Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wicks and Equalizers

Progress continues!

Particularly recovery. If anyone was particularly disappointed in the last two updates I would indeed apologize.

Naturally there is no A.R.D.I. H. program. The entire concept is crazy talk.

But in reviewing what I wrote I think I could expand on the charming contrast of John Wick and The Equalizer.

Both could be almost equally classified as dumb action movies, almost, and at 85% versus 65% on the 'Tomatometer' it would seem John Wick is the clear favorite- although the audience rating puts John Wick in the lead by a 'easily-explainable-by-the-suggestible' 3%,

In truth, I believe the movies close to equal in quality if not in message.

The protagonists are the utter antithesis of each other. Goofus and Gallant. As is appropriate for a movie featuring an antihero and a hero respectively.

Mr. Wick is an utter asshole. He made his fortune by killing people criminals wanted dead. The audience is expected to never think about the high likelihood that said criminals might have wanted any number of innocents killed. John Wick is a professional, very highly paid indeed. Do you really believe as easily as he killed and for the reasons he killed that his hands are clean of innocent blood?

He gets out of the business not out of any regret or distaste for what he has done but because the woman he loved had such. When she dies, his reason to stay clean is solely out of respect for her memory which he honors as, poor baby, he zooms around in his musclecar on an airfield.

But when a pair of thugs knock him out and murder his dog, he has just the excuse he needs to get back into business. To make the excuse good however, first and foremost he has to achieve his revenge.

To avenge the life of a dog, John Wick kills a lot of people. How many?

Well, just so happens someone made an infographic.

http://www.visu.info/john-wick-kill-count A pro-click, if you will.

77 individuals killed over a dog and a car. Now, naturally since this is a movie we are left to hope that every one of those 77 was a horrible person who probably had it coming. We'll just overlook that most of them were bodyguards who were just doing their job. However bad they were though, Mr. Wick is clearly the better killer if not better man.

Not only does John Wick personally kill a proverbial assload of people presumably worse than he was, he puts his Mentor into a situation that leads to their death when they break their ideals in order to save Mr. Wick.

This, by the way, is the only reason John Wick survives, because a better assassin improbably elects against doing their job for sentimental reasons.

Now, if you were a big fan of John Wick- you might be rather angry with me. This might feel like an attack on you by proxy, but please perish the thought.

What you like or don't like does not make you a bad person or you in any way wrong for (dis)liking them, I am simply pointing out the things the writers of this didn't want people to think about.

Whether I am right about all this is perhaps a matter for debate and even if I am right it is, again, all only appropriate when it's an story about an antihero.

Beyond his ability to kill people better than other people who kill people, there really isn't much to respect in John Wick. He is a murderous narcissist who only thinks about what HE wants and what was taken from HIM. Again :

It might be fun to imagine yourself as being John Wick, but if you are NOT John Wick then his existence in your world only makes it a slightly worse place. You can't afford to hire him and if anyone who can takes issue with you, you're screwed.

Perhaps if you are already hideously wealthy, it's nice to imagine there is a John Wick on call.

Again, aside of this I would say the movie is worth seeing and very entertaining. Keanu Reeves does an excellent job in his role.

Now, for the antithesis.

Comically, this is the only time The Equalizer uses a gun.
The Equalizer is an odd duck, to be sure. Their history is never touched on as thoroughly as Mr. Wick's. They are implied to also have been a widower however.

They have some history with the U.S. Government. Though be it with the CIA or some other agency is never clear.

They too have retired- though it is not entirely clear whether this is the result of them outliving a spouse is unclear. Only whereas Mr. Wick spends his retirement roaring around in musclecars and screaming The Equalizer lives a quiet, orderly life immersed in precise routine, reading, working at a home depot and helping acquaintances reach their goals.

In their retirement, long before they ever get into a fight, they are helping others. In this case it is helping an obese gentleman train and lose weight sufficiently so as to qualify for work as a security guard.

His efforts to retire from violence are interrupted when he befriends a young woman being made to work as a hooker. When she is put in the hospital, his first reaction is not to kill everyone between her pimp and him and then the pimp.

It is to empty his savings and attempt to buy her freedom.

Only when the pimp and his cronies laugh him out of the room does he resolve to secure her release by other means.

While this unfortunately invites further complications from their Russian overlord, he sees it through to the end. They pointedly avoid guns for some reason. (Though perhaps in a certain comedy, most of the ways he kills are far less merciful for this self-imposed restriction.)

At the end of the day The Equalizer is saved not by his Mentor breaking his ideals, but by his student who lives up to them.

Is that more believable than a master assassin turning down an absurdly high bounty and endangering themselves to save their protege who had already retired but was coming back because someone killed their dog?


The Equalizer kills around 13 people over the course of the movie, avoids losing more blood than a human body possesses while surviving anyway and has almost certainly saved many more lives than he has taken.

In addition to removing corrupt cops and dismantling a crime syndicate he embarks on this to give a young woman forced into sexual slavery a new chance in life.

It is STILL awesome to be The Equalizer, if you are not hung up on spending your time roaring around an airstrip in a muscle car while pitying yourself. He is demonstrated to be every bit of a superior killer.

But, if you are NOT The Equalizer, then it is still fortunate for them to exist in your world. At no point will anyone be hiring him to murder you and there is a fair chance that if you needed their help in a dire situation, they would provide it regardless of your personal income.

They are motivated by something other than money and anger and if you compare the characters at the end... You might notice one of them is significantly happier as well.

Progress continues.

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