John Wick’s Legacy: Diving Deep into Action Movies


Keanu Reeves’ resurgence as a cinematic action hero with the John Wick franchise has reignited a love for stylish, brutal, and balletic fight choreography. The success of John Wick spawned a wave of films seeking to capture the essence of its underworld assassins, intricate gun-fu, and compelling mythology. Buckle up as we explore movies that will quench your thirst for action after John Wick.

The World of Assassins: John Wick’s Core Elements

John Wick isn’t just another action flick. It established a unique visual style and lore-driven universe. Here’s what makes John Wick stand out:

  • Ruthless Action: John Wick features balletic, close-quarters combat with a focus on gun-fu, integrating firearms and martial arts seamlessly. The action is brutal and stylish, with a focus on long takes and clear choreography.
  • Underworld Mythology: The films establish a rich world of assassins, governed by a hidden code of conduct and a network of safe havens known as “Continentals.” This adds depth to the narrative and allows for world-building.
  • Emotional Core: Beneath the stoic exterior, John Wick is driven by grief and a thirst for revenge. This emotional core grounds the action and makes the audience connect with the character.

Heirlooms and Hitmen: Movies with John Wick’s DNA

If you crave the action and world-building of John Wick, here are some films that deliver a similar punch:

  • The Raid Series (2011 & 2014): Indonesian action cinema at its finest. The Raid films boast intense, brutal hand-to-hand combat with a focus on practical effects. The story follows Rama, an elite S.W.A.T. officer tasked with infiltrating a high-rise building filled with gangsters.
  • Atomic Blonde (2017): Charlize Theron shines as a cold-war assassin caught in a web of espionage and betrayal. Atomic Blonde features brutal fight choreography and a stylish aesthetic that pays homage to John Wick.
  • Nobody (2021): Bob Odenkirk sheds his comedic persona to play Hutch Mansell, a seemingly mild-mannered accountant who harbours a violent past. Nobody shares John Wick’s “underdog assassin” theme and features impressive action sequences.
  • Kate (2021): Mary Elizabeth Winstead takes centre stage as a seasoned assassin given a 24-hour window to complete her final mission before succumbing to poisoning. Kate offers a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride with a dash of emotional weight.

Gun-Fu Goes Global: International Action Films for the Discerning Viewer

Looking beyond Hollywood, here are some international action films that showcase stunning fight choreography and unique cinematic styles:

  • The Villainess (2017) (South Korea): This South Korean action film follows Sook-hee, a ruthless assassin raised and trained by the government. The Villainess features stunning visuals, brutal action sequences, and a non-linear narrative.
  • The Night Comes For Us (2018) (Indonesia): Another Indonesian gem, The Night Comes For Us follows an elite assassin named Arian who defies his orders, sparking a brutal conflict. The film boasts intense action choreography and a dark, gritty atmosphere.
  • The Man From Nowhere (2010) (South Korea): A retired special forces soldier with a mysterious past becomes entangled with gangsters when his young neighbour is kidnapped. The Man From Nowhere showcases a blend of action and emotion, with some truly impressive fight sequences.

Beyond Bullets: Films with a Focus on Assassins and Assassination

If the world of assassins and the code they follow intrigue you, here are some films that explore this theme:

  • Road to Perdition (2002): Tom Hanks portrays Michael Sullivan, a hitman forced to protect his son after a witness massacre. Road to Perdition is a stylish crime thriller with a focus on loyalty and family.
  • The American (2010): George Clooney stars as Jack, a skilled assassin nearing retirement who takes one last job in Italy. The American is a slow-burn thriller that explores the emotional toll of a life of violence.
  • Haywire (2011): Steven Soderbergh directs this action thriller about a female covert operative betrayed by her agency. Haywire features realistic fight choreography and a focus on hand-to-hand combat.

Welcome to the Continental: Exploring the Assassin Underworld

The Continental, a neutral ground for assassins in the John Wick universe, adds a layer of intrigue to the films. Here are some movies that delve into the world of assassins and secret societies:

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) and Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017): These movies offer a stylish and humorous take on the spy genre. Taron Egerton stars as Eggsy, a young recruit who is trained to become a Kingsman, a secret organization of gentlemen spies.
  • Haywire (2011): Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a highly trained CIA operative who is betrayed by her own agency. The film offers a realistic portrayal of the world of espionage and black ops.
  • Mechanic: Resurrection (2016): Jason Statham stars as Arthur Bishop, an elite assassin who is forced to come out of retirement to take on a seemingly impossible mission.


Q: What movies are similar to John Wick for the action sequences?

  • The Raid: Redemption (2011) & The Raid 2 (2014): These Indonesian martial arts masterpieces showcase incredible fight choreography, with a focus on brutal hand-to-hand combat and inventive use of the environment.
  • Atomic Blonde (2017): Charlize Theron brings the pain in this stylish action flick, with fight sequences that blend brutal efficiency with balletic grace.
  • Hardcore Henry (2015): Buckle up for a mind-bending experience as this film throws you right into the action through a first-person perspective.

Q: Are there any movies like John Wick with a retired assassin protagonist?

  • Nobody (2021): Bob Odenkirk sheds his mild-mannered persona to play a retired hitman forced back into action. The film injects humour into the genre, making it a fun watch.
  • The Man from Nowhere (2010): This South Korean action thriller features a similar premise to John Wick, with a retired special agent protecting a young girl from gangsters.
  • A Company Man (2010): Another South Korean gem, this film explores the consequences of a violent past when a former assassin tries to go straight.

Q: I want to delve deeper into the assassin underworld John Wick portrays. What movies should I watch?

  • Equilibrium (2002): Christian Bale stars in a dystopian future where emotions are outlawed. Think John Wick with a philosophical twist.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014): This action-comedy provides a more tongue-in-cheek look at a secret society of assassins, with a focus on gadgets and elaborate action set pieces.
  • Haywire (2011): Gina Carano kicks butt as a government assassin betrayed by her own agency.

Q: Are there any recent movies that capture the John Wick vibe?

  • Kate (2021): Mary Elizabeth Winstead portrays a seasoned assassin given a 24-hour window to complete her final mission before being poisoned.
  • Gunpowder Milkshake (2021): This action film boasts a female-centric cast, with three generations of assassins joining forces.

Q: This is great! Where can I watch these movies?

Streaming services and availability can change frequently, so it’s best to check your preferred platform (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, etc.) to see if the film is available. You can also search online retailers for purchase options.

Remember, these are just a starting point! Explore the genres of action, crime, and thriller to discover more hidden gems in the world of assassins and gun-fu action.

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Jyoti Kumari

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