In a world where an ex-hit-man named John Wick comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and stole his car — three die-hard fans (Adam, Jerod, and Brett) spend nearly 2 hours discussing the John Wick trilogy and then some.
Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧
This conversation for this unusual Backstage actually began in an extended break of the Changelog, Brett, when you were on, way back… How many months ago was that, Jerod? Nine months, eight times?
The first time he was on or the second time he was on?
I believe it’s been a year.
Okay, so two shows ago we had an extended break with Brett, and somehow, someway, we started talking about Keanu Reeves…
As you do, during the breaks…
As you do in a break… And one thing led to another, and it was this sort of trivia to unravel Keanu’s history. I think, Brett, you said he was from New Zealand, or something like that - his heritage at least - and I said he was Canadian, and you’re Canadian, so… That’s kind of the cross-over there.
Yeah, I think I brought up Hawaii, or something, and you guys all pointed out he was also Canadian, and then we did a deep dive into his Wikipedia page.
It was a deep dive…
Right, and that led us to talk about many things, but to short-version it, essentially we got back to Keanu and roles like John Wick… And I think that’s when we started talking about our love for maybe him as an actor - I’m not really sure - in maybe the Matrix, but definitely about this very cool series called John Wick, which is now three chapters in. They call them chapters. So that’s essentially how this began - it was a break of the Changelog.
Correct. And it also began because you two were huge fans of John Wick and I had never seen John Wick. I do not consider myself a Keanu fan; I like the guy, I love the Matrix. I don’t recognize the second two Matricees as movies, because they’re just trash, just dumpster fire.
I think Matrices, or Matrixes…?
I couldn’t decide which way to go, so I said Matricees… It should be Matrices or Matrixes. I was wrong either way. But Bill & Ted – I mean, I’ve since learned that the internet is in love with Keanu Reeves, and especially Reddit.
But I’m not the kind of guy who’s like “Oh, Keanu is in a movie? I’m gonna see that movie.” I don’t know if you guys are, like, that big of fans of him, or he’s just okay?
No… I am totally willing to be picky based on what films he’s in. He just happens to have been in some films that I’m a large fan of, whether it’s John Wick, or The Matrix, or Bill & Ted, as you pointed out, so…
I mean, come on…
I’m not gonna disagree with that one.
Never saw it.
I’ve actually never seen Johnny Mnemonic.
The Devil’s Advocate. I’m just randomly saying some of my favorites…
That’s a decent movie. I did like it, because I like Al Pacino.
Yeah, I actually thought The Devil’s Advocate was a surprisingly decent film, although I’ve been criticized for actually owning that film on DVD.
Um, just a friend.
Do you wanna call him out right here?
No, I don’t need to call her out. But I was single for a very long time in my life, so I developed quite a large DVD collection, because it was pre-Netflix… And post-Netflix. But still, I bought a lot of DVDs, and it was like “I love your DVD collection, but why the hell is this in here?” It’s like, “It’s actually a decent film.”
I also used to collect DVDs, and I’m not gonna lie, I can see them from where I’m standing… I have a few regrets over there, that I’m like “You know what - I should just trash that one, because somebody might see it…” But I didn’t think The Devil’s Advocate was that bad. That being said, John Wick was not something that was necessarily on my radar, but both of you guys – I think maybe my intuition is you guys are more action fans than I am. I won’t go see a movie if it’s an action movie. I like a movie like The Matrix, where the action is a complement to a story.
I feel like many action movies it’s all about the action, and the stories are so convoluted, and bad, and there’s bad acting; it’s all just to drive the action, and I don’t enjoy it very much…
Yeah, I’m with you on that.
…which I was surprised and delighted by John Wick Chapter 1, because it’s like “There’s no story.” It’s just like, you know, they killed his dog, and they stole his car.
That is the story!
[04:07] By the way, spoiler alert… If you haven’t seen John Wick one through three, we’re gonna be spoiling the crap out of those.
Yeah. I would definitely say if you plan to watch them, pause this show, or come back to it, put it on your list, go watch them and then come back, as we will definitely spoil things for you.
Yeah. But no, I’m with you, Jerod, I’m not a die-hard action fan. I actually hate over the top action films that have no story… In this case, it was more how they approached the action in the film that really caught my eye. I actually didn’t like John Wick the first time I watched it.
I thought it was mediocre when I came out watching it… And then I kept seeing so many people just rave about it. Then I’ve rewatched it with a different perspective, and that’s when I came to actually enjoy it.
Yeah. I think there’s more to cover in this, I’ve got a couple things… But I also didn’t really care for John Wick when I first heard about it; I didn’t plan to watch it. There’s some history there… Jerod, you might remember a conference called Keep Ruby Weird. Back in 2014 you and I went over to Austin…
Well, in that Alamo Drafthouse theater, while we were waiting for the conference to take off - I think the day before there were open theaters there where we actually saw people watching a movie… And I believe it might be on my Instagram, but I definitely have a picture looking through the circle windows into the theater – because we were not there to watch movies…
And I got a picture of a John Wick scene, because they were watching John Wick. That’s how long ago this was. And at the time, I was like “I’m probably never gonna watch that movie. I don’t like it, I won’t like it…”, kind of like Brett. And I really didn’t like it the first time I watched it either… But whenever I consider the score, which wasn’t really there, but mostly the foley, the sound effects, the cinematography, and their approach towards the action, that’s what really caught me, being reminded how – I’m not really a Keanu fan, but I’m more like a fan of him in those kinds of movies. I think he plays those kinds of roles so well. He’s made for those roles, those action roles, like The Matrix, that require nine months of training just to do a role. I think those are really taking the right attention and the right intention of an actor to accomplish well, and he’s phenomenal at that.
Yeah, there’s definitely a level of dedication… I wouldn’t call it deadpan, but a very kind of straight serious play to the character, I think it plays to his strengths. But for me, when I rewatch it, I watch it from the perspective of the cinematography and how they put it together, and the flow… Honestly, it almost feels like watching the ballet; there’s a dance to it. You can tell they paid attention to the flow of the camera and the action to make sure it was one fluid movement, and that it wasn’t just very much “Oh, guy with gun shoot. Guy with gun shoot.” No, there was intent behind all the action, and all his moves, and all that stuff… And it just makes you kind of appreciate the craft behind it basically, compared to a lot of other action films.
Yeah. It’s funny you say that too, because when you watch the behind the scenes on the different fight scenes and orchestrating that, it’s very much choreography, right? It’s very much like a dance. And they even describe it like “It is a dance”, because they are throwing real punches, but because they know how the choreography is working, they know to dodge it… And there are accidental hits, but… It’s legit fighting, but choreographed.
Yeah. Tom Cruise actually has commented how he actually with his stunt team has had to watch Singing in the Rain and various other old dancing classics to teach them what kind of fluidity they should be looking for in their fight scenes, to try to make sure that they had that kind of understanding of body movement, where their body is in the scene, and how to make sure it all ties together and comes across as one thing.
I didn’t wanna age anybody, but we were talking about our love or lack of love for Keanu as an actor… Going all the way back to 1986, Youngblood. I don’t know if you recall that - it’s got Patrick Swayze in it, it’s got Rob Lowe in it…
No, not at all. It’s actually an ice hockey movie.
Brett, you should know this one perfectly. This is your heritage.
[laughs] Oh, God!
I’ve never even heard of it.
Nice stereotype, Adam. “This is your heritage…!”
Well, I’m not stereotyping; listen to this. It says “A 17-year-old farmboy is offered a nice hockey tryout. His brother drives him to Canada.” Hello, Brett. There you are.
“Hello… There you are, in Canada.”
Well, Canada is all built on hockey, and everybody plays hockey, and you’ve got ice there, and stuff.
I know, I’m giving you a hard time…
Actually, we have two official sports. Ice hockey is the official winter sport, and lacrosse is the official summer sport.
Is that right…?
Uuh. I wish there was more lacrosse around here.
What about the one where you’re pushing the things and you get them really close… What is that called again?
Not a sport.
Not a sport. Talk to a Canadian about that.
It’s a game. It’s an Olympic game, but it’s not a sport. We could have a whole–
Actually, it’s surprisingly hard.
I’m not saying–
I’ve actually screwed up my knee playing it.
I’m not claiming anything about its difficulty, I’m not claiming it’s not awesome. I watch it every time it’s on the Olympics. But I will just go out there on a limb and say it’s not a sport, and I think we could have a whole other show, “Is it a sport or not?” and we could argue about different things. It’s an intense game.
What makes you say it’s not a sport?
We shouldn’t go there–
What is your definition of a sport I think is the key question.
Well, you say it’s a game…
Yes. I’ve had deep conversations on this topic. I’m not gonna–
Oh, my gosh…
Now I need to hear what’s the one-sentence definition of a sport to Jerod Santo.
Well, there’s lots of different ways you can slice that, but let me just say - the closest thing that I have that covers all games and sports the most accurately is if you are extremely advantaged the more fit you get in the activity, then it’s a sport. If not, then it’s not a sport. It could be a very difficult game, and worthy – I mean, I’m not trying to denigrate non-sports; I’m just saying that you have to define it. But shouldn’t go there… We should save it for another Backstage.
Yeah, I was gonna say… Because now we’re getting into the definition of fit here, and does e-sports count as a sport, because that’s a level of fitness in terms of your dexterity…
I would count e-sports.
Okay, so we’re not gonna go there then.
Yeah. I mean, physical dexterity, hand-eye coordination - that’s part of it, yeah. I would count e-sports, some people wouldn’t’… Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say - it’s a huge topic. It’s actually fun to talk about, but…
But by definition alone, according to–
[laughs] You guys won’t let it off here…
I have to push a little further, so just bear with me here… By definition alone it is a sport. It says “An activity involving physical exertion…”, which curling requires; it does require your arm to move, and your body to be positioned, and all that good stuff. Your eyes… It does require a physical motion.
Your arms - it’s surprisingly hard doing that sweeping.
I bet. And extended, it says “…and skill in which an individual or team competes against another, for entertainment.” So by definition alone, Jerod, it’s a sport.
They don’t call it the Olympic Sports, they call it the Olympic Games for a reason.
Regardless, I will totally back you up that watching curling is surprisingly soothing and calming and it’s something you just wanna do on a Sunday.
I enjoy it. I think it’s great. Yeah, anyways…
So ice hockey, Canada - I stereotype, I’m sorry… [laughter] Youngblood…
We’re way outfield. The point is, if it’s not The Mighty Ducks, I don’t care about it.
Which, by the way, is really sad, concerning how long it’s been since the Canadian has really made it to the Stanley Cup, so… Anyway.
You’re not gonna hit me very well with that; I’m right here in the middle of America, we don’t care about hockey very much. I’ll stereotype myself.
No… And I’m in Texas and no one cares about hockey. Absolutely no one. I’m the only one.
We care about hockey enough that when we lose the Stanley Cup in five games we have riots, so…
I bet, yeah. Well, it’s like Friday Night Lights to us here.
The cultures here in Texas are built on the backs of football, for whatever reason. That’s a stereotype, but it’s true.
Yeah, American football. That’s right.
Yeah, American football. So I’m not here, I’m from Pennsylvania, so of course I was a Penguins fan, and I loved Mario Lemieux… Mario, it depends if you’re from Canada.
Here in Nebraska we call him Mario, because we’re boring.
What’s really funny as a side argument - not at all connected to John Wick, but I’ll say it anyways, because we’re talking about hockey here - was I used to mess with somebody from Canada (I won’t say who they are), and I would say that Mario Lemieux is actually from Pittsburgh, and they were so PO-ed, because he was from Quebec…
Or something like that. And I would say “No, he’s from Pittsburgh.” And with whatever evidence they gave me, it was never true. It was always fake new. The original fake news.
