Welcome back to 30 Seconds of Wick. We’re headed back to the beginning, to the first real fight of the movie.
I call this fight the Siege of Castle Wick. It’s gun heavy but still very interesting for the (at the time) unusual way they integrated the gun work into the hand to hand combat. Guns are not my area of expertise though I am a good shot at the range. (There is a website called the Internet Movie Firearms Database www.imfdb.org for those interested in breakdowns of the weaponry.) John appears to be using a Heckler & Koch P30L for this scene; those were the guns seen in the case he unearthed from under the cement in his house a few minutes before this scene begins.
Up until this moment we’ve been TOLD John Wick is the supreme killer of this world. We’ve been SHOWN that his very name invokes fear into hardened mob bosses.
Now, for the first time we SEE him in action.
We’ll start at 29:29, so that we can begin with the invocation of ‘Baba Yaga’ by Viggo. John has suited up and picked up his hand gun from the same counter as his wife’s jewelry and his dog’s collar.
(Incidentally, Baba Yaga is a mythical character in Eastern European folklore, a witch of immense and unquantified powers. ‘Baba’ roughly means grandmother and ‘Yaga’ is likely a diminutive of the female name Jadwiga or possibly derived from the old Russian verb ‘yagat’: to abuse, to find fault.
Her name does not mean Bogeyman. But I get why they use it.)
John emerges briefly from the shadows, looking calm and resolute. There are at least three assassins in his immediate vicinity.
It begins. First man is down with a single shot.
Next — and this kind of thing is one reason I’m glad I’m doing this series — I registered something I hadn’t noticed before. Of the three grouped assassins, John kills the first one, seems to shoot the guy in the middle while grabbing his gun and then the guy furthest to the right falls down.
On re-watch I realized I’d been confused by the camera angle this whole time. He has the drop on the first guy, head shot. Second shot is to the leg of the guy on the right, the guy who is turning towards him with a live weapon, forcing him to fall. With hand control of the middle assassin’s weapon arm we get two shots, body to head and then a Coup de grâce head shot on the man he shot in the leg. Wick nearly always does that to anyone who isn’t downed by a head shot in the first instance.
As the third man falls down the stairs, John head shots number four, vaults the railing and two shot kills number five.
At this point it’s both obvious and assumed that John Wick knows the layout of his house so perfectly he knows exactly where every assassin will be or is likely to be.
Turn off the tactical flashlight.
We end at 29:59 after John has reloaded and yet another one of the assassins has just given away his position by waving a flashlight around.
That’s six kills with 10 bullets so I’m assuming his pistol is a nine round magazine with one in the barrel at the beginning of the scene.
One of the truisms of combat is that calm conveys mastery. If you see someone moving with deliberate, evenly-paced motion in a combat situation it generally means they have done what they are doing enough times to acclimate to the inevitable adrenaline rush.
At no moment in this opening salvo does John Wick appear hurried. Even in moments when he is clearly not precisely certain what is going on he is calm, smooth, fearless. He walks towards armed assailants without hesitation.
After being told how dangerous John Wick is, the movie is now showing us proof.
Next Week: Chapter 3 Grappling With the Issues https://tgshepherd.com/2019/06/14/30-seconds-of-wick-chapter-3-grappling/