Movie franchises where a middle-aged actor plays a retired ass-kicker who comes out of retirement to kick some more ass have formed their own dependably profitable niche at the box office. The first “Equalizer” movie hit theaters the same year that Liam Neeson’s Brian Mills took his final bow in “Taken 3,” which was also the year that Keanu Reeves made his debut as John Wick. This year has already seen “John Wick: Chapter 4” take the box office by storm with a $73.8 million opening weekend and a final worldwide total of $426.5 million.
The fourth “John Wick” and the third “Equalizer” have something else in common: a painful experience caused by Europe’s love of stairs. Speaking to Empire magazine earlier this year, Washington and Fuqua were asked about their experiences filming in Italy. The main thing that stuck with them?
Antoine Fuqua: It’s all steps.
Washington: I’m rubbing my knees now, just talking about it. You should have come to the set to interview us, me and Antoine trying to go down the steps sideways: stone steps with bad knees.
Fuqua: Seven hundred steps.
Washington: Seven hundred steps! Downhill.
Fuqua: There was a lot of ice going on.
Washington: Oh man, a lot of ice.
“John Wick: Chapter 4” was supposedly Reeves’ final outing as John Wick, just as “The Equalizer 3” is theoretically Washington’s last appearance at Robert McCall. But perhaps they can one day team up, Avengers-style, to take those stairs down once and for all.