John Wick (Keanu Reeves) and Sofia Al-Azwar (Halle Berry) walking in a desert in 'John Wick Chapter 3-Parabellum.'

It’s Impossible To Take These ‘John Wick’ Realism Criticisms Seriously

He may be one of Hollywood’s premier sweethearts in the real world, but when it comes to cinema, few can hope to match the incalculable body count that Keanu Reeves has racked up over the years. And it’s almost entirely thanks to his time as the one and only John Wick. Indeed, be it point-blank headshots, a steak knife to the jugular, or the tried-and-true power of blunt force trauma, the John Wick movies tend to check the concept of survival at the door.

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At least, that’s the case for the bodies that John drops; as for the Boogeyman himself, it’s nothing short of cartoonishly laughable that the eponymous hitman has emerged victorious as many times as he has. And for some audience members, that’s cause for a thumbs down.

But never fear: Director Chad Stahelski has heard each and every criticism against John Wick‘s lack of realism, and he’s dead set on heeding none of them. In a recent interview with Screen Rant, the John Wick helmsman divulged the nuances behind his approach to the films, noting how the brazenness of the protagonist’s ability to slaughter legions of assassins is absolutely something that he and the rest of the creative team lean into.

“When you read a critic saying, “Well, that’s not real. And John Wick would never survive.” Dude, neither would Bugs Bunny; I totally get it. We’re in on the joke. That’s why we’re killing 300, not three. We’re in on it… We want to laugh. But I don’t think you should try for a laugh. I just think the situational brutality of the situation should give you a laugh and a comfort one. If you fall down 10 stairs, it’s brutal. If you fall down 200 stairs, it’s funny… I think you need that psychosomatic response to action and violence to make it fun.”

Indeed, rolling up to a John Wick movie expecting realism is like ordering shower curtains at Dairy Queen; in both scenarios, you’re the fool. No, you watch John Wick to watch artful, larger-than-life action that not only sheds the easy route of shaky cameras and close-ups but frames the action in entirely creative, captivating new ways. Admit it, that Hotline Miami-esque scene in John Wick: Chapter 4 was nothing short of exquisite. Combine that with its second-to-none sense of inner mythology and world-building, and it’s clear that John Wick‘s ascension to one of Hollywood’s top franchises was no accident.

(featured image: Lionsgate)

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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer at The Mary Sue and We Got This Covered. She's been writing professionally since 2018 (a year before she completed her English and Journalism degrees at St. Thomas University), and is likely to exert herself if given the chance to write about film or video games.