John Wick is a modern-day classic and for a good reason. In the age when action movies are more or less redundant, or… well, something your dad may watch (yeah, we’re looking at you Rambo), John Wick stands out as the genre’s prime example.
Its unmatched quality, dynamics, and Keanu Reeves’ charisma make for a real blockbuster and a fan favorite.
But all this leaves the fans wanting more. Is the action movie genre as dead as we believe? Are there any movies like John Wick? Well, yes, in fact, there are a lot of them! Here’s a Top 10 list of action movies like John Wick; some can even be seen on streaming platforms like Netflix!
What makes the John Wick franchise so special
We’ve touched this topic a teeny-tiny bit. Action movies like John Wick are not a rarity, but Chad Stahelski and Davi Leitch’s super-action stands out for several reasons.
It’s hard to imagine John Wick without its exhilarating and extravagant action scenes. In fact, these movies are essentially prolonged shootouts that keep you on the edge of your seat. Unlike other action films, John Wick doesn’t rely on intricate storylines or lengthy character development to impress its audience.
Instead, it delivers an uninterrupted adrenaline rush from start to finish with some of the most remarkable stunts ever filmed. The choreography is executed with such finesse and accuracy that it’s impossible not to be amazed by the talent involved, both on-screen and off. John Wick sets the standard for action movies, leaving us all in awe of its epic, non-stop action sequences.
Embracing the crazy and the ridiculous
The John Wick movies’ triumph lies in their unapologetic embrace of their absurdity. These films are unabashedly violent and action-packed, and they know it. They indulge in their over-the-top fight scenes, which are so wild that they verge on cartoonish, and the dialogue is deliberately cheesy and campy, adding to their charm. It’s as though the creators have taken all the best elements of ’80s action movies and magnified them tenfold. The result is a delightfully outrageous cinematic experience that celebrates its own ridiculousness.
While John Wick may be a serious franchise about a man seeking vengeance for his beloved dog (which, let’s be honest, is perhaps the most unique character motivation in cinematic history), it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The movies are laced with moments of humor that enhance the overall experience. From John’s dry wit to the sheer absurdity of a gunfight in a museum brimming with priceless art, there’s always something to break up the unrelenting action. These well-placed moments of levity allow the audience to catch their breath and appreciate the film’s lighter side. The humourous touches only add to the overall enjoyment of the John Wick series.
One aspect that truly distinguishes the John Wick franchise from other action movie franchises is its intricate world-building. The filmmakers have constructed an underworld that is both captivating and chilling. The Continental Hotel, with its strict rules and exclusive clientele of assassins, is a masterful creation. The fact that each character seems to have some sort of connection, even if they’ve never met, conveys the sense that this universe extends far beyond what we see on screen. It’s as if we’re catching a glimpse of a vast and intricate world that exists beyond the confines of the movies. This is world-building at its finest, making the John Wick franchise stand out from the crowd.
Keanu Reeves himself
When it comes to the John Wick franchise, one cannot ignore the man at its center: Keanu Reeves. He’s a legend in his own right, having been in the industry for decades, but there’s something else that makes him undeniably awesome. Perhaps it’s his chiseled jawline or his reputation as a genuinely cool guy off-screen. Whatever it is, he was the perfect choice to portray John Wick, and he has proven it time and time again. Reeves brings a quiet intensity to the utterly compelling role. His ability to take out bad guys with such skill and precision is nothing short of cathartic. In essence, he embodies everything that makes John Wick the beloved character that he is.
Top 10 movies similar to John Wick
It took us quite an effort to sort out just a Top 10 list of movies like John Wick. Despite the shift in the focus of the action movie genre towards the Marvel/DC-dominated superhero sphere, there’s some good action happening on Earth, where the main characters are mortal human beings, if you may call Keanu Reeves a mortal human being.
What makes this Top 10 list even better is that these movies, similar to John Wick, can be found on Netflix, HBO Max, and other streaming platforms.
The Raid 2
An entry from the other side of the Pacific can be found on Netflix. There are a lot of Japanese movies like John Wick. In fact, Japanese cinema is seeing a surge in high-quality action movies, especially when directed by Hollywood superstars like Gareth Evans.
