If there are two things I love in this world, they would be:
- Action movies about retired and/or aging assassins going on rampages through criminal organizations because one or more of the organization’s members made the mistake of harming or offending them in some way.
- Pointless debates.
And so, this: Let’s discuss and declare a champion in this genre. There are a ton of options, really, but I’ve narrowed it down to three choices, because otherwise we’d be here forever and because this is my idea, whatever, leave me alone. Our options: Keanu Reeves, Liam Neeson, and Denzel Washington. All legends in the field, some for quantity, some for quality, some for both. Below, please find the case for each of them, followed by my chosen winner. If you disagree, feel free to retrieve your hidden supply of weapons and come for me. It’s the only fair way to settle things.
(Please do not do this.)
Away we go.
Revenge Movie: John Wick
Reason For Rampage: Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones kills his dog
Notable Scene: Keanu storms a fancy New York night club operated by the Russian mob and kills well over a dozen gangsters as techno music blares.
The first thing we need to note here is that John Wick has the best Reason for Revenge on this list , and maybe ever. Yes, there is more to it than just “Theon killed his dog.” There’s context there. The dog was a gift from his late wife, the last thing he had to remember her by, and a living, breathing creature that gave him a reason to get up every morning. But still. Even without the context, friggin’ Theon killing your dog is probably enough to justify a few dozen murders. I’m pretty sure it’s the law, actually. And even if it’s not, find me one jury in the land that would convict you. Case closed.
So John Wick has that going for it. It’s also the most artistic of the films on this list. The colors pop off the screen, especially the bright red shirts the Russian mobsters wear, which is quite cool and eye-catching, but also a terrible decision when a wronged super-assassin is hunting you and all your friends. The action scenes are less brute force than they are ballet with firearms, too. That’s kind of cool. Watch the first big shootout again, the one where the mobsters come to his house after they realize what they did and who they did it to. Keanu is out here murdering bad guys in a suit and moving like a rhythmic gymnast. It’s almost beautiful. And that’s before we get to the night club scene I mentioned earlier. That’s one of the best action scenes ever, in any movie, full-stop. John Wick is a good movie. That’s what I’m getting at.
Also, no one steal “ballet with firearms” from me. With the right investors, I can make that stage production work.