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Why John Wick Is the Best New Action Hero

The ass-kicking Keanu Reeves assassin character returns to the big-screen this week in “John Wick: Chapter 2.”

by Debbie Encalada

by Debbie Encalada

John Wick once killed three men at a bar with a pencil…. “A fucking pencil!” emphasizes the hit man’s former boss, who witnessed the act. That alone could make the case for why Keanu Reeves’ mostly stoic, revenge-driven assassin pulled out of retirement is the best new action hero on the big screen. Introduced to audiences in the 2014 action thriller John Wick, the character amassed a ridiculously high body count with a breathtaking mastery of martial arts and weapons. In the process, he left a trail of dead that included not only henchmen but also the best of your beloved modern action heroes, from Dom Toretto to Jason Bourne, and certainly the universes of superheroes smashing scenery with little to no stakes.

Anyone can shoot a gun, but can they use the barrel of a gun to stab someone in the throat, like Wick does in this exceptional club scene? He’s a lethal weapon whether armed or unarmed, but his brilliance goes beyond that. He’s complex. He’s ruthless but will still spare the lives of his enemies on occasion. And, lest we forget, it’s the killing of the puppy given to him by his deceased wife to help him cope with losing her that sets the course for the movie.

Have reservations about crowning Wick, who returns to theaters this week in John Wick: Chapter 2, the king of modern action heroes? Here’s why we’re right and you’re wrong—dead wrong.

He drives better than Dominic Toretto.

john keanu wick

Plus, he rides in style. Here’s Wick’s ‘69 Mustang, before it gets stolen.

He’s merciful.


He’s not just bloodthirsty. Wick chooses to spare the life of acquaintances...and his enemies too!

He’s agile.

keanu reeves john wick

See Wick fighting and you’ll agree. Check out this maneuver in which he flips and rolls and takes out two guys in seconds.

He can fight.


Wick doesn’t need to hide behind his guns, though he could as mentioned above.

He’s an excellent marksman.


Shooting people through walls, picking off guards with a sniper—Wick can do it all.

He’s not much of a talker.

movies keanu reeves john wick

He lets his fists do the talking.

He’s fearless.

No offense, but his wife’s already dead. His dog too. Wick has nothing else to lose. His life? A small price in his quest.

He’s a savage.

movie john wick

Wick really stabbed this guy through his chin and looked into his eyes as he faded from life. Cold.

He’s quick-thinking.


One of the many things that makes him a good fighter.

He’s a dog lover.

movies dog cute keanu reeves john wick

Wick’s beloved dog, a parting gift from his dead wife, gets killed, prompting his killing spree, but before then the two shared adorable moments like this one.


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Debbie Encalada

Debbie Encalada is a freelance writer who previously wrote news and features for Complex.



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