Action movies like John Wick usually have a relatively simple formula. They are entertaining, fast-paced, and keep you gripped to the edge of your seat. Expect violence, a lot of action, and little dialogue as the protagonists usually let their fists do the talking.
John Wick Plot Synopsis
John Wick was a simple, quiet man, or so it seemed. The movie begins with the death of John’s wife and his adaptation to life without her. John is left to take care of a puppy, which was a parting gift she left him to remember her by. John Wick was an infamous assassin who left that life behind him for true love, now that is gone, and all that remains is his prized car, a Boss 429, and the puppy.
As he tries to keep things together, he has a chance meeting with Losef Taraso, the son of a Russian mobster. He presses John to buy the car but is repeatedly told that it is not for sale and takes this as a slight. Losef, along with his henchman, breaks into John’s house, steals the car, beats John Wick half to death, and then kills the puppy. Their biggest mistake was not killing John while they had him wounded.
These events push John Wick over the edge, and he decides to return to his old life and single-handedly seek revenge on the Russian gang who killed the last remnants of his wife when they took the puppy’s life.
What the movie does so well is building the legends around John Wick. Simple phone calls and reactions create an aura around the ex-assassin that is a treat. Often other action movies like John Wick peel back the mystery too soon, but in this movie, it’s a perfect slow revealing of the damage one man can do.
For you, action fans out there, check out our list of movies that are similar to John Wick and let us know your favorites.
What are the top 15 action movies like John Wick?
Denzell Washington stars as Robert McCall, the former Defense Intelligence Agency officer living a simple life as a supermarket clerk in Boston after his wife’s death. Russian gangsters brutally beat a young prostitute named Teri, who he befriends while reading in a diner. He offers to give them money in exchange for letting her go. However, they refuse, and McCall unleashes his demons, setting a plan in motion for absolute revenge and destruction of the Russian mafia.
He speaks up for the voiceless, and his actions empower the powerless. He realizes that his skill set allows him to protect the people around him.
The revenge style film is perfect for anyone looking for action movies like John Wick. Denzel is impressive throughout, and the best thing is that a sequel has been released with a third installment in the pipeline.
Taken has to be one of the most classic abduction movies of all time. Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, a former government operative whose daughter is kidnapped in Europe. He gives the perpetrators fair warning over the phone, immortalized in the “I will find you, and I will kill you” scene.
He then uses his arsenal of skills to track the gang down. Like John Wick, it is entirely personal, and you get to witness a man on the edge as he seeks revenge. It’s tense throughout with some impressive fight scenes and some great European destinations.
Jack Reacher’s record precedes him and has left many people wondering why the decorated serviceman quit his job as an army investigator. He’s dangerous and his hand to hand combat skills are second to none. The movie follows his search for the truth on behalf of an ex-military sniper who stands accused of murdering five people.
As with many action movies like John Wick, what starts simple soon begins to unravel, taking twists and turns along the way. What presents as a straightforward case early on leaves Jack Reacher in danger. However, nobody is above the law, and a physical encounter with Reacher, played by Tom Cruise, is a stark reminder of that.
As Frank Martin, Jason Statham stars a mercenary transporter for hire who delivers anything, anywhere, with no questions asked. For the right price, of course. It’s similar to John Wick because his past is shrouded in history and shares some equally epic fight scenes shot using a somewhat unique style for the time.
Unlike John Wick, Martin is an anti-hero type who has a crisis of consciousness during one of his deliveries that puts him on the wrong side of a dangerous client. The scenery is beautiful throughout as the movie is set in rural France. Shu Qi stars as the female lead and is excellent.
The movie spawned a franchise with four films released with a fifth due out anytime now.
Ryan Reynolds’s pet project took years to finally get off the ground in the way that he saw fit and took the world by storm. It proved the R-rated superhero movies could be a success, earning $782 million at the box office and becoming the top-earning R-rated movie for a short time.
Wade Wilson is an anti-hero type who resides in society’s underbelly, mainly spending his time doing illegal mercenary work. He gets cancer, and his only hope is a top-secret mutant program that could cure him. He gains the ability to heal from any physical damage but not without enduring agony for weeks.
Reynolds breaks the fourth wall throughout, and it is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the cookie-cutter Marvel films that have popped out over the years. Movies like John Wick and Deadpool are unique because of their fantastic action sequences that break for the norms. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Brad Pitt stars in this World War 2 action drama that sees four men go behind enemy lines on an impossible mission. The story is a tale of resilience and follows the man’s will to survive while remaining in good spirits, and accepting that fate may have other ideas. The seemingly impossible task sees them navigate through Europe and find themselves in difficult, action-packed situations.
The comradery you feel in their unit is inspiring, and the men trust each other with their own lives. Don “Wardaddy” Collier is a battled hardened command and a fearless leader, and his men are fiercely loyal. Fury is brutal in parts and horrifically cruel in others. It’s not for the faint-hearted but well worth a watch.
Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise stars in this invading alien action-packed thriller. The alien invasion plays second fiddle to a more puzzling storyline that will leave you gripped. William Cage has never been to battle and doesn’t have any notable skills. However, when he dies, he relives the same entire day over and over again. He’s stuck in a loop that acts as a training ground and makes him better and better.
It’s gripping stuff as Cruise becomes more and more competent only to die again at a crucial time and start over again. Emily Blunt stars at the powerful Sergeant Rita Vrataski, and it seems this unlikely pair are the two people charged with saving the world from these foreign invaders.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the army commando John Matrix who discovers that his former teammates have been killed. After being warned by his superiors to keep an eye out, his daughter is then abducted. The perpetrators know that John would die for his daughter and intend to use this to extort him to do their bidding.
Commando and other action movies like John Wick are great because they often involve a miscalculation by the enemy of the protagonist’s abilities, which has dire consequences. John uses his survival skills to take on an entire army and tries to achieve the impossible.
It’s impossible not to see the similarities of this movie and John Wick.
Oldboy (American Version)
Josh Brolin stars as the lead, Joe Doucett, which is down on his luck, and things are about to get even worse. He gets abducted and held in a hotel-like room with no way to reach the outside. A TV is the only thing keeping him from going insane. Later he discovers his wife has died, and he has been framed for the murder.
After being trapped in the room for 20 years, he is suddenly released without warning. His only goal is to find out who did this to him and make them pay while trying to win back his daughter’s love, who thinks he abandoned her.
The movie has a tonne of twists and turns, with the past rearing its ugly head in several different ways. The film is a remake, or revisioning, of Park Chan-Wook’s 2013 classic of the same name.
Mad Max (1979)
Max is the last remnant of the law left in the dystopian hell that the world has become. Humankind has devolved into savages in every man for himself style society. There are no rules. After this murder of his wife and child at the hands of outlaws, Max, played by Mel Gibson, loses his sanity and seeks retribution.
Mad Max and other movies similar to John Wick are great because they take you on a journey of revenge with the main character. The story is heartbreaking, but also action-packed. It spawned a franchise with multiple sequels, and this classic isn’t to be missed.
Leon: The Professional
Leon isn’t a man who gets joy from killing, but he’s excellent at it, and everyone needs to make a living somehow. After a family is butchered to death next door, the only remaining survivor, a little girl, seeks refuge with Leon. He teaches her the only thing he truly knows, killing. Natalie Portman stars as the young girl who later puts together a revenge plan for those who slayed her family.
Leon is a movie that tugs on the heartstrings as the main characters develop a unique relationship and try to learn from one another. They become a force to be reckoned with but try to better themselves throughout. Core to the story is Mathilda not wanting to lose her identity as she becomes obsessed with vengeance.
Kill Bill is an all-time Tarantino classic. Uma Thurman stars as The Bride, an ex-assassin who used to work for Bill. After trying to leave that life behind, she is attacked on her wedding day, leaving her in a coma and killing her unborn child. Her one chance of normality has slipped away, and now she wants revenge.
After waking up four years later, The Bride wants to make the people who did this to her pay. She makes a list of the people who need to be dealt with and then sets about to kill them. They’d have been better off leaving her dead, as they are soon to all find out. The movie was followed by a variety of sequels, all of which were great. In classic Tarantino style, the film is truly unique.
I Saw The Devil
I Saw The Devil comfortably passes almost every other entry on our list in terms of violence and gore. It starts with Kyung-Chul, a serial killer who murders and decapitates a woman in the movie’s opening scene. Her husband, Kim Soo-Hyun, discover the nightmarish scene.
He spends the rest of the movie tracking the killer down, then proceeds to beat him within an inch of his life. He decided to spare the murderer so that he can repeat the beating over and over again. However, this turns out to be a significant error as he is soon out on another killing spree. Like other South Korean masterpieces, I Saw The Devil wouldn’t leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling once the credits roll.
Southpaw is a fantastic movie and must watch for any boxing enthusiasts who enjoy a comeback story. Billy Hope has it all, the heavyweight world title, a tremendous career, and a family that loves him. However, a confrontation with another boxer in a hotel lobby leaves his wife dead, and his life spiraling out of control. As things start to unravel, he slowly loses everything he once held dear.
As far as action movies like John Wick go, this is slightly different in how the protagonist has to overcome adversity. It requires more than the sheer will shown throughout the John Wick franchise. A chance to get his daughter back remains Hope’s last driving force, and mentorship under Tick Wills gives him a real shot at redemption.
The movie does start slow but accelerates quickly going into the final third of the film, so be patient, strap yourself in, and enjoyJake Gyllenhaal at his finest.
Another Jason Statham classic, the Mechanic, follows the life of a hitman who has a knack for making his victims’ demise look like accidents, suicides, or rogue petty criminals. Following a spate of successful jobs, he is asked to do the unthinkable. The movie has some great twists and turns and fantastic fights and a wide variety of locations from across the globe.
The movie was based on a 1972 film of the same title but fared better in the box office and spawned a sequel Mechanic: Resurrection. It ended up being commercially successful, making $76.3 million off a $40 million budget.