If you just say that about Crosby today, that would totally also get the exact same reaction, of Canadians versus Penguins fans…
[laughs] Now you’ve just offended Brett at a deep level… “Who’s Crosby!?”
Mason Crosby, the kicker for the Green Bay Packers, of course.
[laughs] Bringing back to American football. Let’s pop the stack and go back to where we were about three levels ago, which was Youngblood… I don’t know why you brought it up. Oh, because it’s an old Keanu movie.
Was it the first Keanu movie?
It’s not the first. It’s one of the first that I saw. The ones previous to that were One Step Away, Comedy Factory, Letting Go, Night Heat…
What point were you trying to make?
The point I was trying to make was that he has been around for so long and that I’m not trying to be an ageist or invoke ageism here, but I’ve been a Keanu fan for a long time… And so some may say – we may have younger listeners listening to this and thinking like “Why in the heck did they care about Keanu Reeves and why he’s been an actor forever…?”, well, I’ve been watching him for a very long time, so I’m kind of old, is the point I was trying to make.
So you’re trying to just date yourself here.
To some degree, but you know… I wasn’t trying to say just simply on age I like the guy, but I’ve been watching him for a long time… Because even after Youngblood - you know, many years later you’ve got River’s Edge, which was… Meh, whatever. You’ve got Bram Stoker’s Dracula…
He was in that?!
…you’ve got Bill & Ted’s Adventure, of course…
Yeah. God, I forgot about that…
Yeah. What’s interesting is there was some Q&A with the actors of Chapter 3 - Parabellum, where you’ve got Halle Berry and others responding to questions from the interview, for a lack of better terms… They were from IMDb. And they asked a question “How many credits do you think Keanu has as an actor on IMDb?” They were all guessing. And when they said the number, at the time it was like 89. Well, now it’s 104. And they couldn’t believe it. That’s so much. It’s such an accomplishment as an actor to have that many credits in IMDb.
I don’t think he’s actually that great of an actor. I know maybe that’s blasphemous to say. I think he’s great in John Wick, and I completely agree with you, his gunplay, his physical – you know he understand these things, and he’s trained like crazy.
To me, he’ll always be that surfer, like “Whoaaaa…!” The reason why he shines in John Wick is because it’s mostly physical acting, and he has very few lines. I mean, he doesn’t say all that much, and he plays it – I think you said deadpan, or kind of like straight… He’ll say one-word responses to things. And I think that really plays to Keanu’s strength, because I think he’s much better in the physical world than he is at portraying different emotions.
The thing about The Matrix, why he fit so well there, was because a guy for whom all these weird things were happening to him, and he had to just be like “What do I do…?!” And that’s, I think, kind of what Keanu Reeves does. That being said, he’s spectacular in these films.
Well, that plays well to a trademark he is known for, which is intense, contemplative gaze. [laughter]
The quiet loner thinking in the corner.
So as an actor, he’s not known for fantastically delivering a line, like “You can’t handle the truth!” or something like that. Or something like Al Pacino from Devil’s Advocate might have delivered.
“I’m a fan of man!”, he said.
This is good. You should do more of these.
Yeah, I do these… So, long story short - breaks in the Changelog are entertaining. Sorry we don’t release them. But sometimes they produce shows like this, and I would even say friendships. I felt like – gosh, the first time we had Brett on the show, that was a four-hour recording, and of that maybe it was an hour and ten minutes of actual produced audio for this show. So at least two hours it was –
We bonded over Keanu Reeves is what we’re saying here.
Yeah. It was intense.
And now we’re here to – and then we just started gorging ourselves on his films. Basically, what happened here was that the two of you – because I had seen none of the John Wicks until this summer. I have since watched all three, almost back to back to back…
…kind of because of this. I mean, I guess not even kind of; it was because we were gonna do a show…
Exactly because of this.
…and I liked the idea, like “Hey, I’m gonna watch these movies and talk about them. That sounds awesome.” But the two of you were already sold at this point, and were like buying the BluRays, or the 4Ks… You guys are kind of more film nerds than myself, or at least video files. I know Adam has an awesome home theater set up. Brett, are you in a similar circumstance?
I am within espousal restraint. I have a 4K TV, I have a soundbar with rear speakers, because my wife has a very stiff no-wires-stringing-across-the-floor requirement.
I am with her on that, yeah.
So I don’t have huge standing speakers, much like you can see behind Adam in the video feed… But I have a Sonos soundbar and the Play1s at the back for surround sound. I have a 55-inch, 4K, with ultra high def support… I have a Xbox 1 for the BluRay, ChromeCast Ultra, that kind of thing. So I get into it as much as my loving wife will let me get into it.
And Stac, you are all in.
Well, when I was 18 I used to read Crutchfield magazines for fun…
Mm-hm. Same here.
…so I’d learn about audio. That’s how I learned all I know about home theaters, speakers, audio… So I guess as a podcaster it’s kind of interesting to look back at that, because those were my early days of loving audio-related technologies, and learning about that stuff. I can remember dreaming, a long, long time ago when I was 18, this home theater I would have… And at the time it was way expensive. Now it’s a lot less expensive. But I think at the time it might have been like maybe $18,000 or $20,000 for the stuff I wanted, as an 18-year-old; so it was quite expensive.
Yeah, I always had the dream A/V setup at home that I had at the back of my head… And then when I finally started to be able to afford stuff, dreaming like “Okay, what can I afford and what do I actually want?”, I got to the point where I actually bought a roll of string just to properly measure the optimal viewing distance based on screen size for the resolution of the screen at one point…
…as a justification to my wife to let me get a bigger TV. It’s like, “Look, sweetie, we’re this many centimeters away from the screen. Optimally, we can watch up to this size. The room can handle it”, and then, of course, her answer is, “No, that will dominate the room. Forget it.”
Yeah… TVs do.
They do. They can.
I used to be with you guys. I have been a surround sound guy, I used to have – I remember when I graduated from high school I went and I got my first college apartment; I got this big Sony Vaio 36-inch CRT; back in the day it was the best TV you could buy that wasn’t a projection… And it was also 250 pounds. I think it was actually the heaviest television that Sony made in history, because after that the flatscreen revolution started… But it was the last CRT.
And I moved five times while I was in college, so I moved that TV five times. It was… Terrible.
[20:09] But yeah, surround, 5.1, Atmos… I care about all those things. And then, the older I got, I’ve kind of like – maybe I’m retired, or I think maybe the internet broke me, like watching YouTube on my phone now, or whatever it is… I just can’t bring myself – like, that being said, when I went to Adam’s house and sat and watched… What did we watch? A scene from…
It was The Matrix.
And I’m sitting there like…
And we ended up watching the rest of it.
“This is amazing!”
But I just don’t have the patience, the setup, all that stuff to care that much. So I watch these movies on my laptop, and I think some of that colors my experience, because I didn’t get the full experience. I watched it on an airplane…
It’s like hearing the best soundtrack ever through, like, headphones.
…in a hotel room.
Headphones aren’t terrible. It’s actually the visuals that are worse.
I mean… Yeah.
It’s like the headphones you probably have on, compared to using the headphones that came with your Android phone, or your iPhone, or whatever. They’re very different.
Well, in this case I was actually wearing these, because I brought them with me. So I had my big Sonys on.
So it sounded good.
Okay, so audio-wise it’s pretty good then.
But the video is like… You know, it’s a 13-inch screen, and you’re on an airplane, sitting next to somebody who’s breathing on you, and all that kind of stuff. So I had that going on.
Well, since you guys gave your histories here, at least audio-wise - like, because of my, y’know, 18-year-old self wanting to always have this, when we built our house in 2017 we were lucky enough to have an option to add a room upstairs that could be basically set up for a theater… And it was so inexpensive to do when we built the house, I’m like “Yeah, sure.”
Pre-wired, so no wires on the floor, no wires on the ceiling… Already pre-wired for 7.1. Or I think actually 9.1.
So it was already set up. One wall at the end of the room is projectable, meaning you can put something on that. It’s one big wall, so it just made sense to put a projector in and then put seven speakers in the ceiling, and put a sub in the room, and call it a theater. And that’s kind of what it is. There’s no sconce in the wall, there’s nothing. There’s no theater curtains or anything special that makes it the theater room; it’s just a room with a projector, with awesome speakers, and there you go.
No accoutrement, it’s straight and to the point.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, we could do more, and we will do more eventually, but like most people when they build their houses or do something like they move into a house, it’s phased. So phase one was move in. Phase two was enjoy it. Phase three was put a theater in it.
I totally understand. We bought our place in December of 2017, so we haven’t quite hit two years… So there’s still a list of stuff we planned to do when we first moved in, that we’re slowly still chipping away.
This is definitely fodder for those wanting to hear more about our love for John Wick, one two or three. That sort of sets a scene of our experience levels of how we watch the movie. I obviously watched all three of them in my theater; Brett - your makeshift theater with the wired, or I guess wireless surround speakers that you said you have…? And Jerod, you were on a laptop, with headphones on.
Yeah. And I watched them all in the theater, and then I subsequently bought them and rewatched them all at home.
Okay, so you did have the theater experience then.
Good. And you own all three, Brett?
Oh, yeah. I bought all of them on 4K…
…honestly, in prep for this show.
Awesome. I wish I would have seen them in the theater. That would have been an optimal experience, because they’re so visual… It’s mostly eye candy. Let me just first say that I love all three of these movies, so anything that I say beyond this point is nitpicking, and all that kind of stuff. These are all good. I don’t think I’m in the minority there. These are movies that have done very well, they’ve obviously spawned multiple – you don’t make sequels when the first movie doesn’t do well.
[23:58] The quality is absolutely there, and the thing that I love about it, which I kind of kicked off from the start, is John Wick I - it just doesn’t pull any punches; it doesn’t try to deceive you into some plotline that ends up being unsatisfying. It’s just like “Look, here’s a guy, and he gets wronged.” He’s in pain because of the death of his wife, and you can tell there’s a history there, but we don’t know what the history is… And then these people steal his car and kill his dog, and now he’s gonna kill every single person that has anything to do with them.
That’s the plot, and it just tells you that kind of right up in the first 15-20 minutes. After watching the second two films, I realized “Man, John Wick I doesn’t actually have action for a while”, because it is kind of establishing it, whereas the other two kind of start right in the middle of it. I think that’s the advantage of sequels, they can do that. But it just doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not, and you’re just like “Okay, I’m not expecting very much here besides awesome action”, and then it delivers on that. So that’s what I loved about John Wick I.
Yeah. I feel like the beginning of the film is setting up his simple life, and then when people start to trample on it, he rage-quits it and goes back to just going nuts.
And yeah, it just acts as a McGuffin to just explain why the hell we get to watch Keanu Reeves just look very stoic and serious while he just pops people in the head left, right and center.
And my favorite moment in that movie is when they describe what’s going on to the guy on the phone, the boss man.
Right. I know this… Say it.
And he’s just like “I killed the guy’s dog” or whatever, and he’s like – I mean, I’m obviously paraphrasing… “Why is all this happening?”, because he stole a car. And he’s like “It was John Wick’s car.” He’s like “Oh…” Like, that oh moment was when I was like “Okay, this is gonna be awesome.”
I recall that moment. It was less like “Oh…!” and more like “Oh.”
And he hung up right afterwards.
And then who was the character that played that actor that you’re speaking of, that was talking to him? Geez, what was his name…?
The chop shop guy?
Oh, John Leguizamo?
Yeah, John Leguizamo.
Yeah. Aurelio was the character, and Aurelio was who was calling Viggo. Victor. Was it Victor/Viggo? I’m looking up the characters now… Yeah, Viggo Tarasov. This is IMDb, not me; I don’t have that great of a memory, and I’m not that much of a fan, but you know… He was talking to him and he’s like “Oh.” Then he just hung up, and that’s when everything kind of kicked off. Basically, it was trying to paint the picture “You don’t mess with John Wick. And if you do, you wish you didn’t.”
