For fans who instantly fell in love with Keanu Reeves’ latest action icon, John Wick, that don’t think there’s much else out there in the genre that can match the franchise’s blistering action and its stylish underworld, we’ve crafted a list of great examples of movies that are similar to the John Wick series.

These action movies from all around the world are always dialing up the explosiveness and the kill-factor while never sacrificing their creativity or quality. They’re incredibly well-choreographed, well-shot, and wildly fun to watch. There should be something for every John Wick fan on this list.

Updated on March 13th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: One of the most significant achievements of the John Wick franchise has been the number of people that it has introduced to a wider world of movies in general, not to mention particular crafts and disciplines like stuntwork, cinematography, directing, and, of course, choreography. The John Wick movies are very open about their influences, some of which even appear on this list, as they come from a long–and continuing–line of action icons changing the genre, some of which also appear here. For those who are interested in the style and execution of the John Wick franchise, we’ve added more examples of similar movies both old and new.

20 Léon: The Professional (1994)

One of the most beloved assassins from the world of movies, Jean Reno’s Léon is another loner who, instead of taking in stray dogs, mentors Natalie Portman’s orphan so she can take revenge on Gary Oldman’s unforgettably villainous corrupt DEA agent.

The methodical hitman has been an influence on many action movie heroes, including several on this list, and The Professional is a must-see for fans of the more emotional side to the original John Wick.

19 No Tears for the Dead (2014)

When a ruthless hitman becomes traumatized and conflicted when he accidentally kills an innocent bystander in a horrific mistake, he begins to fixate on his target’s widow; ultimately leading to a bloody confrontation with his highly-trained crime syndicate of fellow assassins.

Though by no means as popular as director Lee Jeong-beom’s most famous movie to date (which we’ll get to later) No Tears for the Dead is an interesting–and fairly unusual–viewpoint on John Wick-ian stoicism and its emotional toll, not to mention a fantastically choreographed action-thriller in its third act also.


18 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Before John Wick, the first installment of writer and director Quentin Tarantino’s two-part martial arts extravaganza was the most significant progression in both the revenge genre and in Eastern and Western styles of storytelling coming together in a mainstream action movie.

The story sees Uma Thurman’s iconic “Bride” hunts a colorful kill list of former associates from her days as an elite assassin and while both Tarantino’s signature style and their love of classic throwbacks is very prominent, the choreography and cinematography have seemingly-boundless energy put into them too.

17 Man on Fire (2004)

Denzel Washington made a number of notable thrillers with the late great director Tony Scott but, despite it being given a frosty reception from critics upon release, none of them is held in as high a regard as Man on Fire.

Washington stars as a reserved bodyguard who’s out for brutal revenge against the cartel that kidnapped his ward, and his uncompromising tactics of guerilla warfare (mixed with an understated element of emotion) are sure to get a John Wick fan’s blood pumping.

16 Extraction (2020)

Avengers stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave stepped into the role of director for this Netflix action-thriller about a hired gun trying to rescue an adolescent boy from a deadly situation in Dhaka, stunning audiences the world over with a series of brutal fight scenes and impressive long takes during some expertly-choreographed action sequences.

Teaming up with one of his most famous MCU collaborators, Chris Hemsworth, as well as Winter Soldier/Civil War/Infinity War/Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo in producing/writing roles, Hargrave provides another example of how the intrinsic knowledge that a stunt performer/coordinator has of an actor’s capabilities can produce outstanding results when they step up to directing.

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15 Haywire (2011)

Steven Soderbergh directs Gina Carano in the lead role of this slick, methodical, and star-studded bare-knuckle thriller about a betrayed black ops soldier turning the tables against the slimy intelligence officials who stabbed her in the back.

Women in action movies have so often been denied the kind of unemotional and commanding role that Carano so readily takes up as Mallory Kane. And her steely performance, coupled with her skills in stuntwork and martial arts, make Haywire a wholly refreshing and exhilarating burst of adrenaline.

14 The Bourne Identity (2002)

There have been few movie stars, beyond the ones already mentioned on this list, that have ever lived up to the contemporary standard set by Matt Damon in the role of Robert Ludlum’s ever-popular superspy Jason Bourne. His first outing as the character is a must-see for any John Wick fan or practically any action/thriller movie fan in general.

