Last month, I watched John Wick 3: Parabellum. It’s a very stylised film, never settling for realistic when incredible would be more interesting. The action sequences are tightly choreographed and have an amazing rhythm, particularly the fight in the Knife Shop (see? fantasy above reality). But some of the scenes feel like video games. Watching John Wick and Halle Berry’s character kill wave after wave of enemy soldiers is sometimes repetitive. Berry’s character even has a highly-trained dog which she sets on opponents as a special move.
John Wick is not the first film where I’ve felt like I was watching someone else play video games. Ghostbusters III had monsters attacking in waves, before a larger end-of-level boss arrived. Or there are scenes in World War Z where Pitt’s character sneaks past zombies who are in little action loops like video game enemies. Maybe CGI makes this sort of thing inevitable, but it still feels strange.
John Wick has that video game feel. But seeing Keanu Reeves as the lead actor, with Laurence Fishburne as a supporting character, there is a more obvious reference here; it made me feel like I was watching the Matrix movies. Particularly since both John Wick and Neo make the exact same request at points: “Guns. Lots of guns.”
In the Matrix films, the human characters live within a simulated world which turns out to have been created based on the 1990s. Agent Smith explains during the films that the first versions of the Matrix were designed as utopias, where the humans lived with total happiness. “It was a disaster. No one accepted the program. Entire crops [of people] were lost.”
So the machines had created an imperfect world, like the real one. But, as we see from the plot of the Matrix films, it’s not entirely successful. When Morpheus recruits Neo, he asks him if the world seems entirely real.
“You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.”
The 1990s-based world didn’t work out well for the machines. The humans still realised something was wrong – or at least a few of them did. These people were driven to carry out shocking acts of violence in the Matrix. Maybe a new Matrix would be built, more suitable to these people. One that allowed them to indulge their violent fantasies.
I’m not the only person to have said this, but John Wick is Neo. The 4th John Wick film and the 4th matrix film are going to be the same movie.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list