And there was no allusion whatsoever at any point in John Wick I, really in any of them, but especially in one, that he was in any trouble whatsoever. And you’d think maybe that would remove some of the drama, like “Is he gonna make it? Is he gonna kill everybody?” I was just like “No, he’s just gonna kill everybody.”
Yeah, you know he’ll make it through somehow.
I never thought John Wick was actually in any danger whatsoever.
Even when facing like six or seven people.
Yeah, it just didn’t matter. He was gonna win. Some of that is because I knew II and III existed, so that kind of ruins it, right? Like, maybe he’ll die somehow. But I think even without that, if I would have seen it in the theaters in the original time, just the way they all reacted, like “The bogeyman. Oh, this is trouble.” It was just kind of like “Yup, he’s just gonna destroy everybody.” [laughs]
And that same character, Viggo, says this in the movie - he says “John is a man of focus. Commitment. Sheer will.” That’s the quote for John, that’s who he is. He’s a man of focus, commitment, sheer will… And you don’t mess with him, because if you’re on his wrong side, he will focus, he will commit and he will kill.
And he will do it with a pencil.
We’re a PG-13 show, so I can’t say the direct quote… But with a pencil is definitely a part of that line.
Oh, man… They drink a lot in this movie, right? When they’re angry, or frustrated, or whatever… They’re always drinking. So much drinking.
There is a decent amount of alcohol sitting around on…
…on tables and such, yeah.
Yes. Obviously, a lot of killing too, because that’s just part of the movie… In three there’s so much killing. That’s actually what I thought about the whole time I was watching, I was like “Everybody is just dying. He’s killing everybody.” There’s nobody he encounters… It’s like one or two people, he’s like – I forget what the person’s name is; he comes up behind him… I think this might be two, actually; I’m pretty sure it’s two. He comes up behind him and he says “Hey, how are you doing?” He’s got the gun to his head. “Hey, how’s the family?” Something like that. “You should take a break.” He’s like “I’ll take a break, John.” And then he goes inside and kills everybody. But that guy gets away for some reason, which is kind of interesting.
Oh, well that was in one. That was when he walked up behind the bodyguard at the night club.
Yeah, that’s what it was.
And he was talking about how he’d lost some weight, and looked good…
That’s right. “You’ve lost weight, you look good.” That’s right. Good job remembering that. I thought it was two, for some reason.
Two was when you learn that there’s been times in his life where he’s gone up against some assassin and he somehow respects and he wounds them in such a way that either they can die trying to get him, or they can step away and live. I think he does that to Common, or something.
Right, they can save their own lives.
Or stab them in a certain – like, in the aorta, or…
Yeah, like an artery. It’s like, “If you take that hand away to try to defeat me, you’re gonna die. But if you keep your hand there, you can live another day if you leave.”
Yeah. Which is cool. I think that’s an admirable trait as a killer to have, right?
Yeah, it’s like “I don’t have to kill you, and I’m gonna choose not to.”
Yeah, he’s very merciful.
You have to really hate a guy to choose death in order to kill him. Self-preservation is a very strong aspect of human nature… But you’ve gotta really hate a guy to be like “Yeah, I’ll go ahead and die with you, because I’m gonna come after you”, versus “I’ll save myself.”
What’s interesting too about – we can maybe go in an order of some sort, but since we’ve mentioned chapter two, that was where the marker, this idea, and something that’s really interesting, like this underworld rules that they play by and live by. Everyone in this movie, they live sort of like in this subculture of culture called figuratively - I don’t think they ever say this, but the underworld; this sort of different rule set that gangsters almost play by, but it’s like, everyone involved in this… And it’s based in New York City as a movie.
And what’ also interesting is that all three movies take place within the same week to two-week span; it’s not like chapter one was years ago and chapter two was several years later. It was like within a two-week span all three movies take place. But this idea of a marker and some of the rules they play by… I forget the character’s name, but the person who kind of called this marker on this guy; I think it was Riccardo – Santino was his name in the movie… He calls a marker and it’s essentially this really interesting, beautiful, art-based circular object that has a pin in it, and you obviously jab your thumb and you put your own blood market in there, and then the other person that you owe it to puts theirs in there, and then there’s essentially a rule that you can’t break that marker. When called, you have to deliver on whatever they ask you, otherwise you break the rule of this – what’s the name of this underworld? They call it like an assassin’s guild, the High Table… There’s a couple other names they speak of it as, but basically this government, for a lack of better terms, that sort of governs the rules…
Yeah, it’s the high table.
Yeah. That’s really interesting, how they have this subculture of what you can do and what you can’t do, and kind of being called to a marker… Or when you’re in that hotel - I think it’s called The International…
The Continental, yes.
I love that entire idea and concept with The Continental. They played on it in so many different ways. It was one of my favorite tropes of the entire series… Which is one of the reasons why I do think that John Wick II is the strongest of the three.
Hm…! He said it. He said it.
I was waiting for it.
[laughs] I mean, it’s akin to Empire Strikes Back, because first of all, it has the hardest job as a number two. Now, maybe back when they wrote it they didn’t know they were gonna do a third, and I’m sure there’s gonna – I mean, the third sets up a fourth, of course… So now it’s just gonna continue the story, I think, until people quit buying tickets, but…
Yeah, they’re already pre-production on the fourth.
Yeah, I figured as much. I mean, three very much led – the way it ended, you’re just kind of waiting for it. But two begged for chapter three, with the ending of two.
Yes. I believe they had already greenlit both two and three at the same time, so…
Which makes sense, because if you think about the end of Empire, the heroes are losing. And if you think about the end of John Wick II, he is in extreme trouble. In fact, the coolest thing is when they call out the hit, they put a contract out, and it’s like the worldwide group text, this thing goes out… Kind of an old-school dispatcher…
Right. And up until this point we’ve never seen anybody break the rules of the Continental. We don’t know what’s gonna happen to do that.
We did in the first one. We saw somebody break the rules; they kill on consecrated ground.
Yeah, the female assassin that tried to kill him in his hotel room.
Yeah, that’s what I mean.
Yeah, in the first one he goes there, and…
Yeah, Viggo had put the hit on him… Yeah, Ms. Perkins.
So he’s in his hotel room, and the woman tries to kill him, and then his buddy, who you for a while don’t quite know if he’s on his side, or could maybe do something kind of fishy… Played by –
Well, he played in The Wire. He was a really good character in The Wire. That’s what I know him as. His name is Harry. I’m looking at IMDb. I’m not this good, I promise.
Who’s the actor?
Well, that’s who she kills to get out of –
So yeah, that’s who Ms. Perkins kills to get back out, but I’m thinking of – who played Green Goblin from Spiderman?
No, not James Franco.
The first Spiderman, not his son.
Oh, man… I don’t know. Green Goblin… Oh, I know who you’re talking about… They guy with the grin.
Yeah. I’m blanking.
It’s not John Malkovich.
No. He’s a good actor, and unfortunately I’m remembering one of his worst parts…
Here it is, are you ready?
Yeah, so that’s what happens - Willem Dafoe wakes him up; Ms. Perkins wants to kill him, she gives him to the guy from The Wire, who does a great job on that show, and then she kills him to get out… And yeah, at the end of chapter one Winston has her executed somewhere, it looks like Central Park.
Okay, fair enough. I must have just forgot about that; I was overwhelmed by movies.
I think where we were going and what I was trying to explain - I love how they unravel the rules by which this underworld lives… And that’s part of it - you don’t kill on consecrated ground, which these hotels or these different places throughout the world are sort of marked by–
Right, yeah. This is a neutral zone, you come here and talk. And I love even in Chapter 2 when Common and him are on the footstep of The Continental, and they basically…
Break the glass.
…I think they fell in, or something… Yeah, they broke the glass, and…
Yeah, they fall through the glass.
…so they had to stop fighting, because they couldn’t break the rules.
I love that. I love that.
And they went and had a drink.
And they went and had a drink together.
Yeah, that whole–
[35:56] The writing, and the whole underlying story, and the rules… I think that’s really what keeps a storyline like this together. It’s like, you can’t just have action, like you said earlier, Jerod. You can’t just have a storyline. You kind of have to have both. And part of that storyline is these rules that this unique world lives by.
Yeah… Which is why I love Chapter 2. Because Chapter 1 was awesome action, and like I said, it was so barebones. There wasn’t any story there. There wasn’t even really - from my perspective - that much drama. It was just like “Let’s watch Keanu Reeves kill everybody.” And that’s a really fun time.
Well, that’s Chapter 3.
That becomes Chapter 3 as well. But in Chapter 2 the plot thickens. There is more lore, there is more going on that we didn’t realize, and there’s these markers, and there’s this code, and there’s The Continental…
The gold coins we haven’t mentioned yet.
Yeah, and then it just ends with basically every – I mean, just the idea of all of a sudden every assassin in New York City turns on him and is trying to kill him… Like, I had to turn on Chapter 3 as soon as Chapter 2 was over, because that’s how good it was. Like “I’ve gotta see what happens next.”
Right. You binged it.
Yeah. So I love that.
Yeah, it feels like one was filmed without an expectation of a two…
…so the coins and the whole kind of – what you learn is the High Table and their set of rules was kind of a McGuffin to just kind of have this interesting quirk, to give it some kind of uniqueness…
And there was just action, and then - as you said, Jerod - I think in two, when they realized “Oh, we get to make two more films. Let’s build out this world of rules…” I think it’s really interesting, they made sure there’s real cohesion to it. It doesn’t feel like it was just thrown together like in some writing room, like, “Oh, crap, we’ve gotta figure some stuff out.” It was like “Oh, okay”, like they kind of thought this true. It’s like “Okay, it’s gonna be kind of like the mafia; like, if you watch The Sopranos, you can tell they have certain rules they actually kind of follow.
And they say in three, right, “What separates us from the animals? Rules,” or what separates them from being animals…
So it seems like it’s been ingrained in them that there are certain rules - the Continental, and what the coins are for, the beautiful disks that they use for those markers… Then there’s even the sub ones. In three, where he has his tickets from the Belarusian ballet company, that he seemed to be raised as an orphan from to get –
He cashed them in to get safe passage, or something.
Yeah. They branded him in the back to show that he had his ticket pulled, and all that… And the whole High Table, and the Adjudicator with her own special coin, and all that…
It really does seem they’ve really tried to structure this whole rule set of like there really is this almost like sub-government of how things are supposed to function, which I think makes the whole thing have an extra level of interest… Because now you wanna see how these things play out - the inter-relationships, and how these things tie into it. Honestly, that part alone is just kind of interesting to try to deconstruct, how the whole world just functions.
John is really popular too, as a character in this story. I know, sure, it’s called John Wick, and that would make sense, but every single movie, there’s somebody in the movie, a new character introduced that knows him so well through a back-story which you’re not really revealed. I’m thinking of like Chapter 3 when he meets Halle Berry’s character… There’s always some sort of deep, past relationship, good or bad, that everyone has with the main character of Keanu Reeves, John Wick. I think it’s just so wild how they all seem to know this fella so well.
Yeah, he’s infamous.
There’s some sort of history of his.
Well, and it’s interesting too because it’s a mix, as you said. Some of them are not so great, and some of them are more like friendly. As you said, Halle Berry - she does not like him, but he seems to have done something great for her to get her daughter out.
Or the relationship with Doc in Chapter 3, when he gets stabbed in the shoulder near a public library, and he has to go get that sutured up… And he helps him knowing full well that “Alright, you’re gonna have to shoot me to prove to them that I actually didn’t cheat and go past before you were excomunicado”, but he still totally lets him come in, and helps him, and they say things to each other, and there’s very much a cordial respect between them.
