John Wick Movies – Every Action Scene Ranked
Action cinema has developed so much over the past thirty years that it's sometimes hard to think of what more can be done with the genre. While stuntmen have been doing amazing work for decades, the advent of CGI has massively increased the scope for wild, unbelievable action to the extent that there's nothing that can't be realised on screen, one way or another. How do you impress an audience who has already seen everything?
Thankfully there are still movies and filmmakers pushing the boundaries of action cinema, as the John Wick franchise proves. The first movie in 2014, while smaller in scale than the next two films, still delivered some of the most exciting action since Gareth Evans' Raid movies. Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch got every cent from the relatively modest budget (reportedly less than $30 million) on screen, and made sure that the action was varied, inventive, and beautifully shot. The movie gave star Keanu Reeves another action hit, and the film quickly gained a cult following.
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) was bigger and bolder, both in terms of its scope and its action. Leich was gone, but Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad returned, taking us further into the franchise's mysterious criminal underworld. By this point, Stahelski had coined a phrase for his brand of action--"gun-fu"--taking influence from legendary filmmakers such as John Woo, Sergio Leone, and Akira Kurosawa, and giving it his own twist. The movie was not afraid to get weird either, with a number of scenes that stick in the mind for both their sheer audacity as well as the insane body counts.
The third movie, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, is now in theaters. This one goes even further with the action, throwing horses, dogs, knives, and swords in alongside the more familiar gunfights and martial arts showdowns. Stahelski has already spoken about a fourth part, and while it's hard to imagine how Chapter 3 can be topped, he'll no doubt find a way. So here's our look at every single action scene in the John Wick series to date. And of course, there are big spoilers for all three movies ahead...
28. Let's go (John Wick: Chapter 2)
While the first movie took its time to get to the first action scene, Chapter 2 is straight into the mayhem. A biker races through New York's streets with John in hot pursuit--pretty soon the rider is smashed off his ride. It's a short but exciting way to kick off the action.
27. Bath fight (John Wick)
Wick tracks Iosef to the Red Circle nightclub, where he finds him relaxing in a hot tub. Wick quietly kills his bodyguards before a shootout in the pool room takes place, and Iosef only just escapes in his shorts. This is one of those hyper-stylised, beautifully-lit action scenes that the Wick movies specialise in.
26. Party time (John Wick: Chapter 2)
Wick's escape after Gianna D'Antonio's death is interrupted by Cassian, her main bodyguard, which leads to a chase throughout the giant party to mark her High Table coronation. This sequence is reminiscent of the Red Circle scene in John Wick, but like everything in the sequel it's bigger, as Wick blows away several of Gianna's guards in his attempt to get away.
25. Continental bedroom fight (John Wick)
Wick takes refuge in the supposedly safe ground of the Continental, our first introduction to this iconic establishment. Unfortunately there are some assassins happy to break the rules to get a big pay day, including the ruthless Miss Perkins. While every adversary up to this point had been one of Viggo's useless thugs, Perkins is a worthy adversary for Wick, especially in the close confines of his bedroom. John wins the fight, but he spares her life and leaves with neighbouring hitman Harry (which doesn't turn out so well for Harry).
24. Bullet ballet (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
A rare action scene that doesn't involve John Wick. The Adjudicator and various High Table killers enter the Director's HQ while she watches a ballet practice. The graceful beauty of the ballet performance is strikingly intercut with the brutal scenes of the Adjudicator's men quietly killing their way through the building.
23. Cassian fight no.1 (John Wick: Chapter 2)
Cassian is the deadliest enemy that Wick has had to fight up to this point, every bit as focused and relentless as our hero. Their fight right outside the Continental in Rome is a savage, brutal one, that starts with some degree of style but ends up with the pair of them rolling around on the ground. Things come to an end when they crash through the window of the hotel and they instead head to the bar.
22. Warehouse escape (John Wick)
Wick is captured by Viggo and almost comes to an unpleasant end with a plastic bag over his head. Luckily Marcus and his sniper rifle is nearby, and kills one of Wick's would-be executioners. Wick finishes the job--even though he's unarmed and his wrists are tied together, he still able to kill his remaining adversary, using the wrist binds to choke him. Resourceful.