The Raid 2’s plot brings to mind several classic crime movies, including Infernal Affairs. The movie picks up where the first one left off, with the hero staggering out of the deadly building, only to be thrown into a dangerous prison, where he goes undercover and befriends the cocky son of a Mob boss, played excellently by Arifin Putra. Gareth Evans’ casting is once again on point, and his talent for building tension is masterful. The shots of a door lock quivering and falling apart as angry convicts try to get to Rama are a testament to his skills as a filmmaker.
Despite the shock value of the action scenes, which can sometimes be comical, the precision, scope, and wit with which they are choreographed keep the audience engaged and on the edge of their seats. The prison riot scene, for instance, is an expansive and brutal melee, with the camera darting between numerous mud-covered fighters. The showdown in a porn studio is just as wild, featuring a shotgun and even a dildo.
However, the most impressive action sequence is saved for the final, exhilarating 40 minutes of the film, which rekindles the relentless spirit of the first movie. The final reel features assassinations, a restaurant/henchman factory, and even a car chase. Gareth Evans introduces various new techniques, including seatbelt fu, to keep the audience thrilled and entertained.
Older movie fans can rejoice when seeing veteran movie stars like Bob Odenkirk and Christopher Lloyd kicking ass together on screen.
Bob Odenkirk’s performance in the action-packed “Nobody” is nothing short of impressive, thanks in part to the creative staging by Ilya Naishuller and the skilled action team at 87North, led by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. While it would have been easy to turn the film into a parody of action movies, Odenkirk’s portrayal of Hutch Mansell, a retired assassin-turned-family-man, is anything but comical. Although Hutch’s first fight scene shows him struggling to keep up, he quickly gets back into the swing of things and delivers punishment with a fierce intensity that rivals even that of the legendary John Wick.
The connection to John Wick is not a coincidence. Director David Leitch, who co-directed the first film in the Keanu Reeves franchise, also produced Nobody, and both movies share a writer in Derek Kolstad. There are certainly similarities, including the central premise and the use of Russian villains.
However, the tone of Nobody sets it apart.
While Bob Odenkirk’s character is not as wordy as Wick, the film is much more humorous. In contrast to the Wick films, which can sometimes feel overly serious and self-important, the violence in Nobody is exaggerated and almost cartoonish. It departs from the standard revenge-thriller fare and may disappoint viewers looking for a more profound exploration of justice and retribution. It’s one of the impressive action-packed new movies like John Wick.
Hardcore Henry (2015)
Through Hardcore Henry and Nobody, Ilya Naishuller cements himself as one of our time’s finest action actors and producers. The Moscow native sure is an exciting name, and being just under 40 makes the promise of him being the next big thing.
Our main character, Henry, wakes up in a sci-fi operating room with no memory or voice. His wife Estelle, played by Haley Bennett, attaches cybernetic limbs to his body. Suddenly, the facility is attacked, and Henry barely manages to escape. Unfortunately, his wife is kidnapped by a bleached-blond villain with inexplicable telekinetic powers.
From there, Henry embarks on a violent and repetitive journey through a Russian city and its surroundings, including clichéd locations like a strip club, the woods, and a crumbling building. Along the way, Sharlto Copley plays various roles, such as a punk, a British soldier, and a homeless man, acting as your guide through this chaotic world.
At its core, Hardcore Henry is essentially a movie version of a first-person shooter. However, even if you enjoy watching video games played for hours, you might want to think twice before watching this film.
The movie portrays actions such as running, climbing buildings, and jumping from one moving vehicle to another as disorienting experiences, but in reality, they are not. If everything appeared as judder and chaotic as it does in Hardcore Henry, something as simple as jogging through the park would become impossible. It’s one of the good movies like John Wick.
Atomic Blonde (2017)
David Leitch leads a star-studded cast, including the likes of Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, and John Goodman, through Berlin in the last few days before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Charlize Theron takes on the role of MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton in the film, who is dispatched to Berlin shortly before the fall of the Wall. There, she is faced with the daunting task of investigating the murder of a fellow agent and the disappearance of a list of spies, both of which could escalate tensions between East and West. To succeed in her mission, Broughton teams up with MI6 station chief David Percival (played by James McAvoy) to uncover the truth and recover the missing list.
