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Face-Off: Jason Bourne vs. John Wick

02.14.2017by: Matt Rooney

**Potential spoilers for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO below**

Welcome back to Face-Off, ladies and germs. This is the exclusive JoBlo segment where we pit two worthy foes against each other to see who can come out the victor. This normally involves a lot of blood, tar, chicken feathers, horseshoes, whips, chains, ball gags, mockery, sandals with socks, bleach and good ol' fashioned waterboarding. The one who can endure the most wins it all, and with it eternal glory.

On that note, I cannot think of two more worthy combatants to go up against each other this segment, as they're two characters who've been to hell and back, and looked badass doing it: Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and John Wick (Keanu Reeves). Both are super-skilled killers with checkered pasts, but who just want to start life anew. But just when the two think they're out, someone pulls them back in. Oh, and someone will regret pulling them back in.

Today we will examine all the things that make these characters unique and worthy of their status in the action movie canon, and with it we will experience fond memories of all their kills and thrills. These two men will never fight on-screen, so this is the next best thing.

LEADING MAN
Damon was coming off hot with movies like GOOD WILL HUNTING, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, TALENTED MR. RIPLEY and OCEAN'S ELEVEN when he was cast as Jason Bourne, and since then he has gone on to ride an unending career wave. He has the likeability of Tom Hanks and a shelf of awards including an Oscar for best original screenplay (HUNTING). The BOURNE movies are only one of his major claims to fame, but since the success of the first movie Damon has never left the A-list, or our hearts.
Reeves is a Hollywood legend, no doubt. He started his career with the BILL & TED movies, but broke out with action thrillers and some attempts at drama. His dramatic works haven’t gotten him as much attention as his action flicks, like POINT BREAK, SPEED and THE MATRIX, but those movies alone have earned him a place in all our hearts. Until the first JOHN WICK he hadn’t done too much in recent years to live up to the heights we all knew he could reach (THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, anyone?) but WICK has brought him roaring back and we thank the fish monster in the sky every day for it.
CINEMATIC ORIGINS
We meet Jason Bourne in THE BOURNE IDENTITY as he’s drifting in the ocean, seemingly dead. He’s then picked up by a fishing vessel (or some other kind of vessel, I don’t know) and he wakes up to discover he has no memory. After spending some time on said boat he begins his journey to reclaim his identity (NOW do you get the title?!), discovering he is actually a super-secret spy with a billion passports and Spider-Man reflexes. Basically, given the amnesia thing, it’s a soap opera with fists.
When we meet Wick he's nothing more than a grieving widow who just buried his wife after she suffered from a prolonged terminal illness. He then receives a puppy left to him by said wife, and he begins to try and move on. Then some ruffians steal his car and kill his dog, and thus we learn this was the wrong man to car-jack-pet-kill. Hence the fuse was lit, and we’re introduced to the real John Wick.
LOOK
Jason Bourne has the typical spy-on-the-run wardrobe thing going on, minus the baseball cap and sunglasses. He’s always ready to run in loose-fitting clothes, and for brisk weather with some kind of jacket or sweater. He’s a badass spy, but also a sensible dresser. Unmemorable, but sensible. Is it just me, or did he wear a lot of turtle necks too?
John Wick does in fact have a trademark style thanks to some slick suits. Cloaked in black like a murderous Johnny Cash, Wick bashes brains with a two or three-piece suit that makes anyone on a red carpet look like a train-jumping hobo. He is literally dressed to kill. Plus, like a Batman's costume in the Arkham games, his duds (and he himself) get torn and demolished as the movie progresses. He can afford it too, what with all them gold coins.
FIGHTING STYLE
Bourne knows how throw down. He’s fast, fierce and precise, and can take down his enemies before they even realize they got their ass kicked by the BAGGER VANCE guy. Like any good government killer he plans his moves meticulously, but can get dirty if a baddie surprises him by crashing through a window. His fight scenes are always entertaining, but after a while you know how they’re going to play out. Bourne may take a few hits, but he can punch his way back into control within seconds.
Wick has a rough and tumble, balls-to-the-wall brutal, method of fighting. He just throws himself in and figures it out as he goes along. His tenacity is unmatched. As well, one of the great aspects of Wick is that in a lot of ways he’s presented like a John McClane, every-man figure, despite being a world-class assassin. By that I mean that in any scenario he can easily lose the upper hand and get his ass kicked, like an average guy who happens to know kung-fu. In the first movie alone we see him get into a few scrapes where the fight scenes looks like it’s pretty even-handed, and we wait in blood-lusty anticipation to see him gain the upper hand. Take the one-shot sequence in the first movie, when he’s finishing off the final guy in his home, and they’re wrestling each other through the hallway before Wick has to bash the dude’s knife into his chest. Obviously we know Wick will end up on top, but getting there is always a back-and-forth tussle, which makes his brawler style all the more intoxicating to watch.
MOVIES
REPUTATION
Bourne is considered one of the deadliest and best killers in the game. His tenacity and skills know no bounds, and whenever the CIA or whatever agency gets a blip of him on their radar, everyone in the room shits their britches. A terrorist attack could’ve leveled Somalia, but when Jason Bourne is on the move the government couldn't care less.
Until he retired to spend his life with his wife (rhyme!), John Wick was known as Baba Yaga—or Boogeyman. But this was not because he was the Boogeyman. No, this was because he was the guy you sent to kill the [email protected] Boogeyman. Like Bourne, the second you know he’s on the move its britches shittin’ time.
DISTINGUISHABLE MOMENTS OF BADASSERY

