Rogue Vs. Rogue Week: John Wick Vs. Jason Bourne

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by Daniel Dockery

The “Killer Js,” as no one in the entertainment world calls them, are John Wick and Jason Bourne, two rogues primarily known for knocking in faces and looking rad while they do it. But, because deep down inside, we are all fourth graders on a playground, WHO WOULD WIN IF THEY FOUGHT? Can Jason Bourne survive the onslaught of the Baba Yaga? Or will John Wick crumble under the power of America’s Supporting Actor Matt Damon? Ring the bell and let’s find out.

 
 

Motivation

We hate to spoil something you’ve probably already learned from memes, but John Wick decides to leap back into action after a bunch of mobsters kill his dog. And because sadness is everywhere and unstoppable, this dog had been given to John to help him cope with the loss of his wife. But mostly it’s the dog thing.

Jason Bourne, on the other hand, needs to figure out why a bunch of organizations, including the CIA, want him dead. Tuesdays, am I right? Anyway, it turns out that Bourne was a former CIA operative that knows too much and now has to be taken out of the picture. So Bourne’s motivation is getting back at shadowy organizations and not being killed by those same shadowy organizations. Really puts that dog thing in perspective.

The Round Goes To ...

Wick has better motivation. Come on, it’s a puppy that got assassinated. If you watched a YouTube video of a dog with so much as sad eyes, you’d have to be restrained from hunting down the owner and crotch kicking them into the fetal position. Plus, John Wick goes right back into action after the tragic passing of his dog. Bourne starts his movies with amnesia, so he spends a decent chunk of time not shooting for any kind of revenge or revenge-esque activities ... he, instead, just wonders who he is and where he came from. John Wick would win simply because he knows his own name.

 Summit Entertainment

Summit Entertainment

And that name is Johnny Dogvengeance.

Skills

At first glance, John Wick’s skills seem to include roughly everything. He’s great at hand to hand combat, even better at using firearms, and he’s remarkably solid at wielding the quiet, pleasant charisma of Keanu Reeves. He’s basically every Keanu Reeves character shaved down to only their most awesome elements. However, he’s not a John Wayne hero, where he’s the best at everything all the time, no matter what. For example, in the first film, he gets his butt handed to him by another assassin (buttbuttin?) and is then unceremoniously dropped in the middle of a club dance floor, which is both an ass kicking and everyone’s worst prom fear all rolled into one.

Though the shaky camerawork in The Bourne Ultimatum may fool you, Jason Bourne is also pretty talented. He’s solid with guns and fightin’, but his real talent lies in getting from Point A to Point B with the appropriate amount of stealth and/or rad motorcycle action.

The Round Goes To ...

Jason Bourne is the guy you hire when your road trip needs more punching for some reason. You hire John Wick when you’re staying in on a rainy weekend, but find yourself haunted by ninjas. So it’s really an apples and kung fu bananas type of deal. However, one on one, Wick takes it again. Jason Bourne is really great at being a really great human in a really great way. John Wick, on the other hand, can be an angel of death, descending in a really fresh suit to murder you in front of aesthetically pleasing backgrounds.

 Summit Entertainment

Summit Entertainment

Murders awash in pretty lights are kind of his thing.

The Challenges They've Faced

It’s weird to say that one middle aged actor is the spring chicken when compared to another middle aged actor, but we’ve only gotten two movies’ worth of John Wick. And sure, he went through some grueling stuff in those movies, but that’s still less than four total hours of John Wick showing off all of his moves and letting us know that he’s around for the long haul. It probably won’t happen, but there’s still a chance that John Wick is gonna pull a Dark Knight Rises and end John Wick Part 3 with “I’m done being John Wick. Gonna go live somewhere else. Anyway, it’s the legend of John Wick that’s more important than the man inside the awesome jacket. Someone else go be John Wick. Oh, and you have to call yourself that: John Wick. Otherwise it doesn’t work.”

On the other hand, there have been FIFTEEN Jason Bourne novels. In them, he’s traveled across every inch of the globe, stopping terrorists, government agencies, criminal organizations and the closing of your local Books-A-Million. Jason Bourne can now spin a globe, put his finger down randomly, and be like, “You know, I may have prevented a war there. No biggie. Also, I may have stopped that place from erupting into endless violence. But again, don’t thank me. Thank my sweet moves.”