The action sequences in Atomic Blonde are nothing short of breathtaking, and it’s no surprise coming from one of the co-directors of the John Wick franchise. One particular fight scene is shot in long, hand-held takes that carry the audience through stairs, an apartment, and a car chase, leaving them breathless.
However, what sets this film apart is the brutal, realistic portrayal of violence against women. While it can be uncomfortable to watch, Charlize Theron’s portrayal of MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton exudes such strength and fearlessness that it never feels like she’s being victimized. Even when faced with male opponents, she uses her surroundings and their own momentum against them, making her a believable force to be reckoned with. It’s one of the best movies like John Wick.
It Comes at Night (2018)
One could argue that too many movies are similar to John Wick on Netflix. Another great take is the adapted graphic novel It Comes at Night.
In post-apocalyptic films, characters often face a tough decision: either hit the road, as seen in movies like Mad Max 2 and The Last of Us, or barricade themselves in a fortified haven like the one depicted in this film. Both choices come with their own set of challenges, as a society’s downfall usually means that even family members and pets can’t be trusted, let alone strangers.
It Comes At Night explores survival, trust, and paranoia themes in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious disease has wiped out most of humanity. The movie doesn’t provide explicit details about the outbreak, leaving the audience to speculate about what exactly the “it” of the title refers to. The focus is on a tight-knit family group led by a patriarch who takes extreme measures to protect his loved ones from the outside world.
The movie raises questions about the morality of such measures and whether a life of isolation and fear is worth living. These themes are reminiscent of other post-apocalyptic movies like The Witch and 10 Cloverfield Lane and older movies like Panic in Year Zero!, which also explore the idea of ruthless survival in the face of disaster.
Another iconic action franchise featuring a charismatic Hollywood icon Liam Neeson, where the protagonist has his hand forced. The chaos that erupts after his daughter is kidnapped while on a trip to Europe can only be placed on the screen by someone like Luc Besson.
In Taken, Liam Neeson plays a former CIA operative who embarks on a mission to rescue his daughter from human traffickers. The movie resembles John Wick’s intense action scenes, where Neeson’s character takes on an army of Eastern European thugs. While the film’s repetitive nature may tire some viewers, the direction of Pierre Morel and co-writing of Luc Besson offer an engaging platform for Neeson to display his unique set of skills. Seeing the typically dramatic Neeson transition into a no-nonsense action hero was a novel experience for audiences when the film was released in 2009.
Despite the predictable plot leading up to the protagonist’s triumph, Liam Neeson’s performance in the first Taken movie radiates a palpable sense of enjoyment and enthusiasm. This joy is conspicuously absent in the subsequent sequels and in other movies trying to emulate the same formula.
Neeson’s portrayal is especially noteworthy because it marks a departure from his typically serious, highbrow roles, as demonstrated by his exhilarating on-screen car chase and combative scenes with opponents half his age. It is evident that Neeson relished shedding his previous persona and getting his hands dirty. The audience is left with the impression that Mills’ character is driven by a moral outrage that his mundane suburban life cannot offer. Don’t look anything further for revenge movies like John Wick.
Extraction is a non-stop action film starring Chris Hemsworth as the protagonist, Tyler Rake. The film’s standout feature is undoubtedly the protagonist’s name and its ironic association with his weapon of choice, a rake, with which he takes out a couple of villains.
Extraction showcases Chris Hemsworth’s and director Sam Hargrave’s impressive acting skills as they take the audience on a thrilling ride. Hargrave’s previous work on the one-shot action sequence in Atomic Blonde is evident in this film’s oner, which captures Rake’s intense battle with a rival in a series of foot chases, car chases, and stand-offs.
Although it doesn’t quite reach the same heights as Atomic Blonde or 1917, the owner is still a thrilling experience that immerses the audience in Rake’s desperate fight for survival. Hemsworth delivers a powerful performance as he channels his inner John Wick, engaging in intricately choreographed showdowns and demolishing entire squadrons with his sheer brawn and a seemingly endless supply of bullets. Extraction is a rough, unapologetic, and enjoyable action-packed adventure.
