The Best Action Scenes From The John Wick Franchise: John Wick is this millennium’s most coveted action film franchise. There are no two ways about it. Keanu Reeves has rediscovered his leading-man magic by playing the hardened, suited-up assassin. John Wick has achieved almost a cult status by now. There is something compellingly primal about how the element of action and violence is showcased in the three films released until now. The franchise’s biggest strengths are the camera and blocking, the stunt work, and the choreography of those set pieces. Such spectacular vision has set a new benchmark for action films coming out now.
Must Read – The 10 Best Keanu Reeves Movies
Here is a list of the ten best action sequences from the John Wick franchise. They are not ranked in any particular order, and each scene holds a special place on the list. We hope you like the selections!
John Wick Makes a Pencil Disappear (John Wick: Chapter 2)
The pencil scene truly made John Wick the stuff of cinema legend. We have seen a lot of stuff used before to kill a man on screen, but this was the first of its kind. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, and Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity all used a pencil to do the deed.
This sequence from John Wick: Chapter 2 was epic in all proportions. It came at the fag end of the film when Santino places a hefty bounty on Wick’s head and transmits the message to all available assassins around the globe. The violin-playing assassin nearly had him inflicting several gunshot wounds.
But as Wick normally does, he bests every single last one of them. The compelling montage continues for a while. But there is that one scene where he fights two Asians and has nothing other than a pencil to finish the job. They come at him with knives from either end. John is already wounded by the aforementioned assassin and can barely walk.
Thankfully, his reflexes get him out of trouble. He neutralizes one of them with a fist and uses a pencil to kill the other. When the other thug catches his breath, Wick finishes him off with the same instrument, not bothering to use their knives. It is a brutal thing to watch but certainly something memorable.
Recommended: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017): The Devil In Black
John Wick vs. The Shinobi (John Wick: Chapter 3)
If chapter two saw Wick use a pencil to overcome his opponents, the third one went a step ahead and pitted Wick’s solitary leather belt against a highly trained Japanese clan armed with knives of all kinds. Its striking resemblance to the fight sequence from James Bond: Skyfall is something to note for cinema enthusiasts. At the same time, the choreography in this one was on another level. The Shinobi were tough people to beat, and we saw an extension of that challenge in the same breath when Wick had to take on six swordsmen on a bike.
The sword fight is a visual and technical marvel beyond comprehension. Even with the use of CGI, a lot of those sequences were performed by the stuntmen and Keanu. There is a sort of throwback to the South Korean film The Villainess (2017), even though one can agree the latter was the more chic-looking of the two.
The One Where Assassins Invade his Home (John Wick)
A home is a sacred place for an individual. Any invader must expect the worst when they intrude on this personal space. When the person you do this to is John Wick, do not expect the boys to come back home, let alone make it out alive.
Although he had conventional weapons on this occasion, this scene makes it to the list due to its unprecedented body count. With numerous headshots and slickly crafted slides around the house, Wick ends up with a healthy double-digit body count.
The editing in this sequence fully emphasizes the action choreography, wherein there are seemingly very few cuts, and we see the full extent of the blows being exchanged.
Instead of slowing down or making the scene fast-paced, Wick’s processes are shown in one full flow. The lack of disruptions makes the composition look more visceral. This scene ranks as one of the deadliest in the franchise and truly establishes Wick’s appeal in the fans’ minds. It was the first instance when Wick had control of the setting. We were anticipating him to break free of the shackles and express his anger through violence.
Wick always seems to be content with the calm before the storm. But the scene unexpectedly jumps at you with all its rock and roll elements of showcasing Wick’s physical prowess and his impeccable gun-wielding skills. Since it was a part of the first movie, it became a significant symbol in the scheme of the franchise as a whole. The Home Invasion scene is a defining moment in the John Wick saga and must get its due respect.
