The first three John Wick films with Keanu Reeves are streaming for free on Tubi.
When it comes to Keanu Reeves, fans have several popular franchises to choose from. There’s the goofy yet charming Bill & Ted series or the groundbreaking Matrix films—both fine additions to the cinema landscape. But when fans crave unparalleled action fueled by the most basic human motivation—revenge—there’s only one name they call: John Wick. Now, for the first time ever, John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum are all streaming for free on Tubi!
John Wick is a series of neo-noir action thrillers produced by Lionsgate and starring Keanu Reeves. Reeves plays the titular assassin begrudgingly driven back into the criminal underbelly that he thought he had abandoned for good.
The first movie was released in 2014 with a simple premise, Retired uber assassin John Wick returns to active duty after his car is stolen and his puppy—a gift from his deceased wife, Helen—killed. What follows is a brutal revenge thriller with just enough worldbuilding and lore to separate it from every other generic action flick out there.
Mysterious Hotel for gangsters, The Continental—soon to be a show of its own on Peacock—as well as the gold coins criminals in Wick’s world use for currency both make their debut in the first installment in the franchise. The John Wick universe, along with its unique lore, was initially dreamt up by writer Derek Kolstad in a spec script titled Scorn.
The original concept for John Wick was an older retired hitman in his 60s or 70s—between 10 and 20 years older than Keanu Reeves and more grizzled looking like Clint Eastwood.
Elements such as John Wick’s dog, the Continental Hotel, and its proprietor Winston were already in place in the script’s earliest incarnation. One of Kolstad’s more interesting choices was to have the death of Wick’s dog be the catalyst for his return to killing rather than the cliche of having his wife or family murdered.
Eventually, the script found its way into the hands of producer Basil Iwanyk who appreciated its “subversive” tone and reliability. Who wouldn’t want to kill the man who killed their puppy?
When Keanu Reeves’s agent, who Iwanyk just happened to be friends with, asked him if he had any action projects that would be a good fit for Reeves, the producer couldn’t give him the John Wick script fast enough. Reeves loved the script leaving Iwanyk to find a director—a task easier said than done.
Most directors either passed, thinking Wick was just another typical Keanu Reeves action movie, or they wanted to add more family members to use as motivation for John’s revenge, the very thing the producer and writer were trying to avoid.
Eventually, Keanu Reeves recruited Chad Stahelski and David Leitch—stunt coordinators the actor knew from The Matrix films—to helm the movie. The film was shot in New York City, allowing NYC-based actors like Ian McShane, who portrays Winston, head of the Continental, to appear in the film.
Keanu Reeves undertook a rigorous training regiment to portray Wick, which included learning martial arts such as Judo and jiu-jitsu, as well as how to drive a car while aiming a gun.
The film was a success financially and critically. John Wick earned a total of $86 million worldwide off of a budget of between $20-$30 million, a modest profit but impressive when considering John Wick wasn’t a sequel or a superhero film.
Critics considered the movie a breath of fresh air compared to all the cookie-cutter, CGI-heavy action movies littering theaters at the time and praised Keanu Reeves’s performance as a return to form for the actor.
The movie was popular enough to spawn three sequels, John Wick: Chapter 2, John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum, and John Wick: Chapter 4. Both sequels shared the same writer, director, producer, and star of the original. Keanu Reeves returned as well, at one point stating that he would continue to play the character as long as the movies were profitable—which they continue to be, exponentially so.
All told, the John Wick franchise has grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. Not only are the Wick movies financially successful, each grossing more than the last, but the sequels continue to be critically acclaimed. The movies don’t just earn more money as they go along.
Their rotten tomatoes scores follow the same trend. What other movie series can you think of where the fourth film has the highest critic score of the bunch?
The Keanu Reeves-led John Wick franchise has left an indelible mark on the action genre spawning many copycats. Films like Atomic Blonde (2017), Extraction (2020), and Gunpowder Milkshake (2021) owe a huge debt to John Wick. Perhaps the coolest Wick-clone of all, 2021’s Bob Odenkirk vehicle Nobody might even intersect with the John Wick series at some point in the future, although nothing has been set in stone yet.
With success comes spinoffs, and John Wick is no exception. The Continental: From the World of John Wick, starring Mel Gibson, airs on Peacock later this year. Meanwhile, the spinoff film Ballerina a movie about a female assassin played by Ana de Armas is slated for a June 7, 2024 release. Oh, and if that’s not enough, John Wick 5 has been all but confirmed by Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski.
With all that John Wick goodness on the horizon, now is a perfect time to stream the first three John Wick movies for free on Tubi!