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7 Things We Learned About The Crazy Assassin Economy In "John Wick"

They've got their own hotel, cash, and gossipy community. The unionizers in Grosse Pointe Blank have nothing on the folks at the Continental.

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1. When you're part of the underground crime world, YOU ARE PART OF THE UNDERGROUND CRIME WORLD.

David Lee/Summit Entertainment

John Wick is a movie about how its title character, played by Keanu Reeves, takes gleefully violent revenge on what might be scientifically designated a shit-ton of Russian gangsters after one of them kills the puppy given to him by his late wife. But more than that, it's a movie that takes the whole "one last job/retired/I got out" theme to its extreme end.

Plenty of movies suggest there's brisk business to be had for highly trained professional killers, but John Wick offers up a highly entertaining portrait of a deeply involved and surprisingly organized criminal underground that apparently demands full commitment — one that John left when he met the woman he married. "Have you returned to the fold?" "You working again?" everyone asks when they see him after an apparent five-year absence in the real world. It's just like when you go back to visit an old office, except with more people trying to murder you.

2. Crime is based in New York, regular life is based in New Jersey.

David Lee/Summit Entertainment

Tony Soprano might take issue, but the Garden State is portrayed as a relatively idyllic realm of normals in John Wick — a place where John can live in a lovely modern house and do some stunt driving at the local airfield for fun. It takes a chance run-in with baby gangster Iosef Tarasov (Game of Thrones' Alfie Allen), who's on his way back from a job in Atlantic City and takes a shine to John's car, to pull John back to the dark side — which is centered in New York. One of the understated jokes of the movie is that no one's really seen John since he went straight, but that all it took to drop out of the scene was moving a short drive away to New Jersey.

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3. The assassin world is based around a tasteful boutique hotel in Manhattan.

Lionsgate

In John Wick, any assassin who's anyone stays at the Continental, which is owned by Winston (Ian McShane) and overseen by an unflappable manager whose name, according to IMDb, is Charon (Lance Reddick). It has everything a professional killer might need — discretion, quiet rooms, and an on-call doctor to stitch up wounds.

4. The Continental's basically one giant ongoing assassin conference.

Lionsgate

John acknowledges former colleagues in the lobby and hallways with nods of "Perkins" (Adrianne Palicki) and "Harry" (Clarke Peters) — he's not a talky guy, but he's a popular one. Killing in the hotel is against the rules (all pros here), but there's also an assassin-only bar in which no one's allowed to do business, raising the question of what everyone there's actually talking about — who's dating whom? Sports?

5. Assassins have their own currency.

Lionsgate

Everything in their world, from body cleanup to hotel check-ins, is paid for in gold coins. Not the most convenient currency in the world, but stylish — John keeps his handily buried under concrete, like his dark, dark past.

6. The assassins take their code very seriously.

David Lee/Lionsgate

The Continental is an unexpectedly orderly place for a business apparently entirely supported by professional killers. We never learn how one gets membership to the Continental, but we do see that its rules are expected to be followed, and that breaking them comes with consequences.

7. There's an old guard and some brattier newcomers.

David Lee/Lionsgate

Like every system of venerable traditions, John Wick's criminal economy has an old guard consisting of the likes of John, his old colleague Marcus (Willem Dafoe), and his former employer Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist). Then there's the terrible younger generation with their disruptions and their lack of respect — like Ms. Perkins and Iosef, a privileged princeling who has no idea what he's stepping in when he robs John, who as far as he knows is a "nobody." Kids these days — it's like they were never indoctrinated into a secret system of assassin doubloons and a creepily close community of professional killers in the first place!

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