Mandatory Movie Battles: Who Would Win in a Fight, John Wick or Neo?
Last month Stephen Colbert asked Keanu Reeves who would win in a fight: John Wick or Neo? It’s a question intrepid fans have debated the answer to ever since Reeves’ John Wick became as synonymous with his name as The Matrix. That said, it’s damn-near an impossible debate; not only is this true given their respective universes but because of the striking similarities between “The One” and “Baba Yaga”—they’d almost certainly grab a beer…err…red pill together.
As Reeves put it, “They wouldn’t fight…but maybe John Wick would try to help Thomas Anderson in the real world.” Many have theorized that John Wick and Neo are, in fact, the same person—complicating this even further. For the sake of said argument (and this listicle), we’re going to attempt to do the impossible; in this edition of Mandatory Movie Battles, we’re throwing John Wick and Neo in the same universe (The Matrix trilogy) and having them duke it out. No tricks, leveraging of love interests or puppies, just bullet time and, well, bullets.
Cover Photo: Lionsgate/Warner Bros.
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In the 'Real' World
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Neo is “The One” in the Matrix (where he can manipulate space and time), but outside of it he’s the same as you and me. John Wick, on the other hand, is an alpha assassin trained by the Russian mob. He doesn’t rely on programming and is virtually unbeatable—he no doubt possesses those same skills inside the Matrix as well (he could already be in it, it’s all a simulation right?), and those skills (without any downloads) are on an equal playing field with other freedom fighters/agents.
Winner: John Wick
There is one variable that could get Neo a slim chance outside the Matrix, but it's still a chance. Neo can control sentinels/machines and see even when blinded. This is presumably (who understood those last two movies anyway?) because, after meeting with the Architect, Neo became connected to the same source/singular consciousness as all of the machines. In the same way that he can manipulate the Matrix, he can control machines (to an extent). Appropriate for a former computer hacker. So, Neo could turn John Wick’s cellphone against him or bring a drone down on his head...who knows. That deserves at least a point.
The John Wick franchise basically paints its protagonist as the greatest marksman who ever lived. He’s as good, if not better than everyone/everything Neo has encountered in the Matrix. John Wick takes on round after round of the High Table’s best operatives with a masterful and unparalleled use of firearms.
Winner: John Wick
Neo: "What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?"
Morpheus: "No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to."
So much for the Boogeyman being an unparalleled marksman.
Kung Fu vs. Gun Fu
“He’s fast.” When Thomas Anderson/Neo first gets unplugged from the Matrix and then plugged into a training program, he gets every martial art downloaded into his brain. He’s mastered them in such a fashion that he’s able to match Morpheus’ speed after very little time on the job. If John Wick was inducted similarly to Neo, he could be just as good. However, under these circumstances, he’s just himself—a skilled fighter but one that can’t possibility master every form of combat imaginable as well as Neo without a little technological assistance.
John Wick is one durable guy; he’s been stabbed, battered, run over, and shot. Sequel after sequel, he gets back up and keeps fighting. If Rocky Balboa were an assassin, well, he still probably wouldn’t have the stamina of John Wick. Inside the Matrix, John Wick could probably even sustain more damage and fight longer than Neo (at least Neo before his climactic confidence boost in the first film), theoretically.
Once Neo embraced his identity as "The One," he became able to engage with the virtual reality program in a variety of ways. So...yeah, he can fly. Worms don't battle birds.
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Inside the Matrix, Neo is basically a God. Outside of the Matrix, John Wick is damn-near indestructible. That said, he’s still a man—Thomas Anderson aka Neo has a puncher’s chance (especially with his weird tech powers). John Wick could put up a fight, but he’s never winning in the virtual world against Neo.
Overall Winner: Neo
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