The Duel with Cassian (John Wick: Chapter 2)
The choreography of action scenes in the John Wick franchise is showcased to the hilt in this extended sequence. Wick’s duel with Cassian in part 2 had all the necessary components to bring a little attitude and suaveness to the action. We see many films today, especially those starring Jason Statham and, recently, Bob Odenkirk starring Nobody, where the central character shares a repartee with the enemy. This has been done in cinema before, but rewatching this scene alerts you to the creation of a template.
Cassian being equal to Wick and someone he respects also adds to the conceit. The men go through cars, people’s homes, public restrooms, and anything flat they can stand upon. The duel between the two goes all around the streets of Rome, at one point, even spilling over to the Continental. Of course, they couldn’t fight there, but watching Wick being matched for the first time in the franchise had its own thrill. It is a scene where no one could have predicted in which direction the pendulum would swing. Cassian could have very well come out on top just as easily.
Reflections of the Soul (John Wick: Chapter 2)
No one can disagree that this parody of the mirror exhibition sequence from John Wick 2 by Key & Peele was any less entertaining. It might have a different composition, but the fundamental element of enjoying what you see is there. The original from the second chapter is a set piece that can be solely praised for its cinematography. Not even one camera crew or the lens itself is visible in any of the mirrors. The editing and blocking are the two variables that the technical team executes with perfection.
In his search for Santino, Wick enters the maze-like structure at the New Modern NYC. The PA record defines it as the place “where the interplay of light and the nature of self-images coalesce to highlight the fragility of our perception of self,” whatever that means. He is outnumbered as usual and must rely on instinct, reflexes, and some acquired brevity to steer clear of the enemies and gun them down in these new challenging conditions.
Knife Shop Scene (John Wick: Chapter 3)
In all honesty, Chapter 3 was the part nowhere the makers truly embraced the concept of unapologetic gore on the screen. The strongest representation of that creative choice came in the Knife Shop scene, where Wick dismantles the expert Asian throwers singlehandedly and also showcases his knife-throwing skills. It was a pretty momentous decision in the franchise. Even though we had seen a lot of undigestible gore and violence before that chapter as well, there was something repulsive and equally exciting about this sequence that you cannot shrug off. It raises expectations for the upcoming installment to feature violence in a similar flavor.
Wick already had a hefty bounty at his head. He had to be prepared at any moment to face off against the hordes of assassins coming at him. While in the antique weapons shop, Wick is confronted by Asian thugs. After engaging in hand-to-hand combat, Wick and the thugs break into the array of weapons on display and use them. He threw knives, fired guns, and used everything at his disposal to annihilate them. The thugs kept coming in, but Wick stood tall.
Hearing the glass break across the room was impactful in this scene. The sound editing is truly up to the standards and places you right in the midst of the fighting. In fact, it is true for all other sounds, like those of the knife blades wooshing and the groans of the thugs. This scene’s soundscape demonstrates how action films can do away with the pump of the background music and make their appeal gung-ho with these differentiated creative choices.
Recommended: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum  Review – Kill Them All
Red Circle Shootout (John Wick)
The first part of the franchise was not just plain simple revenge. It also marked the first two stages of grief of Wick’s character: denial and anger. After losing the pup his wife had gifted him, Wick became unhinged and went on a killing spree. The Red Circle Nightclub shootout was our first flavor of the Wick brand of action. This scene, in particular, dictated how one would refer to John Wick when history books are written.
Coming to the scene, Wick learns that Iosef is alone in his pet club. Well, with some dead bodies that Wick will make. The spoiled brat still thinks The Boogeymen legend is undeserved. But Wick is about to prove him wrong. And in the process of doing that, giving us an unassailable modern action hero we will tell our grandkids about.
Wick does not need to blitz at this time. He steals the distance, killing the guards in combat. When an alert is raised, he has to be his lethal self to clear the hordes of men coming at him. Enough is done to prevent Wick from killing Iosef, but he indeed leaves his mark.
Killing Iosef (John Wick)
Iosef is perhaps the most hated antagonist in the franchise till now. Who kills a small defenseless puppy who can inflict no harm? Alfie Allen (“Game of Thrones”) did a great job of mixing his character’s ego and cowardice, which is brought out in different parts. After the previous attempt on his life, the rich brat thought he had got away. His father, though, knew much better about the legend of The Boogeyman. As fate would have it, Wick hits the Russian crew at their heavily protected warehouse.