BOURNE IDENTITY

Cop beat down.

Rumble in the embassy.

Fight where he stabs the dude in the hand with a pen.

Chase in the old-looking Mini.

Hunting down Clive Owen.

Climax in the stairwell.

BOURNE SUPREMACY

Chokes a dude with a telephone cord.

Train dodge!

BOURNE ULTIMATUM

Aiding Paddy Considine through the airport.

Whipping some thugs who try to sneak up on him in the night.

Motorbike chase...

...that leads to a rooftop chase...

...that leads to a sick apartment beatdown.

Steals a cop car for a sweet chase in NYC.

Playing dead in the water...sneaky sneaky.

JASON BOURNE

Knocks guy out with single elbow blow.

Apartment fight featuring exercise weights and table legs.

JOHN WICK

Barreling his Mustang through the airfield.

Taking down some home invaders.

Night club raid.

HEADSHOTS!!

Whopping Adrianne Palicki.

Church assault.

Church parking lot shoot-out.

Church rumble, and then catching up to Viggo (Michael Nyqvist).

Sweet revenge against Viggo's son.

Final climax and chase in shipping yard.

He takes Viggo's knife, sticks it in himself, and then pulls it out to use against him!!

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

Bashing fools with his Mustang.

Gets run over by cars, but keeps on kickin' ass.

Rome concert rampage.

Gun fight in the catacombs, and uses ALL his weapons like a champ.

HEADSHOTS!!!

Cars Between Us feat. Common.

John takes on the assassins.

John vs. Common, Part 2.

Rampage through the museum.

Kills D'Antonio, cuz [email protected] the rules.
John Wick

I walked into this bout thinking it would be more evenly matched. Matt Damon's take on Jason Bourne has created a legacy in the action world that stands out from similar characters, like James Bond (various fancy gentlemen) and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise). His movies too (sans the somewhat disappointing JASON BOURNE) make up a consistently satisfying, thrilling action series that never forgets to put the character first. However, when next to Wick, he can feel a bit dated. There is something special about John Wick. It's not just his cool demeanor or brutal skills, but also his utter believeability in the otherwise unique world the movies live in. While Bourne walks out of all his movies with barely some scratches, Wick takes beating after beating and comes back for more, only to be left limping to the next set piece, where he still has perfect aim. He is a man of cunning, tenacity, ferocity and style, and he's complemented with two of the best action movies in recent memory. JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 continues the franchise on it's upward trend, and hopefully the third movie solidifies the character's place among the action gods.

Who's your favorite action superstar?

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