[40:15] It definitely seems like there’s a – it goes both ways, where his humanity seems to have previously existed, prior to meeting his wife… But the other points, where it’s like “Oh yeah, he’s a stone-cold killer”, and totally pushed people away because he totally just knocks someone out that they care about.
Right. One thing I think they do a really good job of is making every character have something different and unique or interesting about them. There’s a few just anonymous henchmen that die, of course, but anybody who has that relationship that you’re talking about with John Wick, somehow they all have something about them that’s intriguing… And a lot of times in movies you’ll have these little bit parts, and they’re throw-away parts that are like “Well, that didn’t really add anything. I don’t know that person, and I don’t care. They’re just like, whatever.”
Another movie that does a really good job of this is Minority Report. I don’t know if you guys have seen that one…
If you go back and watch Minority Report and just notice, every single person that Tom Cruise interacts with, that has lines to say, they’ve got something weird or different about them. They’re very interesting people, and I feel like John Wick is similar. Even if you’re gonna get killed within three minutes, or you just have one scene where you’re basically suturing him up and then letting him shoot you a couple times, because once wasn’t good enough, to save your life and send him on his way… Like, that doctor was an interesting character, even though we only saw him for a few minutes.
There’s definitely purposeful world-building in the writing.
Beyond the initial roles, the people who fill this world definitely seem to have (as you said) purpose and something behind them that’s motivating them… They might not go into great detail, but you could totally imagine how that’s an actual thing.
I think another thing about these films that’s really interesting is you can step out of it and think about that character, like Halle Berry’s character, and you can think about what was said, and you can realize that it seems like there’s a rich tapestry to their background, that you can kind of just mentally just expand upon… It’s like “Oh yeah, I bet this happened, and that happened. She’s that kind of person”, and all that… Versus just like “Oh yeah, he just met a lady with dogs, that led to a cool fight scene.
Yeah. You had some remarks though about the cohesion between two and three in the storyline, because John Wick 1 – it’s just called John Wick; the others are called Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. Chapter 3 has an extension to that Parabellum… But movie on - that’s funny, too; these aren’t actually from a comic or a book, but the very first movie - it was a surprise that it was so well taken. They weren’t planning two and three. I don’t even think they were thinking it would be a great film. I know they knew that, but it’s always – well, not always… In this case it was a surprise with how well these movies were received by the audience. So two and three, I think – it’s kind of interesting, like, did they have the back-story quite so thick, and was it there fully, or did they have an idea of it, and they said “Well, we’ll scratch the surface with one, and then if this movie is blessed, we’ll dig deeper in two and three”?
Yeah, I don’t know. It’d be interesting to know how much they planned out ahead of time. “We’ll write out one, with a plan for two.” I mean, Star Wars is a perfect example. It’s called Episode IV for a reason. George Lucas wrote that whole back-story that became episodes I, II and III as an outline for the world-building, so that when episode IV was made, he had the back-story in mind, so that the cohesion was there.
I have no clue if they did this with John Wick, but if they did, they’ve definitely done a good job carrying that forward, so that it does at least give off that feeling that there was that kind of predetermined or preplanned cohesion to have it carried forward.
Yeah. At some point I wanna play favorite character/favorite scene kind of thing…
But there’s more to go through… Let’s not back from that, because I think there’s some favorite characters I have, I’d love to say who they are and why, and then a few scenes that really stand out to me, so… Let’s earmark that.
Sure, absolutely. I would like to talk about the action itself a little bit, because I think when you have no story, like John Wick 1 - relatively no story - the action has to be a cut above for it to be a theatrical success. I don’t know if it was a critical success or not. I know it’s a 7.4 on IMBd, which is not the critics, that’s the peoples… Which is a pretty decent score, but not amazing.
Yeah. Anything above a 7 I consider reasonable.
Yeah, exactly. But the action is so compelling, and I was trying to think about why that is. There’s this combination of, like I said, he’s kind of indestructible… He’s going to win, so that’s fantastical; one man versus six is going to lose, in reality… Right? Versus all of these people. You’re not gonna beat–
His focus on accuracy is beyond reproach, right? That’s just totally–
Exactly, it’s totally unbelievable. That being said, the action is very much grounded in reality. Point in case, the dude reloads on a regular basis. And in most action films, they’re just sho-shooting non-stop. He actually integrates the reloading into his moves, which is really cool… So there’s like this believableness to the world, in terms of like it feels kind of real, and he’s like a guy that maybe exists. You know, he’s not a Superman, but he is a Superman. There’s just really a neat kind of dichotomy.
Yeah. To play off that - he never misses; he’s hyper-accurate. He seems to be able to take punches really well and come out fine, and not amazingly get concussions every ten minutes… But he does play the part of like “Okay, you know what? If I shoot someone in the stomach or the chest, they might still live and pull a gun on me and still shoot me, so I’m gonna walk up to every person I see and double-tap them in the head twice”, which is a rule we all know from Zombieland, by the way…
That’s right. Double Tap.
Double Tap. And he does that, right? Because it makes sense. Going back to the dance and the ballet, he actually goes like “Okay, I’m dealing with a person, so I’ve gotta take a move to neutralize them. There’s a person coming towards me, so I’ve gotta deal with them…” There’s always like “How do I neutralize the current situation, and then how do I make the situation permanent, so that they don’t come after me later on?” And it is very grounded in that, because…
Yeah, it really is.
…if you still have enough behind you to still grab a gun from somewhere and shoot him in the back when he’s not looking, that’s a problem. So he makes sure everyone is down permanently, and just always does what he has to to make the situation least lethal to him, and then just continues to work on that until the whole situation is cleared out. It does add a nice level of grounding to it.
It totally does. Just the fact that one shot doesn’t kill everybody.
A blind action movie is like “I hit them, they’re done”, where it’s like “That guy is still alive.” And in fact, lots of times he’s gotta hit people multiple times, and like you said, he always double-checks at the end.
Honestly, now that I think about it, the only kill I can remember in all those films was the dramatic one at the end of two, in the Continental, where he does it almost point blank - no farther than the distance to the table - to a guy in the forehead, and that’s it.
Yeah, execution style.
Yeah, exactly. Everything else is a double tap, at least, if not more. Even in three, where the guys are all fulled up in bulletproof armor, head-to-toe - he shoots them in the neck, and it’s not just once, because he can’t see them. He shoots them at least two, if not four times. There’s a definitely level of methodical thought put behind what he does, which seems very grounded, in like – I mean, yeah, if you were in that situation and we could actually all be that calm about it, you would think through “How do I make sure this person is actually down and out, and not gonna come after me later?”
[48:08] And I’m not a gun guy, but I have friends who are enthusiasts with guns, and these movies have a lot of respect among gun enthusiasts and people who are tactically trained, and handle guns on a regular basis and know how to take them apart and put them together, and all those kinds of things. They all respect - when I say “they all”, the ones with whom I’ve… I don’t wanna get global.
How big is this audience?
Millions of people. No, I mean – my friends who are enthusiasts, they love these movies, and they love them because there’s a reality to the gunplay.
Yeah. If you go online, you can actually find videos of Keanu Reeves training for these films. And he talks about how he gets trained from professional people, who have shown him, as you said, how does he integrate the reloading, and all those movements… Those are done by some real people, in real life. And you see him at shooting ranges, really going through the motions, with shotguns and handguns…
I mean, to even get more precise, he actually holds the gun close to him so he can look down the sight. It’s none of this sideways gangster bunk that you see in other films, and somehow they still manage to hit people. No, he actually seems to actually be taking aim, with the gun, at the stuntperson, to make sure it looks realistic… And it all seems to be grounded in how people actually work with firearms in those actual situations.
So yeah, I’ve heard the same thing. People who are into guns actually respect this movie. Or into self-defense, and this level of stuff.
They actually respect the motions that he puts in, and the accuracy to it all. They seem to have really done their homework.
I can’t believe we got this far without saying Baba Yaga.
Brett said it.
I said it way early on.
Way early on?
I wasn’t sure if it was actually said, okay. I know you said bogeyman, but I wasn’t sure if you said – because that’s…
…a quintessential thing that…
He said it under his breath.
Yeah, similar to excommunicado. There’s a couple lines or a couple words being said that are like – I mean, what’s excommunicado, Italian?
Non-mainstream, but… Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Not everybody says excommunicado. They might say excommunicated, or something like that.
Does anyone know where Parabellum is from? Is that Latin?
It is Latin, yeah. It means “prepare for war.”
Yeah, I picked up on that when I watched John Wick 3 this morning, in preparation for this.
Because I’d only seen it once previously in the theater, and then…
That was a while ago.
Yeah. And then it came out on 4K and I got it, but I got it while I was over in what is currently considered Europe…
Well, because I was in England at the time, so… This is being recorded pre-Brexit. And then I got home, but then I got sick, so I hadn’t had a chance to watch it, so I just forced myself to have the time for it. Anyway…
You have more willpower than I do, because I organized a watch party for the very day Chapter 3 came out. It came in the mail three hours before we watched it, and had people over… It was a planned thing, all that good stuff. It was on the calendar weeks in advance, knowing when the movie would arrive. Thank you, Amazon, for being so good with that, by the way… Because if they didn’t deliver the movie…
It would have been a weird party.
…no watch party would have happened. Yeah. [laughs]
You would have watched part two all over again.
Yeah, I would have just watched part two instead.
That’s right. You could have watched a better film. Oohhh…!
I have some issues with Chapter 3.
I was gonna say, Jerod has something he wants to share.
I’ve got issues with Chapter 3. I agree with you, Brett, that they do a good job of the continuity of the lore of the world, and the building. The actual details of the high order, and just the extreme levels of which this sub-government operates…
You’re mixing stories. The High Table.
What did I say, the High Order?
The High Order. You’re mixing Star Wars up with this.
Yeah. The Rebel Alliance was a bridge too far… No, um–
It just got a little bit –
[52:03] It moved from intriguing to somewhat convoluted. It’s like borderline convoluted. I don’t think they’ve actually jumped the shark with the story necessarily, with the world-building… There’s just this inkling of like “Hmm…”
They were pushing the envelope with that, I will agree.
They were pushing the envelope, but really what got me with Chapter 3 was the groundedness was kind of like “You know what? We’re kind of done with that. We’ve been playing with this like”, not this could actually happen, but they’re basically just like “We’re gonna go full crazy.”
The other thing about the reality is when he makes all of his moves, especially in chapters one and two, they make sense. Everything he does is like “Yeah, that’s the best thing to have done there.” I would never have done it differently as a layman, or even as a trained man. That makes the most sense. He did things in Chapter 3 that I could tell were simply in order to provide an opportunity for a cooler scene next, that just – I couldn’t suspend my disbelief any further; I’m like “Meh…”
It felt a little forced.
Yeah, like when they were in the antique knife shop - which was a cool setup; I’m fine with that - and it’s like, people are running in with guns, or sometimes with knives, but he’ll steal a gun, shoot a guy with a gun, and then drop the gun and kill the next guy with a knife…
That actually drove me nuts. That specific scene did drive me bonkers… And he left that building with nothing.
Yeah. What are you doing, man?!
It’s like, how do you not pick up at least one of the dead person’s handguns if you don’t want the old, antique six-shooter.
You are running from these people, you should leave armed somehow. That did bother me, that scene.
Absolutely. And he spends all this–
He left there unarmed?
Because they had to set up the horse scene, because the horse scene was next. And if he went into the horse barn with a gun, he wouldn’t use a horse to kick the guy in the face… So it was like, bad decisions by John Wick - which he never makes bad decisions, and now I’ve disappointed in him - because they needed to drive the next scene. And that’s where I started to disconnect from the movie and start thinking about how they make the movie. I don’t wanna be thinking about how they’re making the movie while I’m watching it.