21. Strong and stable (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
Chapter 3’s opening New York chase leads Wick to a stable. John decides that a horse would be his best option to escape, but not before he has to fight yet more assassins. We're treated to the hilarious sight of some of Wick's pursuers getting kicked hard by the horses, who have picked Team Wick.
20. Bye bye Viggo (John Wick)
The first movie's final showdown between Viggo and Wick isn't really much of a contest for John, but the driving rain and savage intensity of the scene still makes it a brutally effective encounter.
19. Reading time (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
Chapter 3 hits the ground running--literally. As the clock to his contract starting counts down, Wick heads to New York public library. There he encounters a hulking assassin called Ernest (played by NBA star Boban Marjanovic) who jumps the clock and takes Wick on. The fight is simple but brutal as Wick uses large,heavy books as deadly weapons, first shoving a book in his attacker's mouth then snapping his neck over one.
18. Cassian fight no.2 (John Wick: Chapter 2)
The much-anticipated rematch between Wick and Cassian. Their savage final fight takes place on a subway train, and ends as Wick plunges a knife into Cassian. "The blade is in your aorta," John tells him. "You pull it out and you will bleed and you will die."
17. Zero hour (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
The final showdown in Chapter 3 is between Wick and Zero, played by martial arts veteran Mark Dacascos, in the boardroom of the Continental. Reeves and Dacascos might both be in their mid-50s but you wouldn't know it from the skills on display. It's an intense, close-combat fight that replaces the more artful choreography of some of the earlier action scenes for a brutal and exhausting pay-off to the movie.
16. John's house (John Wick)
It takes nearly 30 minutes before the first movie delivers its initial action scene, building up the legend of John Wick without ever seeing these formidable skills. But as Viggo's men descend on John's house we get to see the "boogeyman" in action. With just a handgun and a torch, Wick moves through the darkened house with ruthless efficiency, taking out a dozen Russian killers in a matter of minutes.
15. Gonna need a montage (John Wick: Chapter 2)
Wick returns to New York and Santino opens a $7 million contract on his head. Stahelski presents a montage scenes of Wick dealing with the many assassins who have been alerted to this new, extremely lucrative job. As well as showing just how many contract killers there are on the streets of NYC, we get some very cool fight scenes--including a neck-snapping showdown with a female violinist and a eye-watering moment when we get to see Wick's legendary prowess with a pencil.
14. The Red Circle (John Wick)
The Red Circle bath fight spills out into the club as Wick and the men supposedly protecting Iosef trade gunshots amidst the terrified clubbers. This is one of the first scenes where we see Wick get up after a fall that would kill most men--in this case, being thrown off a balcony. It also ends with a great punchline, as Wick speaks to Iosef on one of his dead bodyguards phones and tells him: "Victor's dead. Everything has a price."
13. Cycle psychos (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
We've seen John on foot, in a car, and on horseback--and towards the end of Parabellum he gets to show off his bike skills in this incredibly fast and exhilarating chase sequence. This time it's Zero and his men zooming after him, wielding swords, as they attempt to chop Wick to pieces before he can reach the Continental. They fail of course, and Zero is the only one who gets there alive.
12. For the fans (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
There's more humour in Chapter 3 than in previous films, and this fight is both hyper-violent and very amusing. It takes place during the climactic Continental siege and sees Wick take on two incredible blade-wielding killers, played by The Raid stars Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman. It turns out that this pair are also massive John Wick fans, who are excited to fight the legendary contract killer and tell him how much they love his work before attempting to slice him up. Unusually the fight ends with Wick leaving them (just about) alive, suggesting that we might see these two superfans again.
11. Harbour chase (John Wick)
Viggo races towards his helicopter with John in pursuit. Viggo howls in laughter at Wick's relentless pursuit, while his right-hand man Avi frantically asks for a gun. As Viggo's men shoot at Wick's car, our hero reverses into them, sending bodies flying, while simultaneously picking them off by shooting out the window. Serious multi-tasking.
10. Wick's trick (John Wick)
Wick burns up a vault filled with Viggo's money and blackmail material, drawing Viggo and his men out into the open. John attacks with a machine gun, running between cars as the bullets fly. After the darkened, stylised actions scenes in the club and John's house it's cool to see a daytime fight, with a handheld camera work and a noticeable lack of music, reminiscent to the classic bank heist in Michael Mann's Heat.