Starting out the story as a man with no name, no memory, and several bullet holes in his back, Damon forges a path forward for all modern action heroes with a famously internalized performance that never skimps on the devastating precision of an unstoppable assassin like John Wick.

13 A Company Man (2012)

Director Lim Sang-yoon continues a long tradition in the subgenre of sad, sexy, hitmen who catch feelings at the wrong moment with 2012’s A Company Man. The genre’s a conventional favorite of action movie fans and, while it certainly doesn’t break any molds, A Company Man plays all the hits.

As the title implies, fans of the John Wick franchise will appreciate the mundane workplace intricacies surrounding the movie’s subterranean world of assassins who lurk just out of view of the normal world. But it’s a little held back by its overt similarities to another–more well-executed–example of the formula, which we’ll get to later.

12 Jack Reacher (2012)

Much like Keanu Reeves has done throughout his career, not just with the John Wick franchise, Tom Cruise has consistently reinvented himself as an action star over the decades and one of his newest successes has been with his take on the popular literary detective Jack Reacher.

Adapted from Lee Child’s novel One Shot, the movie is an engaging thriller about an invisible criminal underworld lurking in Pittsburgh that’s uncovered by the mysterious titular drifter. It’s also a noticeably tangible action movie that’s grounded in a level of realism that makes everything feel all the more impactful. The fight scenes may not be long but they possess a level of authenticity that most thrillers never attain and Cruise more than overcomes the physical differences between him and the title character to create a convincingly hardnosed antihero.

11 Atomic Blonde (2017)

For fans looking for that same level of fight choreography that feels like it’s next to none, the safest bet is to head straight for the first solo effort of John Wick co-director David Leitch. Atomic Blonde packs the star power of a movie like John Wick whilst never compromising on its action sequences and bare-knuckle brutality.

Adapted from a graphic novel titled The Coldest City, the movie will satisfy lovers of John Wick’s more stylized moments but it’s really Leitch’s ingenuity with fight choreography, and Charlize Theron’s commitment to it, that makes this Cold War spy thriller really sizzle.

10 Hardcore Henry (2015)

If creativity with the layout of an action scene is what’s desired, as well as something that taps into John Wick’s straightforwardness, then there are few movies as narratively simple, and choreographically complex, as Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore Henry.

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Coming from the world of music videos, there is something undeniably gimmicky about Naishuller’s movie debut (a sci-fi action movie shot entirely in the first-person perspective of the main character). But, for those who are so inclined, all of that is comfortably smoothed over by the perpetual fascination it inspires for the anatomy of its increasingly ridiculous setpieces.

9 The Villainess (2017)

Bridging some of the gaps between the previous movies on this list and the world of John Wick–to create a truly memorable action movie experience–is Jung Byung-gil’s 2017 hit The Villainess. It not only creates an entertainingly colorful world of professional killers but a series of sequences so bonkers that the John Wick franchise basically copied one of them a few years later.

While similar to John Wick with its deeply impressive dedication to the assembly of an action scene, its story is anything but simple. However, that same level of thought and care put into its action is also used to stitch together a complicated saga spanning multiple identities and decades.

8 Man of Tai Chi (2013)

The directorial debut of the man himself, Keanu Reeves, Man of Tai Chi is, much like John Wick, clearly a bit of a throwback. It’s not without some amusing little idiosyncrasies from Reeves but, for the most part, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Nor, like John Wick, does it ever attempt to.

Man of Tai Chi is a movie that’s clearly made with a tremendous amount of love in its heart for classic Chinese martial arts movies and Reeves demonstrates a clear eye for fight choreography, as well as production design and overall art direction. He’s also smart enough to know that the best role in a movie like this is the villain (which is the role he takes). For those who have ever felt a little ripped off from never getting to see a 90s Mortal Kombat movie starring Keanu Reeves, this will play a small part in rectifying that injustice.

7 Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Reteaming with their frequent creative collaborator, Jack Reacher writer and director Christopher McQuarrie, Tom Cruise upped the realism in the stunts of his flagship Mission: Impossible franchise to an unprecedented degree for the sixth installment, with all of the biggest ones directly involving him.