The Round Goes To ...

Bourne takes this one, as that dude is rugged. You get exhausted just reading his Wikipedia page. Sorry, John. We know that you’ve thrown down in clubs and parties and hotels, but you’re just not global enough. Blame that on your marketing team, really.

 Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

I call this my boom monocle.””

The Rogue-iest Rogue

The archetypal modern rogue is probably Han Solo. He’s charming, cocky, fallible, marches to the beat of his own drum, comes through for his friends, and is ready for battle even when he’s experiencing hibernation sickness. He’s the rogue that every rogue is compared to, so it’s weird when you find two rogues like Jason Bourne and John Wick who don’t seem to have much in common with him. So what rogue traits DO they have?

Well, they both definitely do their own thing, regardless of what the people around them think. Whether it’s John Wick ending a movie by basically declaring war on an entire world’s worth of assassins, or Jason Bourne just wanting to escape the clutches of the government, they’re both desperately trying to remain free of the constraints that consistently follow them.

We can’t really call either of them charming, but we can say that they are cool under pressure. A good rogue doesn’t freak out and put his pals in danger when the going gets tough, and that totally applies to both Wick and Bourne. They don’t pee their britches, is what I’m trying to say.

A good rogue is also adaptable. Marching to the beat of your own drum doesn’t mean that you can’t change up the tune every once in a while. Bourne probably wants to work alone, but if he has to perform an escort mission, he’s open to it. And John Wick wants to sit at home and pet his dog, but when the almighty hand of vengeance knocks on his door, he invites it in for tea.

The Round Goes To ...

Bourne wins here, if only because he seems to be more open to teamwork. Yes, a rogue should strive to be self sufficient, and John Wick hasn’t been approached by many people who want to start up a Legion of Doom. But a rogue who refuses to help anyone or work with anyone is just a jerk.

 Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Good thing the contest isnt about who wears the blackest clothes.

Their Coolest Scene

You want a purely distilled example of what makes John Wick so great? It’s probably this scene from the first film, which opens with some casual bathroom murder, moves on to some less casual hot tub violence, transitions to dance floor menacing, and concludes with VIP table punishment. It’s like watching someone do a speed run of a John Wick video game, only to flub up at the end and get tossed off a balcony.

 
 

Most cool Jason Bourne scenes tend to take place when Jason Bourne has to get the hell out of somewhere, so it’s a treat whenever he gets to actually rumble. The fight scene between Bourne and Desh is shot in the exact opposite way from the John Wick scene above: It mostly takes place in one apartment, the camerawork is a spastic blend of swerves and shivers, and it has far, far fewer mobsters being assassinated. Yet, it manages to be a broken glass ballad.

 
 

Nice parkour, Desh. The dude manages to escape a wrist hold by just flipping over it. It’s like two people playing a fighting game, but the only button they ever learned was the one for counters.

The Round Goes To ...

John Wick is awesome, but a lot of his action beats come off as cleaner versions of things you saw in movies like The Raid, which is 50% elbow strikes and 50% Indonesian stuntmen screaming. On the other hand, the Bourne series tried to move American action scenes away from the more cartoonish style seen in James Bond films, only to be then outdone by the latest wave of “realistic” modern James Bond films. But overall, the winner has to be John Wick. American action films have the “frenetic, close quarters, what’s-going-on fight scene” down. The John Wick extended fight sequence is something that they’re still trying to master.

So Wick gets a point if only for ingenuity.

 Summit Entertainment

Summit Entertainment

And this thing.

The Winner

JOHN WICK beats JASON BOURNE 3-2.

It was a tough struggle, because while John Wick is definitely the cooler of the two, Jason Bourne has experience on his side. Luckily, one of the questions wasn’t “Whose novel are you more likely to find on the rack at a grocery store?” because if it was, Bourne would’ve swept this.

Like this article? Check out The Top 10 Greatest Rogues In Hollywood History and Which President Would Win In A Real Life Game Of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds?

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