The Influence of Silent Cinema on the ‘John Wick’ Franchise

Keanu Reeves = modern-day Buster Keaton?

Keanu Reeves = modern-day Buster Keaton?

John Wick Chapter 2 opens in a slightly odd way for a hyper-adrenalized action film: the very first thing we see in the film is a large apartment building in a metropolitan area on which there are black-and-white images projected. Not just any images though, these are scenes from Buster Keaton’s iconic silent film The General, which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Wick franchise.

Or does it?

According to Chad Stahelski, the director of both Wick flicks and in reference to the second film: “we stole all this from silent movie people.” Say what?

But the more you start to think about it, the more it makes a strange kind of sense, at least according to Mr. Nerdista, whose latest fascinating essay explores the influence of silent cinema on the John Wick franchise. To whet your appetite, consider this: Keanu Reeves, as an actor, isn’t the most effective at delivering dialogue, and as a result his theatrical style is more based on movement, timing, gestures, and other such physical cues. Like Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and pretty much every other star of the silent era. Mind blown yet? This is just the tip of the iceberg. Click below for Nerdista’s astonishing conclusions, and prepare to re-evaluate the Wick franchise and in fact the entire career of Keanu Reeves.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist