billed as the world's greatest assassin for a reason. His startling perseverance in the face of doom sees him ready to take on dozens of people at a time and still come out on top.
Wick also doesn't skimp on his stunt prowess. While you won't see him running up the sides of buildings like Ethan Hunt, his combat scenes are incredibly elaborate and possess a level of ingenuity that Hunt's don't. If the ultimate showdown between the two came down to a hand-to-hand fight in a set location, Wick would dominate (bonus: he has a dog who can assist), but if the action moved elsewhere or a chase took place, Hunt would be on top.
Of course, they would both beat James Bond in a heartbeat. Sorry, 007.