9. Car trouble (John Wick: Chapter 2)
In a way, the opening of Chapter 2 acts as the end of the first movie. John has one thing left to do--get his car back. This leads him to the base of Abram, brother of the first movie's Viggo, which seems to act as a huge parking garage for yellow taxicabs. Getting the car is no problem for John, but getting out is another matter, as he is chased throughout the garage and adjoining docks by dozens of taxi-driving enemies. There's some amazing stunt work here, as John skids around the corners, his car getting more and more smashed up. The sequence eventually ends with John out of the car, kicking the s*** out of Abram's men. What a way to start a movie.
8. Horse chase (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
Wick hits the freeways of New York on horseback in Chapter 3, with motorbike-riding assassins in hot pursuit. Luckily, John is as good at riding a horse as he is everything else. He showcases some incredible moves, hanging off one side of his steed to avoid being shot, before returning upright and blasting his high-speed pursuers through their helmets.
7. Tunnels of blood (John Wick: Chapter 2)
The chase after Gianna's death leads Wick into the tunnels under the party. This is one of the series's most distinctive sequences, as the dimly lit passages help create a sense of disorientation and claustrophobia. Barely-seen adversaries appear from the gloom, the darkness lit up by the blaze of their guns.
6. Continental siege (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
The final attack on the deconsecrated Continental in Chapter 3 is several action scenes in one. It begins with heavily armoured High Table killers storming the building. Charon dims the lights, leaving glowing neon green strips as the only illumination--it's not really clear why he does this, but it looks damn cool. Wick, Charon, and various Continental employees take on their invaders in a series of running gun battles throughout the building. Highlights include Charon finally getting out from behind the desk to show off his action skills, an exasperated Wick returning to get bigger bullets when he realises how well protected the attackers are, Winston relaxing with a nice glass of whiskey in the vault while mayhem rages elsewhere, and an inventive gun fight in a swimming pool.
5. Sofia's Escape (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
John Wick loves dogs--in fact, the entire plot of series hinges upon his love of a canine. But he's not the only one. His old contact Sofia (Halle Berry) is also a canine fan. When one of her two German Shepherds is shot by Berrada, she goes full-Wick and takes her high-octane revenge. The scene as she and Wick blast their way out of Berrada's base in Morocco is a brilliantly exciting sequence, marked by long takes and masterful editing. And best of all, Sofia's remaining furry friends get to show their savage skills, racing alongside her and tearing into the bad guys. In one fantastic moment, one dog uses Sofia as a springboard to access an assassin on a roof. Good boy.
4. Silence on the subway (John Wick: Chapter 2)
This sequence is very short but highly original. Cassian tails Wick into the New York subway, walking alongside him at some distance on an elevated walkway. The pair shoot at each other with silencers, while around them people go about their business. Like the best scenes in John Wick, it's a bit silly but highly audacious.
3. Museum mayhem (John Wick: Chapter 2)
The High Table party at a fancy New York museum is interrupted by Wick, who has come to kill Santino. The ensuing fight is spectacular and bloody, as dozens of Santino's men come at Wick as he makes his way through the rooms of the museum. Stahelski uses long takes and intricate choreography to heighten the thrills, and the juxtaposition of classical music and ancient statues with blood and bullets is a striking one.
2. Knife time (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum)
In Chapter 3's opening pursuit, Wick find himself in the perfect location for an assassin showdown--a weapons museum. There's a great moment of realisation for both John and the gang he's facing down, that they are surrounded by cabinets of bladed weapons. What follows is an insane knife-and-axe-throwing skirmish, as the blades fly and leave many of Wick's enemies looking like gruesome porcupines.
1. Mirror mirror (John Wick: Chapter 2)
A classic John Wick scene. Chapter 2's final showdown takes place in an art exhibit in the museum, titled "Reflections of the Soul." It's basically an arty hall of mirrors and the perfect place for a weird and inventive fight sequence. Santino is hunted by Wick, who is turn is hunted by the ruthless Ares, while the mirrors around them all creating a disorientating sense of chaos. Stahelski has stated the influence came from the Bruce Lee movie Enter the Dragon, as well as Orson Welles's classic thriller Lady from Shanghai, both of which have iconic scenes set in halls of mirrors.