John Wick - The Story So Far

Back in 1989, when Keanu Reeves hit the radar in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, we may not have proclaimed: “One day, that floppy-haired heart-throb will play a killing machine in a squillion-dollar neo-noir film franchise.” But a lot has changed in thirty years. If his roles in Speed and The Matrix kick-started Reeves’ reinvention as an action hero, then his career-best debut as John Wick in 2014 tied a bow on it.

Five years on, the numbers are jaw-dropping – and we’re not just talking about the global box office from the first two John Wick movies. Perhaps the more relevant statistic is that Wick has dispensed a total of 161 bad guys to date in this vendetta-fuelled saga. Before John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum adds to that body count on 15 May, let’s look back at the story so far…

John Wick: Chapter 1 (2014)

 

It all started with a puppy (seriously). Rewind to 2014, and when retired hitman John Wick is targeted by unwitting Russian mobsters – who steal his Ford Mustang and kill the pet beagle that threw him a lifeline after his wife’s death – they open a big can of whoop-ass.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, this opening salvo follows the bone-snapping clash between Wick and the crime clan of chilling kingpin Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), with the carnage spilling between chop-shops, nightclubs and the gangster-populated Continental Hotel.

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

 

Chapter 2 plunges us back into the New York underworld, as notorious Camorra don Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) orders Wick to carry out a brutal assassination as payback for an old favour.

Wick duly carries out the kill – only for Santino to frame him for murder and slap down a $7 million reward for his killing.

When Wick breaks the underworld’s golden rule – never spill blood inside The Continental Hotel – the bounty is doubled.

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019)

 

So here’s a pickle: after his faux pas in The Continental Hotel, Wick has been frozen out by the crime world’s High Table, has a $14 million price on his head, and a swarm of international assassins on his tail, including sort-of comrade Sofia (Halle Berry) and the terrifying Zero (Mark Dacascos).

Stahelski has described this third instalment as “our f**k you to everyone else” in the action genre, and with set pieces involving attack dogs, knife fights and horseback battles, he’s put his movie where his mouth is.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – in cinemas 15 May.

John Wick is a hunted man. After breaking the underworld’s code of honour, this third instalment of the smash-hit neo-noir action saga finds the troubled hitman out in the cold, pursued by an army of merciless killers seeking the $14 million bounty on his head.

But modern cinema’s deadliest assassin isn’t going down without a fight.

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