James Bond is a legacy of British action, a pioneer and a hero for misogynists everywhere with a coat of paint slapped over top to give him that modern appeal, removing the tropes and cliches that bogged him down in the past. Wick, on the other hand, is a refreshing bad-ass that loves dogs and quite literally shot the patriarchy square in the head with the help of Halle Berry.
Action is moving forward – the icons of days gone by are withering away with franchises like Die Hard being cast aside whilst Fast and Furious slowly digs its own grave whilst shooting their own kneecaps out. In the stead of decaying old carcasses that refuse to give over, brilliance stems in the form of Keanu Reeves’ John Wick, a humbled man with a vengeance that doesn’t play on toxic masculine stereotypes. What more could you want?
That’s where James Bond lies. His legacy extends beyond that of Will Smith’s Bad Boys and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator and he has a history of being re-cast, solidifying him as the action Doctor Who. The flaws of his undying franchise aren’t quite as severe as the endless 80s and 90s sequels that refuse to stop or slow down, but his tenure is getting repetitive, hence the call for drastic change and alteration.
John Wick proves that new action heroes can be molded and popularised with the right director and the right amount of passion backing them
Why go for another white Bond, or even a male bond? Why not have a female or a black man take the role? Idris Elba is one name on many tongues. However, I pose this – why spend all the time and effort re-branding and re-building a dead horse that’s been beaten so hard that the cricket bat has broken when John Wick proves that new action heroes can be molded and popularised with the right director and the right amount of passion backing them?
The simple answer is that the name alone sells. James Bond reels in tickets and nostalgia is a major factor with old stories being re-told and old villains being brought back from their shallow graves to sit in their chairs and stroke their fat cats to a new face with a new one of their own. Originality is a hard sell for moviegoers and big corporations like Disney know that.
Why will Wick stick?
The right actor with brilliant choreography, amped-up visuals and interesting directing plays a huge part. The R-Rating doesn’t go amiss either. John Wick will remain a name as iconic as other legends because of the bar that the films set with their fight sequences. That’s what it takes to make a new action hero sell and so perhaps, going forward into the new decade, it’s time to break old habits and bring in some new icons to reinvigorate a genre plagued by tropes, cliches, and endless sequels.
James Bond may have great new films backing him and people may enjoy the franchise and his place in British culture, so getting rid of him altogether isn’t the suggestion, but rather than reworking and altering his persona, why not push him out of the limelight with some new stars and some new bars? It’s time for a world of Wicks – new heroes, great representation and even better standards.
Last modified: 13th March 2020