His wife died, they stole his car, they killed his dog… with this in mind, John Wick’s original kill count was nowhere near high enough.
Viggo Tarsov put it best: Keanu Reeves’ titular assassin isn’t the Boogeyman, he’s ‘the one you send to kill the f*cking Boogeyman’.
However, long before the 2014 Keanussaince hit the screen, John’s retaliation to the cruelty of naive goons was far more restrained. Thankfully, Daisy deserved ‘guns… lots of guns’.
As per George Hatzis’ Visu estimate, John kills a whopping 77 people throughout the first movie, from his home right through to the climax at the dock, with the assistance of guns, knives or simply his brutal fighting skills.
Looking back to when he first read the script, the film’s co-director Chad Stahelski explained to ComicBook that Reeves had ‘sent it to me on a Friday and I read it maybe that day and thought about it over the weekend’.
It was much more contained. I think only three people died in the original script, two were in a car crash. It was very, very minimal, and it was slightly different. I read it, and I’d always had this idea about Greek mythology and how to tell more a fable-istic kind of story, make a surreal action movie so it wasn’t so grounded and grey, just something different.
People joke about [the kill count], but the way I choreograph with my guys and stuff, we just choreograph motion and set pieces and we try to get this balletic kind of dance, live performance feel to everything.
To be clear, that marks an increase of just more than 2566% compared to the original kill count. Bear in mind the opening section of John Wick, when Victor sends a small army to his home, substantially more than three people’s lives are swiftly ended.
Stahelski added: ‘I think, just by nature, because Keanu’s gotten so much better with the choreography and the martial arts and the motion and we change weapons so much and we get bigger set pieces, that, just by its very nature, because the scene grows, the body count grows.’
Stahelski went on to direct the sequels – John Wick: Chapter 2 and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – solo, where the kill count went up, and up again. In the second film, 128 people are killed, with 94 dying in the third, making a grand total of 299 – more than Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers’ massacres combined.
John Wick 4 is due for release on May 27, 2022, with a fifth instalment being shot back-to-back. ‘Be seeing you.’
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