Just stuff like that, where I’m like “Yeah…” Because the horse scene was, admittedly – it was corny, but it was cool. But they couldn’t have done that if he walked in there loaded with weapons, you know?
Yes. So my one issue I had with Chapter 2 versus 1 and 3 was Chapter 1 - I know we all joke it’s all about his car and his dog, but obviously it was more about the connection to his now passed wife.
Two seemed to be more about “I’m just pissed I’ve been pulled back into this world”, and then three once again went back to revolving around being about his wife. So I do appreciate at least that connection, having that coherency about his story of trying to be like “Okay, I’m doing this for my passed wife.” But two felt like it didn’t have that to it, which I thought was a little odd. From my perspective, that part felt forced.
So I do agree that the setups for the scenes were definitely more forced in three than they were in one and two, but I felt the driving plot story behind two felt a little bit more forced to me.
I think that’s fair. I think you may not have felt that way had three not gone back to his wife…
Because two to me felt like it was happening to him. Like, all of a sudden, he was just reacting, and it was also fast, and I was down with that. But yeah, good point - when it goes back to his wife, it’s kind of like returning to one’s continuity, which makes two kind of stand out a little bit from the other two.
[55:46] And I would totally understand two if they were not planning for a three. It seemed they were basically ending it at two. Then it would have gone like “Okay, we’ve got one. Now we’ve gotta find motivation for two, so now we’re done.” And “Oh, look, we’ve got a third. Well, let’s maybe tie it back to his wife”, versus – there was obviously gonna be a connection from two to three, so it was like… Yeah, it went from “wife, to me, to wife”, instead of some – and maybe they just couldn’t think of a better way to do the flying through… But that was my problem with two - that part of the story felt kind of out of place. It’s like “I’m now the one that’s angry and mad, and now I’m just gonna go kill everyone, because they want me to come back here and be in this world again, and I don’t want to be.”
But then if that’s the driving force, he’s way overdoing this… And then it gets to the end, where it seems like the driving force is “I don’t wanna be part of this anymore, but I’m being forced to.” And then it gets to the end, and it’s like “Oh, well now I’m just gonna make war life really hell, and just totally break one of the cardinal rules of this world, and really throw everything out the window”, versus something else that would lead to him like, I don’t know, watching a guard outside slip up, doing something that would allow him to more walk away, versus his “Lose my patience, and I’m gonna totally overblow it.” And then go into three, where it’s suddenly like “Oh, I overblew it. Now I’ve gotta try to fix the whole thing, so I can be the one who remembers my wife etc.”, which also felt a little stretched… But once again, that’s because of two, because he did this thing knowing full well that he would end up in that situation.
Are you referring to when to when he takes out the guy at the end? Because up until that point in two I didn’t feel like it was about anger/revenge. I felt like it was about him having to follow his blood oath and kill the guy’s sister… And then he puts a hit out on him and everything else was almost self-defense on John Wick’s side. He was reacting to the trouble that was coming at him…
Until he shoots the guy in the head. Then it’s like, yeah, he shouldn’t have done that.
Yeah, exactly. It was very much a reaction to “How do I keep going?” and then at that certain point it was just like “We have a chance to just walk away, and now I’m just gonna lose it!”
You know, he’s been portrayed as this person who’s been more or less calm, until he’s really backed into a corner. At that point he wasn’t backed into a corner, he just had vengeance on his mind.
What made him kill Santino?
He was just pissed at him.
Yeah, that’s the thing…
Didn’t something happen that he did, that was…
Well, he was a d-bag.
Right. Well, he did something…
He deserved it… [laughs]
…against what John and he had kind of agreed on. Didn’t he break a promise to them? Wasn’t there some sort of fair agreement between the two?
Well, he double-crossed him.
Yeah, what was that double-cross?
Well, he had the marker that he used on John to go kill his sister… Because she was the one that got the seat at the High Table…
So he did it. But as soon as he did it…
He put a contract on him.
…he then put a hit out on him.
That’s right, okay.
Which you’re allowed to do in this world, right? You’re allowed to put hits on anybody, but you just can’t do anything while you’re on continental grounds, and…
Yeah, it was that big play on that one. Hitmen can go after hit people and have contracts put out on them. They’re not in any way immune to having hits put on each other.
Which was a brilliant plot mechanism to drive action. I mean, I just loved when all of a sudden – it was almost like in the Matrix, when anybody could become an agent… When Mr. Smith or whoever could just take over anybody. That was so cool in the Matrix. All of a sudden, anybody could be the enemy. Well, this is the exact same concept, with a completely different rule set. All of a sudden, anybody who gets a text message – like, apparently, there’s like thousands of assassins embedded in New York, and they’re all just gonna try to take out John Wick for that seven million bucks.
Yeah. Or are somehow connected to that world. Like, I don’t know if that taxi cab driver in three, when he gives him a coin to take his dog back to the Continental to Charon - I don’t know if he was a hitman or if just taxi drivers know about this underworld and just participate, kind of like the homeless do for the Bowery King.
Yeah. Well, you threw the spade down, Jerod, so I’m gonna have to say it…
What’s the spade?
There’s a fanfiction that…
…that this takes place in the Matrix. Now, I don’t think this has been verified by anybody of substance that’s connected to the film, but I think it’s fun to think in these terms, so let’s do it for just a little bit.
[01:00:07.00] Particularly at the end of chapter one, which - it doesn’t really say Chapter 1, it’s just the first movie… There’s rain so that’s pretty quintessential for a Matrix movie to be rain during a fight scene. That’s also a pretty common theme when there’s fight scenes in action movies, so I’ll let that one slide. But then in Chapter 2, he’s running through the subway and he’s coming down the escalator - and I don’t expect you guys to remember this part, but there was three posters and they all seemed to be like “Get out”, or like the Matrix, there was more to what meets the eye, so to speak.
I didn’t notice that.
And there was messages on these posters in the subway. That’s the extent of it. Chapter 3 - I didn’t see much Matrix-esque type stuff, but–
Well, we’ve gotta say, when Laurence Fishburne showed up, I was like “It is the Matrix!”
Right! It is!
Well, actually in three there is one throwback to the Matrix where they ask if he needs anything, and then Keanu Reeves said “Guns. Lots of guns.”
Oh, yeah. “Lots of guns.” That definitely is a throwback.
They were definitely playing with it, I’m sure. I’m sure the writers are just having a lot of fun with that… They’re like “Let’s toss some Easter eggs in it, why not.”
Exactly. And I’m sure they’ve read the forum posts as well. I mean…
They’re probably like “Hm, I could probably work something in there…”, but what would you have that would confirm it? They’d have to come out and say “Yes, this is a prequel to The Matrix.”
Yeah, I think you’d need confirmation from the director, or writers, somebody that’s involved in the executive team of creating this film, to say “Yeah.” And since there’s actually a Matrix 4 being talked about or in the works, I would imagine–
It’s in pre-production.
Oh, my goodness, don’t do it…
That would be–
They’re remaking Bill & Ted, too.
Matrix 4 is not a reboot, it is the fourth film in the series. Keanu Reeves is involved, and I believe it’s Lana Wachowski (of the Wachowski siblings) also involved in writing it. So it’s not a complete disconnect. But then again, as you pointed out, two and three are nowhere near as good as the first, so…
I’m still not into it. I was so disappointed, specifically with The Matrix Reloaded. I anticipated that movie – I think I was in high school at the time. I remember the trailer for that, which is a spectacular piece of filmmaking. It’s like two-and-a-half minutes, The Matrix Reloaded… Just jam-packed. With the train scene… Just jam-packed. And then I wait and watch the film, and I’m like “What the crap is going on?” The architect, and this crazy high-falootin’ ridiculous stuff… Anyways.
Yeah. The fight scenes are great, but the connections between the fight scenes are not as great.
It’s like they went crazy… And then the third one was kind of like “Well, here we are, not in the Matrix, and doing our thing”, but… Anyways.
So the premise is that this movie takes place in the Matrix, unknown to the Matrix. So that’s why you have these spectacular fight scenes and these incredible things that happen, and potentially even this underworld that plays by different rules, because it’s such a unique world inside the Matrix. I know you hate these movies, or at least two and three, but I believe in two there was the keymaster, or the keymaker, or whatever… Right?
And the one guy with the girl that was in-between the One, Neo - which is funny - which he had to go through to get to the keymaker/keyman… And just this uniqueness. There’s always some depth to everybody’s story.
No, that’s Ghostbusters. “Are you the gatekeeper? I’m the keymaster…” Rick Moranis?
[01:03:41.06] We might be mixing metaphors here. Well, if that’s the case, maybe we’ll see the continued slide into convolutedness of John Wick, because I think The Matrix Reloaded is quintessential at taking a plotline and just mixing it and matching it, and going deeper and adding lore, to a point where it’s incomprehensible. So I hope that doesn’t happen. But I think it would be cool if at the end of the last John Wick, whatever number that happens to be, he decides to retire and become a computer hacker, and he goes by Neo, you know?
That would be crazy, yeah.
Or is just gonna go become a farmer.
Or – well, I guess you’re right; it couldn’t go the other way. It couldn’t be “Neo turns John Wick.”
Neo turns into John Wick…
No, it’d be the other way.
No, because Neo is self-aware.
It would have to be John Wick to Neo.
Yeah. Or he was one of the previous ones that didn’t quite pull it off, right?
Uuuh, even better, Brett! Yes…!
He’d be a previous Neo.
How many times had they rebuilt the Matrix?
I can’t remember. I think they said at the end of Reloaded that “This is the N-th time we’ve built this for you.”
That’s really interesting. Is it time to play “favorite character/favorite scene”? And I’m gonna add one more - favorite weapon.
I’m for it.
I’m ready. Go ahead, Adam.
That’s not John Wick.
Well, obviously – let’s just put John Wick on top. Let’s say that’s the honorary top of all of our lists, and we can’t say John. So John aside, I really liked – let’s go movie-by-movie. I looked at the list here real quick…
I have one that actually transcends all three…
Because I really like Charon, the concierge at The Continental New York.
Okay, you’re right. Yeah.
Yeah, he’s awesome.
Also in The Wire.
Because that actor did a great job. Yeah, there’s a lot of Wire people. By the way, The Wire is excellent for anyone who actually listens to this and has not seen it.
A hundred percent.
The Wire. It’s up there with The Sopranos.
Charon’s character’s name is Lance Reddick, for those who don’t know. I’ll agree with that one, I’ll touché you on that one.
Yeah, the actor does a great job. The character is played very well, it has a nice continuity in the story… Yeah, it’s just a great little side-character that’s there consistently, that’s just done well.
I’ve got some answers then… So for number one, Viggo. For Chapter 2 I would say Ares; Ruby Rose is her real name.
Oh, the beaut.
Yeah. And then in 3 I would just say The Adjudicator. Asia Kate Dillon. Surprisingly did really well with that role. I loved her play of that character. I think that would exactly be how I would imagine an Adjudicator.
Yeah, something that’s like above reproach.
Yeah. She seemed very rules-based, very “You don’t break the laws, and if you do, you pay”, very precise.
She’s another one where I was like “Someone should just shoot her in the back of the head.” If I were Laurence Fishburne’s character, instead of letting her slash me up, I’d be like “Look, I’ve got a bunch of homeless people with guns. Somebody just take her out.” But maybe she’s invincible, or something. I don’t know.
I think it’s one of those if you do that, he would just assume they’d all come after him at once.
Yeah… Which is probably true.
And he’s not John Wick, so he probably knows he won’t make it.
Mm-hm. What about you, Jerod?