Proficiency is manifested in John Wick’s most clean, precise onslaught in the franchise. But do not let the appearance’s simplicity take away Wick’s marksmanship. The distance is huge, and he has to go through the glass to get to Iosef. Even using a sniper rifle, Wick exudes confidence and assuredness that comes from his years of training. There are a few staple explosions and a slow-motion walk to his target. It is a moment when all of the viewers cheer on the ruthlessness and immortalize the image of Wick killing his enemy with that slicked-back hairstyle and the black suit and tie. That was also the moment he had avenged Daisy and restored his wife’s honor.
The Hotel Fight Scene (John Wick: Chapter 3)
Isn’t this the height of all-action fandom? The classic operas make up the soundscape, the immersive depth of a luxurious hotel, and a primal hunter waiting for his prey; this is peak John Wick. This is peak “any action movie,” to be honest. It is also the one time that Wick has allies with him to alleviate the overwhelming odds.
At the home ground, he stands his ground defiantly to block out all those who enter with guns to take him into custody. The men come out in swarms from all corners. The terrain is dimly lit but packed with booby traps by Wick. He even knows what angles to use to deter the men. Big guns, smaller ones, and heavy blows are all intermixed as the choice of weapon here.
The operatic sound treatment brings the act to a crescendo with the melody. It is a terrific combination that might seem over the top and unconventional for the franchise. But it had to have its larger-than-life moment as well. The hotel scene in the third film feels like a homage to the previous two parts. If this was meant to be the final hurrah, the franchise was well worth being a part of. But now we know this was not the last of John Wick!
The Museum (John Wick: Chapter 2)
This is the kind of grand entry that action movies reward the viewers with the most. A tingling sensation gradually rises from the base of your feet and goes all the way to give you an adrenaline rush. The calm before the storm is a poetic touch and just the tipping point of this giant iceberg of emotion, action, and violence. The post-mortem starts instantly, and we dig right into Wick, going through one guard after another. It is very neatly put together, just like Wick handles his firearms.
Clean shots and clarity of thought place him in an impeccable place where he cannot be touched. The large spaces around the exhibits also add to the visual spectacle, giving an intense look to the overall sequence. This scene is brief but makes the most of every second. And that is perhaps the franchise’s most glittering quality. Since there is not a lot of exposition through drama or subplots, the central focus is on how attractive and efficient each action set piece can be made.
Such is the mindset that every brazen attempt to defy commonplace genre knowledge receives assistance from all four corners. Not only how the shot is conceived or how it is recorded but also how it is given the final touches in the editing room. This Muesuem debacle is the perfect culmination of the discussion on using differently angled lenses to compile the action.
Music Concert and Catacombs (John Wick: Chapter 2)
Seeing this list, one can easily say that the franchise’s second installment was the most action-filled. In conventional terms, usually, the second film faces the most scrutiny and pressure if the first film turns out to be a success. Perhaps that is why Chapter 2 features the most here. We have taken the extended sequence in this film from the music concert to the catacombs together, as they are most effective in that format.
This is where he first meets Cassian, who runs in the opposite direction to alert the backup. And Wick starts going through the frenzied crowds, blaring music and bright prisms of light to kill the incoming guards. It is crazy how we do not see another civilian casualty in this crossfire. But perhaps it is down to how Wick finishes off the goons. The catacombs are an entirely different setup where none of these visual elements greet Wick. He must once again destroy another wall of men to reach his intended target.
The expanse is more significant and darker. He is sort of stuck and taken by surprise because of the onslaught. In fact, he runs away from the incoming shooters to maintain distance and get a better handle on the situation. Wick’s impeccable sense of planning allows him to maneuver the shooters using the zig-zag layout of the catacombs. It establishes how well director Chad Stahelski uses his sets to embellish the action.
Also, Read – Ranking The Villains Of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Phase 4