6 Ultimate Action Stars Who Should Have Starred in John Wick
John Wick is awesome, but it’d be awesomer with one of these classic UAMC-era stars!
I’m incredibly embarrassed to admit this, but until a week ago, I never saw John Wick. I’ve also never seen John Wick 2. And I’m on the fence about seeing John Wick 3 whenever that comes out. I wouldn’t say I went out of my way to avoid John Wick though. It looked interesting enough. I love Keanu Reeves for his UAMC classics like Point Break and Speed. I also really like action movies. So it seemed inevitable that I would see it eventually.
However, after John Wick came out in 2013, year after year went by and I still never sat down to watch it. That is until recently, when I finally caved and gave it a rental. (I will caveat that I did see Atomic Blonde at SXSW 2017 – so I knew the style a bit already.)
If I had to give a quick UAMC review, I’d say it was awesome (of course). It had balls-to-the-wall action, it had style, and it had a great hero and a great villain. However, something about it just felt off. It was hyper-violet compared to 80s/90s action movies, but that’s to be expected. I really liked its self-aware plot and pacing, which made it really fly through exposition and get to the good stuff.
It wasn’t until I was reading through the Wikipedia and IMBD about the film and how it came to exist that I was able to put my finger on it. Early on its production, while it was just a script being shopped around, the film had a different title. It was called Scorn and was supposed to star John Wick as a retired hitman as a “a man in his mid-sixties”.
Which really got me thinking… Yes The Expendables and Red explored this old-action-hero-out-of-retirement motif pretty well, but especially for a movie as well produced and punched-up as John Wick, if it truly did star an older action movie veteran (especially if it were a UAMC legend), it could be one of the greatest post-UAMC golden era action movies ever!
So, before I dive into John Wick 2 or JW3 (as I’ve dubbed it), here is a look into what John Wick would have looked like with some different UAMC legends in the starring role.
This was the first name that came to mind for me. Let’s not get into any actualities here. Steven Seagal might be a little hard to wrangle in for a project like this – most of his ventures seemed focused on running for office in Russia and opening his own winery these days. But for a nice mix of martial arts and small to mid firearms prowess, Seagal certainly fits the bill. Plus, for a beruffled retired hitman, seeing a large-and-in-charge Seagal running down thugs in a club would be pretty awesome.
Plus! With Seagal’s strong Russian ties these days, the whole plot point of him being a retired favorite of a Russian crime world kingpin would actually be pretty on the nose. Seagal would love speak his tough guyism in Russian throughout the film.
My second personal choice for the role of John Wick would have to be Jean-Claude Van Damme. The man has shown that he still wants to work lately! I mean, really, really want to work. From Jean Claude Van Johnson (great show, rest in peace!), to his latest French action thriller The Bouncer, to a (small) role in the latest Kickboxer, to rumors of a Universal Soldier reboot, to whatever he’s hawking in those tortilla chip commercials, the man is not currently anything down.
In John Wick, Van Damme would be at the right age, but also still in the near peak fitness level needed to do pretty much anything Keanu pulls off. Heck, Van Damme could probably still do more. Contractually, Van Damme would need to have his signature split kick included (as well as apparently a gratuitous butt shot as well.)
From there, Van Damme would kill at the stoic killing machine face which for Keanu only makes him look like he’s about to fart or cry. Van Damme would go about his business methodically and with more high flying precision.
Not sure if this would as Chuck Norris is now 78 years old, but if he could have physically done it, would absolutely have loved to see Chuck Norris as John Wick. Keanu does some pretty gnarly hand-to-hand fighting, but that was never Chuck’s style.
A Chuck Norris fight usually only had three hits: Chuck’s boot to the bad guy’s face, the bad guy hitting the ground, then Chuck Norris whipping out a slide guitar and singing a little ditty about why it’s important that kids stay in school.
The scene in John Wick where the kingpin bad guy learns that Wick is on his case so he immediately informs his henchmen that they’re all already dead would hit so much harder if John Wick was Chuck Norris. He might as well be like, “Chuck Norris is pissed at us, we’re all dead” then a cowboy boot smacks him in the temple through the phone.
Now these are some personal choices which I’d selfishly would enjoy. Dolph Lundgren has proved that he’s still a very action movie capable villain. His work in Creed 2 reprising his iconic role as Ivan Drago was one of the highlights of the film (and maybe even the entire Rocky saga). But I’ve always loved him as a hero – most notably in Masters of the Universe and Showdown in Little Tokyo.
He also might be one of the most believable old-timers to actually fit the just-got-married plot setup at the beginning. Unlike the other stars, he does seem personable and relatable enough to actually get married, which would really sell it when the heartbreak hits and he must get vengeance.
I don’t know what Wesley Snipes does these days, but I miss him and would love to see him on the action movie screen again. If it did work out, John Wick would have been a pretty awesome way to re-introduce himself to the action movie scene. Almost as if the whole “retired to get married and support my dying wife” subplot at the beginning would just replace Snipes’ actual “I went to prison for tax fraud” life narrative.
Brian Bosworth, if you’re reading this, you need to make another action movie! Soon! I’m a big fan of The Boz, and generally really loved his action movie exploits like Stone Cold (which you can read about here) and One Man’s Justice (which you can read about here).
I also really felt for him in the ESPN 30-for-30 documentary about him and how he’s atoned for his outlandish past to become a pretty grounded guy and great father.
He’s also starred in a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign by Dr. Pepper about a college football town (sorry non-USA readers), that leaves me always wanting to see him take another stab at the action movie world. John Wick – or something similar – would be a great vehicle for him to flex his action chops once again in a tight story that doesn’t require any serious acting. Just badass action!
Have any other action movie legends that you’d love to see in a John Wick-style role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page!