Yeah, it’s a good question. I don’t think I can go film-by-film. I think I have a transcender. I think Winston is the man. I love that actor. He plays a mastermind, and just like the ultimate cool.
He’s a schemer.
And then we find out – yeah, as he goes along, it’s like “Okay, he’s gotten to this place because he is a schemer.” He’s always got something up his sleeve, and I really like that about him.
Very much looking out for himself… Which you don’t realize.
[01:07:51.09] Well, it also showed some interesting back-story of how long he’s owned that hotel, too. I love the depth of how long he’s been there, and how they’re gonna try and take it away from him in Chapter 3, and how he wouldn’t let that happen because of all these different things… I love that sort of grit in that character. And yeah, the scene in Chapter 3 when he’s in the vault, and everyone else is going out and killing, he’s sitting there, drinking brandy… Come on, really?! And he’s still just sitting there when John comes back to reload and get more weapons - as you said earlier, to the realness of John’s character…
He comes back for more weapons?
Yeah. The shotgun… Please, somebody mention the shotgun. Anyways, that’s favorite weapon; that’s coming up. Continue, Jerod.
Oh, and… Do they call him a sommelier in Chapter 2, at The Continental…?
Oh, yeah… Who loaded him up with guns?
Oh, is he the sommelier? Of course. Always.
For a tasting? Yeah…
I loved – that whole metaphor of like these different service providers… I love it.
Right. “We’ll be needing room service. Yes, I will need room service.”
Conceptually, The Continental thing was my favorite concept. They did it so well, integrating it into the world. It was so cool. It’s like the kind of place you’re like “I would love to go there”, and then go see the sommelier. Especially because they couldn’t kill me while I’m there, so I’d be okay.
So Winston for you. Who else?
I’m waiting for someone to do that for an amusement park, or something.
Yeah, exactly. Who else do I like?
Yeah. You got Winston. Who else?
I’m with Brett, I like the concierge guy as well. That’s probably it.
That’s it? Two. You’ve got three.
I can pick three favorites?
I’m not used to this game. Usually, I’m picking one favorite.
It’s like wishes, man. It’s the genie. You get three.
Okay. I also like the guy at the beginning of Chapter 2, the boss man. The Russian?
The one that runs the taxi service? Which boss man?
Yes, the one who drinks with him.
The one he lets go, yeah.
Yeah. I like him as well. I like that actor, so… When I see him in a film, I’m like “Oh yeah, that guy’s cool.”
John Leguizamo did a good job.
He didn’t have that much to work with, he didn’t have that many scenes, but I always like John Leguizamo. He’s awesome.
Yeah, he’s just a fun little character.
My favorite reveal I think, because I knew the back-story of the forum talk with The Matrix – I didn’t know Laurence Fishburne was in these movies… So when I saw him, I was like “Oh, that’s why they’re all talking about The Matrix.” So I did enjoy that moment. Cool character.
I haven’t quite figured out the back-story of that Bowery King character. Like, why are all these people playing homeless people? Are they actually homeless, or are they just playing that on the street as part of the network?
They’re playing it…
But they’re always dressed like that? They’re too lazy to put on jumpers? I don’t know…
It’s similar to, I would say, the Game of Thrones when the – I forget the character’s name, but he called them his little birds… It’s similar to that, like spies.
Oh…! His nickname is the Spider. It’s not coming to me. Bald.
The bad guy?
Well, he’s also castrated. He’s the eunuch…
I haven’t seen Game of Thrones, so I’m of no use here.
You’ve never seen it?
Are you going to?
I don’t think so.
Just so you know, you’ve gotta watch the entire first season, maybe a little bit of the second before you really get hooked.
It’s a slow start. So if you’ve only watched the first two or three episodes, I’m not shocked you’re not into it.
I watched episode one, and again, on a plane… And when the incest scene, and I was on a plane - I just bowed out.
You’ve gotta watch all the way into season two. That’s when you get hooked.
That’s a lot. The same way with Breaking Bad. I mean, Breaking Bad, I didn’t get into it till like – it was earlier than that. Maybe episode four. But Breaking Bad was like a slow burn, and then it was just like a rocket ship. I loved Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad is totally worth it.
[01:11:57.26] Yeah, absolutely. So what’s the other thing, favorite weapon? Or favorite scene…
Let me add one more favorite character, if you don’t mind…
[laughs] Adam’s breaking all the rules there.
I was gonna say, I think this three favorite rule really just does not apply. [laughter]
Okay, so there’s a runner-up. Halle Berry has to be one, because – I mean, I didn’t expect her in the third film, and she just did a great job, for the reasons I’ll not express… But I would say that the person who played Zero, which was the final character that he killed… The samurai, you might describe him visually as, in Chapter 3.
The one who was a huge fan of his?
Yeah, I forgot about that guy. I love that guy.
Yeah, I loved the back-and-forth between those two… How there was just a lot of sarcasm, a lot of reverence, and humor even, between the two characters. I think it was pretty cool. “No one gets to kill you besides me.” That was cool.
“Just give me a second, let me catch my breath.”
That’s akin to the fight scene – that was the fight scene when John and that character fell into the hot tub, and the character tries to shoot him, and the bullets can’t get to him. So John comes up real close and double-taps him right in the head. So that’s the other one, I would say, is Zero, from the last movie… Which is the final battle, so to speak. Unless there’s a four. So let’s move on to favorite scene. It doesn’t have to be three. Maybe just a favorite or two.
How about least favorite scene? Because I’m gonna go with when he goes out into the desert to meet the High Order guy.
What was his name…? The Elder.
The Elder. That’s where it’s like hitting in Matrix Reloaded style. It’s like, okay, go out into the desert and pass out, and then the guy will appear… It’s getting a little bit mythical.
Yeah. This Bedouin man out in the middle of nowhere.
Yeah… I was not into that. I mean, the scene was fine; he chopped off his own finger. It’s just that part of the story was, again, like “This is just too far.”
Why would the Elder, the person in charge of all this, be there, in a tent, in the middle of the dessert? It just doesn’t compute.
Plus, the guy who shot the dog, who gives him that information - like, if some guy just told you “Walk into the dessert until you can’t walk any further… And then walk further.” Like, is that enough information for me to feel confident? Which desert are we talking about? Which direction should I walk? All of that was–
I think at that point he was kind of beyond thinking rationally, and going like “Well, I’m dead if I don’t do something, so I’ll just listen to this crazy thing.”
How did he get to the dessert?
She dropped him off, or something.
Halle Berry drove him out there, and then just gave him a bit of mouthwash.
Well, that would give me some confidence then. If I had a counterpart that felt confident in “the desert”, then I would just walk really far into that dessert.
[laughs] She hated the guy.
The counterpart also obviously did not like him, because she left him with only water she used to rinse her mouth out, so…
Yeah. I did like that scene, but…
And he drank it.
I would have, if I was left in the desert, with nothing but mouthwash…
How did they find him in the desert? How did they know which dune he passed out on? Did they have a GPS on all their assassins and he doesn’t know about it?
Maybe it’s like in his body.
It’s all just satellite photos.
That’s right. That’s true, you have satellites.
And some very advanced machine learning–
In the next film we’ll learn about the technology behind finding people in the John Wick world.
Well, and the way that they dispatch their text messages–
There’s an ML model that can find John Wick anywhere on the planet. They just ran that over the desert…
That’s right, “Where is John Wick?”
…and just saw “Oh, there he is.”
There’s a retro way in which they dispatch those text messages out. It doesn’t give you too much confidence in their technology. It looks like an old switchboard.
Those phosphor-colored, old CRTs, and…
Yeah, it’s almost like steampunk style… Which is cool, but doesn’t make you think “These people have advanced technologies.”
Yeah. Ransomware would totally take them down.
So the least favorite. What’s–
Oh, sorry. Yeah, I had to take one more shot at episode three.
Do you wanna do a second-least favorite, since you’ve already mentioned the horse scene? At least put that in the list of least favorite?
[01:15:57.10] It’s not that I disliked the scene, I just disliked how they convolutedly got there, that’s all. I thought it was cool, when he hits the horse on the butt and it kicks the guy in the face.
When he’s riding the horse, I’m kind of like “Will John Wick really ride a horse?” And then you’re like “Well, he’d do whatever it takes to win.” But he’s cooler than that.
Favorite scene of the whole series - it’s gotta be the last half hour of John Wick 3. Despite it being the weakest in terms of story and execution of the three, the action in that movie is spectacular, and the last half hour, especially when his probably favorite weapon as well is the shotgun…
The siege at The Continental?
The siege, yeah. I should be more specific - pre-fight; not the fight at the end, but the actual protecting of The Continental, with the guys with the increased body armor… And how they go out there the first time, and they’re shooting guys, and they’re getting back up and everything… And he realizes “I’ve gotta shoot these guys right in the face with this shotgun.”
Slightly more accurate, yeah.
And he just starts blowing heads off… It’s just like one after the next after the next… It’s fun to watch. It’s probably my favorite scene.
Mine’s probably honestly the nightclub from the first one. It’s not for nostalgic reasons, that’s the wrong term, but basically because that was the scene that really got me to appreciate these films. It’s just well done, it’s short and to the point, the movements are great, it doesn’t feel convoluted, none of our issues that we have with any of the other films are amassed in that scene…
…and it’s just fun to watch.
Are you talking about on the dancefloor part, or before that, when he’s going after Iosef and his buddies in the pool back there?
That whole section, going through the pool, dealing with that, chasing him out, going up to the top floor of the nightclub and dealing with that. At that point he falls and hits the floor…
Yeah, which I’m surprised he even walked away from that. Like, wouldn’t you break your back if you fell…?
Well, once again, this is where you have to really suspend disbelief. His body can apparently take the most amount of punishment out of any human being in the world. I’m amazed he doesn’t have multiple concussions at this point.
Especially being, like we said before - the time span for which the whole entire series takes place… He takes a lot of beating for two week’s worth of… I mean, I don’t know about you guys, but I would–
Yeah, how does he not pull the muscle, right? I mean, come on…
Right… Well, that’s what was weird about when he had to go to the doctor for that one particular stab.
Yeah, of all the things…
I understand having to go to the doctor, but why is that the one that he had to get stitched up? He’s gotten ripped in like seven different places.
Yeah… Well, he had the stomach stuff that was – he gave him medication for it and said “Take this. You won’t feel anything, but you’ll last. You’ll bleed…” The same doctor did it, too.
Yeah, that was in Chapter 1…
…yeah, the hotel doctor.
So I think there’s probably a lot more injuries where he is getting fixed up, that we’re maybe not aware of, potentially… Either self-fixing, or actual doctors, but…
Well, I don’t know. If you think about it…
There’s just not much time.
Well, in Chapter 2 though he gets that bulletproof suit, right?
Right. Which is super-cool.
…which helps a lot. Because suddenly you’re just getting – Yeah. So you’re getting bruised up and you’re feeling it, but there’s no actual penetration to the body, until that knife scene.
Everything else is like – he’s getting his head bashed against walls, and that’s a bit nuts…
Even early on, when Iosef and his buddies and his goons break into his house, which kicks it all off… This is pre the dog death, pre the car being stolen. We didn’t even mention the dang Mustang yet, but that Mustang was awesome.
Yeah, it was.
So the very first – like, Iosef kicked him in the face way harder than anybody should be able to get kicked in the face. You’d have your nose broken, but all it was was it was just bloody. I would imagine a totally broken face… But not John.
Favorite scene, Adam. You haven’t said your favorite scene yet.
I’ve got two…
By the way, I don’t think they’re gonna allow that to happen to Keanu Reeves’ face, to have him look like he’s got a screwed up face. There might be something in his contract that says “And my face will not look horrible.”
Or the movie studio may have decided that, too. Because I know that’s a thing, where it’s like “We will not let them have a complete messed up face.”