This happened no doubt in part because Fallout also broke new ground for the series in the sense that McQuarrie was its first director to return for a second movie. The professional relationship that he and Cruise have so clearly formed over the years has the capability to rival that of Keanu Reeves’ with John Wick director Chad Stahelski. The story of Cruise’s unstoppable superspy, Ethan Hunt, battling to stop nuclear armageddon calls for some outlandish setpieces that the team realizes an uncommonly high percentage of in-camera.

6 The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Gareth Evans’ crowd-pleaser is usually the first stop for any action movie fan who’s looking for the no-nonsense thrills of a movie like John Wick. It stars Iko Uwais as the usual guy in the wrong place at the wrong time, or so it initially seems. Uwais’ explosive performance as the Indonesian John McClane simply known as Rama would catapult him to global Action God status. He was even the big cameo at the end of Man of Tai Chi the following year. 

The connection between the two movies is quite interesting as Man of Tai Chi follows a character who popularizes an unconventional form of martial arts and The Raid does the exact same thing, only in reality. As their relatively-overlooked first movie together, Merantau, did, The Raid sees Evans utilize the skill of Uwais – and fellow fight choreographer/actor Yayan Ruhian – in the Indonesian ‘pincak silat’ style of martial arts. Creating a conventional story that plays out like no other.

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5 The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

Ordinarily, action sequels–even to great movies–wouldn’t warrant being much more than a footnote in the description of the original. But The Raid 2 is not only so much bigger than its predecessor, but it’s also more than different enough to warrant being counted as its own movie. So much so that it could almost be thought of as being entirely independent of the first installment.

Freed from the restrictive confines of the original’s setting, Gareth Evans lets Uwais and Ruhian loose upon the streets of Jakarta to wreak maniacal havoc upon every action movie setup in the book. Whether it be the humble car chase, the prison brawl, or a sprawling family crime saga, The Raid 2 is impressive in its execution.

4 Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Prolific director Takashi Miike was a terrific fit for adapting the wild story of Hiroaki Samura’s long-running manga series of the same name, revolving around an unkillable former samurai who’s sucked into a tale of revenge against a league of detestable assassins.

Takuya Kimura is a satisfyingly grizzled lead and Miike’s experience with unashamedly weird and gory scenarios (this project would mark the director’s 100th feature film) makes Blade of the Immortal an inventively violent movie. It’s situated in the same satisfyingly strange midway point as the John Wick franchise that lies somewhere between magical and bizarrely believable, with its own distinctly dark sense of humor and unbreakable codes of honor.

3 A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Kim Jee-woon’s modern classic is the pinnacle of the sad/sexy criminal enforcer genre in terms of sheer elegance. Its action may not be as plentiful as a John Wick movie, or even A Company Man, but it is, like the rest of the film, undeniably gorgeous and its sparsity only serves to make its appearance all the more intense.

Don’t think that’s it’s not well-thought-out action either, it takes a number of things into consideration that most action movies never would. Its flourishes of hyperrealism in the colorfully mad, stunningly slick, world of its criminal underbelly give it a uniquely dry sense of humor that John Wick fans will no doubt appreciate.

2 The Killer (1989)

Those looking for more entries in the pantheon of the so-called ‘gun-fu’ genre would really be foolish to look anywhere else than at the works of the grandmaster, John Woo. Barring the also-essential action movie renaissance classic Hard Boiled, Woo’s most commonly praised movie would have to be 1989’s The Killer

Chow Yun-fat plays the hitman with the unfortunate case of conscience this time around and his titular killer would quickly become one of the most readily identifiable icons of the action movie genre. Woo’s love of acrobatics, mixed in with his heavy gunplay, would begin a global love affair with the style which would rarely be recaptured in such glory, even by the director himself.

1 The Man from Nowhere (2010)

Director Lee Jeong-beom bookends this list with his breakout action thriller, which was a huge hit in its native South Korea but is still gathering momentum as a cult favorite in the West.

The story itself, as usual, isn’t anything special (a mysterious loner brushes up against a group of criminals and, unfortunately for them, it turns out that he’s an absolute Terminator). But the movie’s gleeful construction–and lead actor Won Bin’s unflinching delivery–of an iconic action hero badass makes The Man from Nowhere a must for fans of the towering John Wick persona. 

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