Theory: Everything is John Wick’s Fault
John Wick was one of the best movies of last year and maybe one of the greatest action movies of all time. The dedication to simplicity makes it one that’s easy to grasp and easy to love. They even left out the whole action staple of “We’ve got to stop the bomb!” or the subplot of “Does he have heart after all?”
No, we know he’s got one because he had a wife…who is dead. Did he do that? Not necessarily but we’ll get to that. Now as for the thugs that broke into his home, beat up him, killed his dog and stole his car…Wick might have had more to do with it than seems apparent.
A great thing about the movie is that it sort of is a revenge fantasy everyone can get behind. That obnoxious rap music blaring that announces Iosef as Wick is filling up his tank at the gas station. He’s putting his hands all over Wick’s car and thinking he can just buy it if he feels like it. He calls John a bitch in Russian and is prepared to take it even further had his friend not stopped him.
You know how the rest of this goes as well. Iosef and his minions break into Wick’s house that night, beat him unconscious, destroy parts of his home and kill his puppy, which was a gift from his dying wife. This is enough to set the former assassin off and head to New York to deal with these things personally.
And who is Iosef? Why does he think he can do anything he wants and get away with it? As we find out, he’s not some high ranking mob official nor is he the leader to a surprisingly cunning street gang, no, nothing of that nature. He’s the son of the biggest Russian mob boss in NYC. And considering how big a place it is, Viggo Tarasov, Iosef’s daddy, is pretty powerful.
So it’s not the hardening way of life that’s got Iosef acting the way he does. He doesn’t show any signs nor are we given any indication that his outlook on life is one of “kill or be killed” thanks to the unavoidably harsh ways of the universe. From what we can tell, he’s just a kid that was born with a (stolen) silver spoon in his mouth. Daddy is the boss, so Junior has the keys to go wherever he wants.
As his Viggo even tells his son “John is a man of focus, commitment, sheer will. Something you know very little about.” He even pauses for a brief moment, looking at his son, as if he’s thinking about the mistakes he made as a father.
But this scene contains more than Viggo explaining who John is, but where John comes from.
This is important to the point of the article because it highlights how John got into the position he was in when we meet him (Happy, with a wife until she unexpectedly passes) and how Viggo, Iosef, and their entire empire came to be as well. John got them there. Viggo sends John on a mission he doesn’t think anyone can complete and under those conditions and only after John has completed said tasks, can John leave. We’re not told exactly what the mission was, only that it seemed impossible.
“The bodies [John] buried that day laid the foundation for what we are now.”
This tells us not only that John is a badass and how he got out of the life but also why Iosef is the way he is. The guy has never had to work for anything or anyone and its all because John put his mob boss dad in that position. Now it’s not John’s fault that Viggo didn’t raise his son to not be a douche, right? Iosef isn’t John’s kid so it’s not his problem.
But still, John put them where they were (Read: were) and if you give a criminal like Viggo more power, what’s expected to happen? It’s not like he’s going to take it easy but he’ll have to work even harder to keep his power. But all the work doesn’t involve Iosef who’s seems to only reap the benefits.
Really what we’re seeing on screen is John cleaning up the mess he made years before, it just took a while for it to spill over into his neighborhood where he’d made a temporarily peaceful life. If your employer says to you “You can quit, but first you need to set that guy’s house on fire. I want to build my own house there” it’s only a matter of time before that fire reaches you. A guy willing to send you to take something from someone else so he can have it isn’t necessarily going to agree to put the same fire out.
Yeah, John was out of the city, but it’s not as though there’s a perimeter for crime. Through a few lines it’s made clear Iosef was in John’s neck of the woods on “business” and the chop shop where John’s car was taken didn’t seem to be very far from his home either. So there’s really not much of a separation between where John was and where he is.
While I don’t look at it as though John isn’t a sympathetic character or any of that, nor did he “have it coming” as far as his dog, car, home and body go, a theme of the film seems to deal with running from the past. It’s everything that happened before that drove the characters to their present predicament. And the choices John made not only got him out of his life of crime, but it ultimately drove him back.
As for John Wick’s wife dying, well, we can’t blame him for that of course. But there could be a message in there about people like John only being able to find momentary happiness for the lives they live.
Here’s a bit of sweet John Wick fan art by artist Reynan Sanchez as well, just to end this on a high note. It’s called Point Blank and you can see why.