Right. So I’ll start by agreeing with both of you on your scenes. Jerod, I liked the last half hour, specifically the siege at The Continental. I definitely liked the nightclub scene in Chapter 1… Unofficially Chapter 1, of course, as we keep saying. [laughter] Or at least I keep saying. Because that’s how I’m referring to it, as Chapter 1, rather than just saying John Wick. “Well, which one? Which John Wick? Two, three, or one?” So anyways… I’ll agree with those, and I’ll add the mirror scene with the mute areas in Chapter 2. That was super-cool.
In the museum.
Yeah, that was cool.
Both how they fought particularly, and then other characters that he fought. That was just like a mindbender visually and conceptually as a fighting scene… And then I will say specifically the dog scene in Chapter 3. One thing I like about it that adds even more value is that Halle Berry is the one who trained those dogs. In real-life she trained those dogs, and those dogs were like a key character in fight scenes etc. I’ve never seen a movie where you actually have animals –
Wait, you said she trained them herself in real life?
She trained those dogs.
She owns those dogs? They’re her dogs?
Those are her dogs.
Well, I don’t know if they’re her dogs, but…
They probably are now, if she’s the one that’s training them and they listen to her only…
Yeah, I would imagine… I don’t know for sure if they are hers, but I would say that they think they’re hers. [laughs]
They think they’re hers.
Even if she doesn’t own them, y’know? She trained those dogs.
She probably doesn’t have any stalkers stalking around her house, because…
No, definitely not. So mad respect as an actor/actress to be that committed to train, and be able to train dogs.
Well, that’s an indication…
And then the dogs being so compliant with their training to be actors themselves. That’s amazing. I’ve never seen animals used like that in a film… And to be such a critical part to those fights. If you go back, with this knowledge of my liking of that scene, and you say “I’m gonna rewatch this with a new perspective”, as Brett said earlier, going back to Chapter 1, then I think you’ll see what I see.
So how many dogs were killed in the filming of this movie?
Okay, that’s good.
Yeah, and even fake - none of them. Because her dogs were in those bulletproof vests of theirs.
That’s right. Not even any fake dogs died.
Well, technically one.
Yeah, technically one. The motivation in Chapter 1. Daisy.
Which I really think is ironic, given the cult love of these movies, and everything that ensues because of a car being stolen and a dog being killed. That’s pretty wild.
What’s wild? The fact that that’s the kick-off for the entire film series?
Right. That those two simple things. Like, where have you been so upset over– and even Viggo, his character, over a dog…
Well, it goes with what Brett said - the dog was a proxy for his wife. It was the last thing he had that was in connection to his wife.
No, I get that…
And the car was like, just a car…
Something he loved. That is why his wife warns him, life is more than just that car.
Right. So yes, it’s just a dog and a car, but like Brett said, it’s not just a dog…
Or a car. Yeah. To the outside world though, it’s easy to simplify the crux of the movie to be based off of a car being stolen and a dog.
Well, they’ve joked about that in the film too, right?
In Chapter 3 it’s like, “It was over a dog…?!”
“No, it’s not just the dog…!”
“It’s John Wick’s dog.”
So - favorite weapon, for me I would have to say the shotguns at the end.
It’s so hard to say though, because he goes through so many.
In any one scene he goes through like five things.
The shotguns were pretty interesting. They had armor-piercing shotgun shells. To me, that’s pretty wild.
The buckshot, yeah.
I don’t know if that’s true.
And then, after he went back out – they’d both been back out with those shotguns, and they annihilated everyone.
He was standing on top of a crate and shot somebody down to their head with that shotgun.
That’s the weapon that he used the most, where I was like “I would like to try that.” The knives - I don’t wanna try the knives. In fact, those are my least favorite scenes. Maybe I just do not like that style of killing; it’s almost too guttural for me. I can cringe and wince… I can get through it; it’s not like I’m gonna turn it off, but I could do without any of the knife kills, just myself.
So you didn’t love it when he stabs him into the eye.
I mean, I liked the idea, but I don’t like watching it, no.
Yeah, that one - I actually do turn away when that when that scene comes on.
But when he shoots somebody’s head off, it doesn’t make me do that whatsoever, because it maybe just seems so fantastical… Even though it’s probably the way it would actually work out.
Yeah, exactly. No one’s about to do that with something out of my kitchen to me.
Right. So I could do without the knife kills. But favorite weapon - if we’re talking about my favorite weapon, then yeah, the shotgun. I did like the scene in three when he takes that gun apart and puts it together again in order to fit the right bullet.
Yeah, I thought that was really cool. I thought it was really dumb that he immediately discarded it… It’s like “There’s other bullets right there. Grab six of them.” Anyways. But it was cool that they thought of that, and what he did was awesome.
Yeah. And to use the six-shooter in that kind of movie too is pretty cool.
It was just a sweet idea, like “Let’s have him happen upon this antique weapon store”, or museum, or whatever it was… Just completely filled with awesome weapons.
I’m stumped. I mean, the shotguns were cool, and honestly, Keanu Reeves’ motion of how he reloads it is kind of interesting, too. I’d never seen anyone at any point, at least in films, ever reload a gun that way. I don’t know…
I might have one more if you don’t have one.
Go for it. You can have mine.
It’s a pass. I’ll give it back to you if you like it, and you can agree.
So I think the Samurai sword at the end of Chapter 3 was super-cool. After the siege. There were two characters prior to the final character, that I don’t think they had names, but they –
They did not have names… But he did spare their lives.
Right, he did… Which I thought was super-cool. And whenever they’re trying to stab him – like, he also gets blasted through many glass boxes… I can’t believe you can bounce back from that, and get up and not be cut everywhere. But whenever he’s dodging their attacks with the sword, they’re cutting the glass… And I just love the visual of that scene, and the samurai-ness of using those swords. And he’s able to dodge it all. I just like the visual of those swords on the glass.
Maybe they did use safety glass, not just in the film, but actually they assumed they used in real life, because that’s a lot of glass in a room… So that could explain how you wouldn’t get cut.
Yeah, true. Possibly.
It somewhat seems to be bulletproof as well, and I don’t know how bulletproof glass shatters.
That’s true, yeah. Because he went to shoot Zero and he couldn’t.
Yeah. And I don’t know how that works in real life.
That’s interesting to think about. Bulletproof, but not John Wick shatter-proof.
Well, maybe it wasn’t all glass, maybe it was only some of it glass. I don’t know. Because a lot of that was also those cases with those glass skulls.
Yeah. What was that room in The Continental? What was that place?
Well, they just say it was a special room that they used for special occasions…
When you didn’t know what someone brings into it…
It had like levels to it, too.
I wonder where it really is in real life. I don’t know if you noticed, but those billboards in the background in that scene were like perfect product placement for anyone who wanted to pay extra money to have their products show up in John Wick 3. There’s an ad for a watch at some point, where very clearly you could read the brand of the watch, and I was like “I wonder how much that company paid to be in that.”
It was two words… But it wasn’t Patek Philippe, it was something else. Like I said, I’ve just watched it this morning, and that’s why I noticed it. I was like “I’ve never heard of this brand before.”
Yeah. There’s a lot of detail in these movies too, I’ll say that. Having watched them several times, each time I watch them I notice a new detail and a new kind of layer to the storytelling, which is always super-cool.
Actually, when I rewatched Chapter 1 - as I keep saying unofficially, Chapter 1 - it begins with him as the movie ends, as Chapter 1 ends… And you wonder if he gets back up. Because they actually start it off making you think that John Wick will not get back up from a fight… And then he goes back to it, and that’s after that he actually kills Viggo’s character, and he obviously got up. I love that, how they begin that way; it’s like “Will John get up?” Because then it goes from there to the cemetery scene, and then to Willem Dafoe’s character and their little awkward exchange… And then into the movie deeper, of like going to get gas with his awesome car, and then Iosef, and all that stuff.
Well, maybe we finish up here with what we would like to see next from John Wick. We know there’s a Chapter 4 officially - or unofficially; I don’t know what they’re calling it.
It is pre-production. It’s official.
Okay. We prepared for war, so we’ve parabellumed… Chapter 3 ends, I believe - I’ve only seen it once - Laurence Fishburne asked Keanu “Are you mad?” and he’s like “Yes, I’m mad.” So those two are mad, right? Was that the end of it?
Yes. Keanu Reeves falls off the roof of The Continental, disappears, and it turns out that one of the spies for the Bowery King pulls him in, dumps in… And yeah, Laurence Fishburne says “I’m pissed, John. How do you feel?” And he says “I’m mad.” Or “I’m mad, too”, or something along those lines.
Yeah. They’re both mad.
Yeah. That’s where it cuts. Although one of them only has lost a finger at this point… Which, by the way, I have to admit, I was totally shocked they did it in part three, because now Keanu Reeves has to wear a green cover on his left ring finger for the rest of this franchise…
…or something - gloves, or… I don’t know if you two have watched The Handmaid’s Tale; there’s some fake cover to make it look more like a finger.
I haven’t seen that.
But they’re gonna have to use something to deal with that. Otherwise they’re gonna have special effects in almost every scene to make sure they cut that one finger out.
Yeah, I agree with that. And then also just having to now think of John as disfigured in some way, to fight differently. Because obviously, I would imagine that the lack of that one finger would change a bit how you hold things in maneuvers, and maneuverability. It would change you a little bit… Enough to make it where you have to consider it.
Which does tie into Jerod’s complaint about Chapter 3 in terms of believability, because if you were the Elder and you were trying to make John come back into the fold, would you really want to injure your top assassin that you’re bringing back in because of his unique skillset, in such a way that he’s now gonna be less of a–
Yeah, exactly. He’s going to have some issues with some things, potentially. It’s like, is that really the way you want him to show his fealty to you?
It goes back to the desert scene, man… That desert scene.
You know, I’m not sure what to expect from Chapter 4, because I’ve been blown away so far, and they went as far as I thought that they could go already… So I would say if you prepared for war, then I would say the thing after a war of that kind would be an apocalypse. Or at least revenge, because Winston double-crossed him. John was on Winston’s side, and then Winston double-crossed him and threw him off the building, basically… And he survived, and now he’s teamed up with – gosh, what was his name?
The Bowery King. Yeah, I don’t know what his name is.
The Bowery King, but what was his name in The Matrix?
Morpheus. I was gonna say Morpheus to be funny, but obviously I botched that…
Because you know, they’re so paralleled.
[01:32:06.20] You’re still funny. Just in a different way. So I think the happy path - or the obvious path - is those two team up and go after the High Table, and they’re gonna bring the whole system down. That seems like – but I guess I wouldn’t want that to be the story, because it seems like the obvious plot for the next movie.
It is suggested though, because Laurence Fishburne’s character - Morpheus/the Bowery King - does say that he wants to bring this whole thing down. He specifically wants to go after the High Table.
He’s not for it. He didn’t wanna play by their rules. That’s why she sliced him up, because he didn’t comply.
I wouldn’t mind seeing John Wick back on offence. He spent the last two movies basically playing defense for the most part, except for (like we said) when he executed that guy… But a lot was reactionary, trying to save his own life, and in three he’s at the brink…
He’s on the run…
Right. But in John Wick I he was on offense completely, and it would be cool to see him on the offense, planning, getting weaponed up…
Yeah, yeah. Getting a chance to prepare.
Yeah, and have a strategy, like he does in one, and then go and own some fools.
Well, in that case then, I would hate to be Winston, because he’s already shown that he only drinks brandy when the fight scenes happen, so… [laughter] I mean, is he gonna be sitting there, just brandy, and John slices him up, or shoots him up, or whatever? Winston doesn’t stand a chance solo, so…
What I also think happened in Chapter 3 was this whole new sort of unraveling of the depth of the lore and the story - the Adjudicator, and the higher government-esque type ruleset they have in this world. I think we might see maybe another layer to that; maybe there’s one more higher layer than the High Order, I don’t know…
Hmm. The architect…
Higher than the High Table?
