What are the best movies like John Wick? With the final chapter now playing in cinemas, John Wick 4 is outperforming its previous openings and has been met with stellar audience ratings.
The action movie, which we called a long but stunning end to the franchise in our John Wick 4 review, is the pinnacle of gung-fu madness, with director Chad Stahelski going out guns blazing.
With The Continental release date not here yet, what are the best movies like John Wick to scratch that adrenaline-pumping grim reaper itch? We’re aiming for masterclasses in choreography, killers searching for purpose, and immersive worldbuilding to match.
Movies like John Wick
- You Were Never Really Here
- Atomic Blonde
- The Villainess
5. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Lynne Ramsey’s thriller movie on Amazon Prime Video is about a veteran, Joe, who finds meaning in saving a young girl from a violent fate — featuring a worn-down Joaquin Phoenix, well-baked commentary on trauma, and brutal cathartic violence.
Joe has a similar steely shell to Keanu Reeves in John Wick, and although their drives and characterisations are different, You Were Never Really Here is also brilliant at sudden pops of violence.
Both movies hone in on men who feel they’re at their ends but who refuse to give up on one last mission.
4. Nobody (2021)
Starring Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk, Nobody is the movie to watch if you want more of the specific brand of fight choreography and stunt work seen in John Wick.
David Leitch, whose name will appear several times in this list, was heavily involved with the first John Wick, producing and co-directing the assassin movie. Although he didn’t direct Nobody, it adopts his same stunt-forward sensibilities and shares a writer with John Wick.
Nobody is no John Wick clone and can stand on its own, but it’s one of a number of movies that had the good sense to ride Wick’s coattails.
3. Kate (2021)
Reeves is one of a few actors to open up doors for others looking to refresh their careers using a gritty turn in an action movie. It wasn’t just male actors who benefitted from this.
Kate is a spy movie from Netflix about an emotionally guarded assassin who takes on a charge in the form of a feisty teenage girl connected to a powerful crime family. The movie has plenty of twists and turns and adheres to crowd-pleasing elements while providing a fresh take on this formula.
Lots of neon lighting, a protagonist that doesn’t waste any words, and an impressively physical Mary Elizabeth Winstead are a few of the things that make Kate an outing that shouldn’t disappear into the Netflix movies graveyard.
2. Atomic Blonde
Another David Leitch entry, and this time he’s at the wheel. Charlize Theron kicks ass in this movie, taking place days before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Atomic Blonde is a sleek, sexy affair with an ice-cool Theron, a jaw-dropping long-take stairwell fight, and an intriguing mystery. Sofia Boutella adds romance to the story, and James McAvoy appears as a character we’re unsure whether to trust.
The best thing about Atomic Blonde is how it faces the brutality of Lorraine’s lifestyle. Reeves proved you don’t need to be a twenty-something to lead one of these things, but Atomic Blonde develops this further by making wisdom and experience Lorraine’s biggest asset.
It doesn’t shy away from the exhaustion of her line of work, either, though — the movie’s editing places brisk breaks in the action to show wounds bleeding, purple bruises staining skin, and ice packs over swollen eyes.
1. The Villainess
John Wick’s influences and homage belong mainly to Asian martial arts cinema, which deserves full credit for doing for decades what Western movies have only just caught onto.
The Villainess is a South Korean action thriller that slid onto the scene four years after Wick reminded audiences of their taste for the lone wolf assassin story. Kim Ok-bin is Sook-Hee, an elite assassin groomed from childhood who goes on a blood-soaked revenge rampage to earn her freedom and cut ties with her past.
The Villainess, like John Wick, adds depth via worldbuilding. There are rules and lore to its underground world, adding texture and intriguing stakes. If the coins and consecrated hotel grounds in Wick are your bag, look no further.
Remember, you can use our secret Netflix codes to jump straight into the action genre. Until then, celebrate one of 2023’s new movies by finding out who is Mr Nobody, who is The Marquis de Gramont, and everyone who dies in John Wick 4.