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The Gold Coin in ‘John Wick’ Is Like Real Organized Crime

Both John Wick and its sequel manoeuver on two levels : On the come on, they are balls-to-the-wall action movies about what happens when a serviceman seeks bloody retaliation. But just below that, they ’ re besides stylized portraits about a lifelong penis of an organized crime syndicate attempting to free himself from its complect web. And that is peculiarly unmanageable because the John Wick population suggests that the populace its main character inhabits has a mysterious insular framework. It ’ s all dictated by a sense of loyalty, unregulated currencies, and a singular code of behave. It ’ s a sharpen reality, but the Keanu Reeves-led global might not be besides different from real-life organized crime. To get to the penetrate of what makes the Wick underworld tick, we spoke with Yuliya Zabyelina, an assistant Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Zabyelina specializes in black markets, informal economies, and multinational organized crime, aka everything John Wick is about .

Criminal Currency

In John Wick ’ sulfur world, everything from hotel check-ins to bespoke cut is paid for in gold coins. It ’ south got to be a pain in the ass to lug around heavy doubloons for every possible transaction, but Zabyelina sees them as a representation of the condemnable underworld as a whole.

While gold coins aren ’ metric ton used by organized crime for payments these days, she said, “ Those coins represent the code of behave they use to regulate the activities of criminal organizations. ” You have a currency, and you have legitimate rules regardless of whether those coins have actual rate or not. But the coins as literal forms of payment aren ’ t excessively far off, either. Zabyelina explained real criminals have particular, old-school ways to pay for services. “ sometimes they pay in favors. sometimes they use diamonds, ” she said. “ Those are little and easy to conceal. Criminal organizations besides obviously love cash because there international relations and security network ’ metric ton a composition chase. There are besides cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. ”

Contract Killers

Wick shows commitment to the ring of assassins based at the Continental in New York, but he ’ sulfur primarily a killer whale for hire. The larger universe introduced in the sequel posits these interconnect assassins operating on a shared code of behavior, but they could well turn based on the highest bidder. chapter 2 sees Wick forced to go to Italy to knock off a member of the Camorra, a detail Zabyelina sees as none excessively far from reality. “ John Wick is a freelance, so the film addresses commons fears among national security experts because it shows that criminals in different organizations can cooperate, ” she explained. Despite the fact that Wick is driven by a classify of personal vengeance, she said the films accurately show that condemnable organizations can make bloody peace.

Blood Oaths and Markers

While the original film ’ sulfur inciting incident was the murder of Wick ’ s beloved pooch, chapter 2 uses Wick ’ s own organized crime allegiances against him. After getting retaliation on Viggo Tarasov, Wick returns to his suburban New Jersey dwelling to live out the remainder of his days in peace. But an assassin companion named Santino returns with what in Wick parlance is called a Marker. Wick swore a blood oath to help out Santino, pressing his blood-stained fingerprint on a emblematic silver medallion, and the weasel soon comes to collect a favor in reappearance. Like the coin concept, Zabyelina saw the reality in the themes behind the Marker rather than the actual thing. “ Everybody who joined would have to follow the rules, ” she said. “ The criminal world is run by confidence and reputation. If you don ’ metric ton trust members of your organization, you won ’ metric ton be able to function successfully. When trust is broken, violence comes into play. ” Real-world organized crime is all about money, but as in Wick, it besides functions like a kind of killer brotherhood. Their way of life functions entirely on understanding the importance of syndicate, entrust, and affinity .

John Wick Himself

Wick is a classical anti-hero. This guy is the deadliest man in the world, has murdered untold amounts of people, and yet we weep for him when his dog dies ( and this was before A Dog ’ s Purpose even came out in theaters ). The movie infers that organized crime international relations and security network ’ t inherently bad by making the audience love the organized crime number. We respect him for what he suffers through in the fabricated world, and, by extension, in the real worldly concern besides.

Zabyelina agreed with this assessment, but connected it with the complex contend substantial criminals have to go through when trying to leave the business. You can ’ t fair leave organized crime when you please, she said, citing the japanese Yakuza as an exemplar. “ many members try to have tattoos removed from their body, or get prosthetic fingers, ” she said. Zabyelina referred to the Yakuza method acting of “ Yubitsume ” in which members cut off little finger fingers to atone for their actions in organized crime. “ Some even resort to checkup surgeries to try and hide their disfigurement. When asked about Wick ’ randomness sacrifice, she plainly responded, “ It ’ s not then easy to exit the criminal world. ”

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