I said High Order accidentally… The High Table. Jerod got me jacked up with the High Order.
Maybe there’s an architect to the whole thing.
There’s gonna be a High Chair at the High Table?
An architect, Jerod?
Yeah, maybe there’s an architect to the entire system, ergo, vis-a-vis…
Yeah, played by me.
It should be played by Will Ferrell. That’d be something.
Oh, my gosh…
That’d be a change - John Wick IV is a comedy, starring Will Ferrell. I’d be done. [laughs]
No, I think what would be even better is if – I’ll play with you on that… Will Ferrell, but in a serious role.
Hey, he did a good job in Stranger Than Fiction.
Yeah, he did do a good job in that. That reminds me of Robin Williams playing various serious roles.
He actually played a creepy role one time, didn’t he?
The photograph movie…
What’s that movie?
That’s the one I’m thinking of.
That’s right, and he plays a real creepy guy, doesn’t he?
Yeah. Directed by Mark Romanek.
One Hour Photo. You were 23 hours too long on that.
I can’t remember how long it takes to develop a film. When was the last time I had to do that…? [laughter]
One-hour fitness! Just kidding…
I remember back when it did take 24 hours, and then I remember when it became one hour. Way back… There’s some dating: “I’ve had to go develop film, children…”
There you go. That’s right. Now they don’t even–
Tell us what a Polaroid is… Right, it’d be a Polaroid because of the Outkast song.
Let’s give some homework to the listeners, especially those who’ve listened to this very moment, because that’s a long time… One, thanks for being a super-fan, thanks for listening to Backstage, and then even listening to our back-story here with Brett…
You could have watched one of the movies in this time.
Yeah, I know, right?
This is as long as the movie. We didn’t go super-deep, obviously; we went as deep as we could. This is not an exhaustive take of all three films, but…
I’m exhausted. [laughter] I’m just kidding. Keep going.
Yeah, it’s not an exhaustive take on it, it’s not a comprehensive take on it, so we encourage you to go watch these films and maybe take some of the things we’ve said… I think if I had to rewind, Jerod, I would have done it the way you did it, which was be able to watch all three within a good span of time, rather than over several years… Because if I could have waited and just watched all three at once, I would have definitely binged, like you did, between two and three, because I wouldn’t have wanted to wait.
[01:36:18.24] Yeah. Well, three starts exactly where two leaves off, which I love… And that’s because two leaves off in such a place – like, I wouldn’t have wanted to wait however many years between the two, so…
Which most of us did. Between Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 it was two years. Chapter 1 - unofficially, as I keep saying - there was three. Three years between the first film and the second film, so… Quite a span of time there. I would have done it like you did it, so… Homework for you all listening is watch the films. It’s pretty easy, right?
And if you’ve seen these films and you think we are wrong, or silly, or misinformed, or we’ve made mistakes… I’m sure we’ve made plenty of mistakes…
Oh god, yes…
Or you think I’m an idiot for liking John Wick II the most of the three, or whatever you wanna say, let us know. We’d love to hear from everybody your thoughts on this trilogy.
And I wanna leave everyone with the open question of “How much was this inspired by the Bourne series?” Because there’s another set of films that has its own kind of lore, that I would argue is not quite as coherent, but once again, they’ve made film one, and they weren’t planning to make two and three… Personally, I think it takes a more pragmatic view of the fight scenes, and such. I don’t think it’s quite as good as John Wick, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they take some inspiration from there. Including a lot less talking… Because I know the last Jason Bourne - I believe famously there were only 28 lines for Matt Damon?
Is that with Matt Damon? I know they did one without him even.
Yeah, that was the one with – what’s his face, who plays Hawkeye?
I don’t know his name. Jason something maybe?
Not Jason Statham. It’s the Hawkeye guy.
I’m trying not to type on my keyboard…
I’m just typing. Keep stalling, keep making weird noises…
Anyway… Yeah, so they did do that spin-off to try to grow out the film, but it obviously didn’t take… And I know that’s partially because…
…Jeremy Renner couldn’t, because he got involved in the Mission Impossible films, and the Marvel films, which took up too much of his time… Because they were actually planning to make that spin-off bit actually become its own thing.
I was bummed about that actually, The Bourne Legacy. I like him as an actor and I think he did amazing with that. I think his humor as Hawkeye is really awesome… Like “This is a crazy world we’re living in. I’m the guy with a bow and arrow, and you’ve got a something-or-other!” I love that, about the sort of breaking down the fourth wall.
Have you ever read the comics?
So if you ever read a Hawkeye comic, there was Matt Fraction - he was a comic book writer, and he did a run on Hawkeye, and it’s very much that kind of character, where it’s just like “Yeah, I’m just a guy with a bow and arrow who just has really good aim. I totally get screwed up”, and you see him in the comic totally nursing his wounds - because he’s not the Hulk - and he makes comments like that… It’s like “Oh yeah, I just live in a New York walk-up, in like the Bronx, or Brooklyn, somewhere…” He’s very much just a normal guy who just happens to have an amazing ability to just be very accurate with whatever he has.
Really fast with the bow and arrow. He reloads faster than I can even think about reloading.
But that whole comic is written in that style, being very funny and sarcastic, and kind of to the point, like “Yeah, I definitely have my issues.” It’s worth a read if you’re at all into comics.
I think the problem with the Bourne Legacy - the one with Jeremy Renner - is that it was a box office failure…
That didn’t help either.
So that was like “Man, do we really wanna keep doing this with this guy?”
I don’t think the Bourne Legacy - or even the final one, Jason Bourne - was that good in the box office. I think the first three were–
Because there were three Bournes, and then there was the Jeremy Renner one, and then they did another one with Matt Damon?
Jason Bourne. Yeah.
The final one was called Jason Bourne. Or at least the final so far.
[01:40:20.06] It was the Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum, Legacy, and then just Jason Bourne. And I have to admit I’ve never watched Jason Bourne.
Well, it’s got Tommy Lee Jones in it.
I might have to watch this. 6.6 on IMDb, so…
It’s no fugitive.
Yeah, exactly. I don’t care…!
So the homework for you then, Brett, is – or the question, open-ended question, which we have somewhat closed…
No, leave it open. Open it back up.
Is “Is John Wick based on or influenced by Bourne?”
Yeah, I don’t know. I was just thinking about that and I have no good answer. I’m just curious. I wonder.
It was an open-ended question, so I shouldn’t give my take…
I don’t care…
Well, it’s a stupid take anyway… I was gonna say at least in regards of the zeitgeist influences future works, right?
I guess your question would have to be more specific for it to be answered, like “Are they specifically pulling from themes, or…?”
Yeah. I mean, there’s no way you can not have been influenced–
Because surely, the John Wick writers have probably seen the Bourne films, and were aware of them…
Oh, yeah. I’m just wondering if they saw that go like “I wonder if we can do something like that, but more this or that…”
Yeah, more specifically like…
A similar deep lore storyline…
…what if there was a Bourne, but was this…? That does make you wonder– well, Adam, did you say that John Wick is a comic, or is a book, or something?
It’s not. It’s not a comic or a book.
No, it’s not. It’s original.
That does make me curious about its inception… Like, where did they drum this whole thing up? I’m sure it’s out there somewhere… In the Bourne/Wick series.
That’s right, that’s right. I like the idea of taking a Jason Bourne and saying “How do you take this kind of character (not this character specifically, but this kind of character) and place them in different scenarios?” That’s interesting. It’s almost what John Wick is, to some degree. Invincible, basically.
So similar to Alien vs. Predator, we could have John Wick vs. Jason Bourney, the film.
There you go.
That would be awesome.
Okay, so I’ll answer your question - that’s what I look forward to in Chapter 4.
A Jason Bourne cameo?
I wanna see Jason Bourne somehow be in there, and the final show-off is between John Wick and Jason Bourne, and they both die.
I would watch that. Well, don’t spoiler it for us.
[laughs] I’m not making the movie…
[laughs] Spoiler alert…!
[01:42:49.27] This has been fun though. One more back-story to this too, super-short, is we actually exchanged several emails too about when the third movie would come in, we shared screenshots… Brett, I think you showed a screenshot of it arriving, and holding it…
Yeah, I photographed it when I got home and I had the disk in my hands, saying like “Alright, I’m doing my bit. When are you two gonna watch?”
That’s right. So this show was years in the making, and lots of behind the scenes…
Peer pressure, man. Peer pressure.
Yeah, we were throwing it down between the three of us by email, like “Well, okay, I’ve watched Chapter 2. When are you two gonna watch Chapter 2?”
And then you said “Well, I’m having a viewing party”, and it’s like “Well, I’m unfortunately in Europe, so you beat me to that one.” So yes… This literally has been in the planning for a year…
…because I think I first came on the Changelog in October to talk about my keynote at PyCon, and then yeah, as you said, we had a four-hour recording where it was maybe an hour, hour-and-a-half of actual broadcastable content, and then the rest of it was just the three of us just goofing off and talking about Keanu Reeves, the nice man of Hollywood, and all this other random stuff…
…and then we were like “Oh, we should do that.” And then just building on it, and slowly getting to the point where we actually were able to make the time to show up. Because I actually came on–
You’ve been on the show since then.
Yeah, because I came back on in May to talk about the Python Steering Council.
And Adam commented about us kind of becoming pals - I was bummed because Adam had an appointment and he actually had to record just within the time window of recording…
It was a short time window…
…while I had blocked out my entire afternoon, assuming we were gonna have another four-hour hangout.
That’s right. I felt bad, I was like “Oh, he blocked extra time and we can’t hang out…”
What did I have going on that day? It must have been important.
Eh, bowling league.
You said a pre-existing long-term plan, something; I don’t remember. You didn’t say. You just had to take off.
I’m sorry. Well, I have to say, I was also bummed–
He had curling practice.
Yeah, I had curling practice.
That game - that’s not a sport!
It’s a game, not a sport!
[laughs] I’m telling you, that is a good podcast, “Is it a game or a sport?” And then you get the enthusiasts of the games to come on and represent why it’s a sport or not.
I will admit, I have also thought about this, in terms of curling versus bowling versus e-sports…
…because I’ve had this discussion with my father-in-law, actually. Because he asked me “What’s this e-sports thing? That doesn’t seem like a sport.” And then we had this conversation about the physicality of like “You do have to train for this stuff, and there is a certain level of physicality that not everyone can actually accomplish…”
You have to wear diapers.
You have to wear diapers?! Required?!
It’s suggested, yeah. Yeah. Depends is a sponsor of e-sports. That’s a joke. Just in case anybody thought I was being serious. But wouldn’t you assume?
Yeah, I could actually somewhat believe that. I was hoping you were joking…
Yeah. It’s a whole new market for Depends.
Not just the old people.
Depends for gamers?
That’s right! Gamer edition.
What makes them different? Just marketing?
Can’t get out of that WoW raid tonight?
The same thing with like children’s diapers - some have big birds, some have Thomas the Train. Like, get your favorite gaming character on your Depends.
They’ll put the guy from Halo on them…?
Now we’re gonna have Fortnite-themed Depends thing just go down the – well, I was gonna say Shoppers, but that’s a Canadian reference. Go down the–
That’s right. Well, it’d be CVS or Walgreens here.
Yeah. I think that dog hunts. I think this could be a thing.
What, the Depends and the diapers?
Depends for gamers. [laughter]
Honestly though, if you have to buy gamer Depends, I do hope there’s at least a slip to give you a hotline to call about gamers’ addiction, because honestly…
That’s a good point.
…you’re going that far.
You’re winning that tournament.
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