Just like Japanese movies like John Wick, Korean movies also manage to replicate the same amount of high-flying action, mainly through the excellent use of martial arts.
The film starts with a bang, immediately thrusting the audience into what feels like a first-person shooter game. The protagonist fights their way through a skyscraper filled with well-dressed henchmen and lab workers, who brandish weapons hidden under their coats, only to be outmatched by their opponent. The scenes are incredibly intense and provide a unique twist on the classic corridor fight scenes, rivaling the likes of Oldboy and Daredevil. The camera work is nothing short of breathtaking, with seemingly impossible shots that could only be achieved with the help of some impressive CGI. The laws of physics seem to take a back seat as the audience is left in awe of the stunning visuals.
The film’s opening scene plays out like a gripping first-person shooter video game. Our unknown protagonist battles through a building filled with armed henchmen and lab personnel, showcasing an impressive display of combat skills. When the dust settles, we are introduced to the main character, Sook-hee, played by Kim Ok-bin (Thirst), a young woman who is taken in by mysterious figures and given a new identity, including plastic surgery and training at an all-girls school in the deadly arts.
While her previous skills might seem superfluous, she hones them further while balancing her acting life. But what sets Sook-hee apart is that she is a mother, having arrived at the assassin school while pregnant. This unique aspect adds a layer of complexity to the character, providing a plausible threat to her and showcasing tenderness in a genre often focused solely on action. It’s one of the good movies to watch like John Wick.
The Man From Nowhere (2010)
Another high-flying Korean action in the John Wick style. The Man From Nowhere was a huge box office success in Korea, outperforming even popular Western blockbusters such as Iron Man 2.
Its popularity has not gone unnoticed, as the film has gained significant international attention. Bob Weinstein, the film’s producer, praises it as a slick and fast-paced action thriller with a solid emotional core that will captivate audiences. Weinstein and his team have always been passionate about action and martial arts films, and with The Man From Nowhere, they are making a triumphant return to the genre.
In 2010, the original film was helmed by Lee Jeong-beom, who wrote and directed it. Won Bin played the lead role of a former black ops operative for the Korean government who now lives a solitary life running a pawn shop. However, his tranquil existence is shattered when he unwittingly acquires a camera bag filled with drugs, thereby attracting the attention of the bag’s original traffickers. These villains are involved in heinous activities such as human trafficking and organ harvesting. When they abduct his neighbor and her daughter, Bin has no other option but to unleash his martial arts skills and take them down.
From the very first shot, Underworld makes it clear what its priorities are. Kate Beckinsale, donning a form-fitting fetish catsuit and a Matrix-inspired coat, is seen perched on a dark and brooding city skyline, delivering a voiceover that fails to provide a clear backstory.
It seems like the film relies too heavily on its visual style and action set pieces while neglecting to give its characters depth or engaging dialogue. The casting choices also seem to fall short, leaving the film feeling flat and unconvincing in its attempts to create a world of immortal creatures.
The repetitive use of particular visual elements also becomes tiresome, indicating a lack of creativity and imagination in the storytelling.
The audience needs high-flying movies like John Wick, and they need them in an accessible manner, like from streaming services like Netflix. And don’t skip on the movies like John Wick from Japan and Korea – they are a masterclass in dynamic action sequences with a large kill count. On the downside, they may come as cheesy and similar to an FPS game. However, it seems that the audience loves it and wants it!
Frequently asked question
What makes the John Wick movie franchise so entertaining?
The John Wick movies combine over-the-top action sequences with an entertaining story, pretty good humor, and Keanu Reeves unmatched charisma.
Where is the best place to see these movies, similar to John Wick
These movies can be seen literally anywhere, from the cinema to regular cable TV. Streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO Max produce excellent movies with the same vibe as the John Wick movies.
What makes Japanese and Korean movies like John Wick so good?
Actors both in South Korea and Japan are known to be both masterful actors and skilled martial artists. Their fighting skills provide great fighting scenes that are well-loved by fans across the globe.
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