Is John Wick Steampunk?

Is John Wick Steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key elements of the movie in order to decide whether it meets the criteria in order to be classified as steampunk or not. If not, does it fit into one of the other punk aesthetics? Let’s find out. 

Before we get into whether John Wick is steampunk or not, let’s look at what the film is about to get a flavor as to whether it is steampunk or not. 

Movie Title: John Wick

Studio: Summit Entertainment, Thunder Road Pictures, 87Eleven

Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch

Story By: Derek Kolstad

Release Date: October 24, 2014 (United States)

Main Actors: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen

Synopsis: John Wick is a former assassin, now retired and living with his wife, Helen. Knowing she is dying, Helen buys Wick a dog to help him come to terms with her death which she knows is coming.

However, when the Russian mob prince, Losef Tarasov, pays Wick an unwelcome visit to steal his prized 1969 Mustang. Wicks wifeis present at the home invasion and sadly Losef kills the dog.

Wick is forced to unearth his concealed identity, hopefully for one last time.

What Makes a Movie Steampunk?

Before we answer the question, is John Wick steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key characteristics of a steampunk movie.

There are a number of elements that need to combine in order to classify a movie as steampunk. 

Check out our in depth guide as to what makes a movie steampunk for more information on this. Whether something fits into the steampunk genre or not is a topic that is always up for hot debate in the forums

As steampunk sadly never existed, there is no history to check the validity against, however, there is some faux pas that means that something is clearly not steampunk

Things such as this we would class as being ‘steampunk inspired’, i.e. they don’t traditionally conform to the steampunk genre, but they have taken elements from it to inspire them. 

As a quick recap, we’ve lined up our top 10 elements to look out for in a steampunk movie.

If you’re interested in learning more about steampunk, check out our article, ‘What is Steampunk?’, which will take you through the history, influences, fashions, gadgets and much more. 

Top 10 Things to Look Out for In a Steampunk Movie

  1. The Use of Steam – In steampunk, electricity has never been invented, everything is mechanical and powered by steam. This means that if you can see digital machinery in a movie, it isn’t traditional steampunk, therefore it may be classified as ‘steampunk inspires’  
  2. Steam Powered Vehicles – In steampunk movies, as with the above, you will only see vehicles powered by steam, cars, ships, and even submarines.
  3. Airships – Airships are popular within the steampunk genre – again, mechanically powered.  
  4. Set In Victorian Era or an Alternative History – Steampunk is set in either the Victorian Era (19th Century), or in an alternative, future, occasionally depicted as a ‘wild west’ setting. 
  5. The Clothing – Clothing can vary, but is normally focused around the fashions of Victorian England, or that of a colonial explorer. 
  6. Augmented Mechanical Humans – In steampunk, persons can normally be seen with mechanically replaced elements to their body, sometimes these are full replacements, other times, a mechanical exoskeleton.
  7. Gadgets & Gears – futuristic (mechanical) gadgets are common place in the steampunk genre. A personal favorite is a gun that mechanically springs from up a sleeve to the user’s hand, ready and poised for use. Gears can be seen throughout the steampunk genre, emphasizing the mechanical theme that is central to the aesthetic.  
  8. Time Travel – Time travel is no an essential component of steampunk, however, it can be seen in some steampunk works. Just remember that the time travel device needs to be mechanical and not digital/ electronic.
  9. The Paranormal – The paranormal is not traditional steampunk, however, the crossover between the genres is common. The villain in steampunk is normally a man made creation as opposed to being a mythical creature, demon, vampire, etc. 
  10. Advanced Technology – Technology that is advanced for its time is a standard theme throughout steampunk. The technology must be mechanical in nature, such as the analog computer.

If you’re interested in steampunk movies, why not check out our guide to the best steampunk movies, and see if you can find a new favorite?

So, let’s take a look, is John Wick steampunk?

What Elements of John Wick Are Steampunk?

Although often cited in forums as being a steampunk movie, I cannot see anything in this movie that would suggest that it fits into the steampunk genre.

What Elements of John Wick Are NOT Steampunk?

John Wick is set in the present time, and not the Victorian era, or an alternative reality as most steampunk movies are.

Everything else in the movie is in keeping with this – the fashion is present day as are the weapons used by the characters.

There is no augmentation or inventions and the whole demeanor of the movie is dark and not hopeful. Again, not in keeping with the steampunk genre.

The vehicles seem are all modern day and not run by steam, making it difficult for John Wick to be a steampunk movie.

So, Overall Is John Wick Steampunk?

No, John Wick is not a steampunk movie. It is not set in the Victorian era, or an alternative reality, the fashion is not in keeping with Victorian style, nor are the weapons or the vehicles. Most importantly, steam is not used in the movie, all in all, suggesting that it is not steampunk. In my opinion, it fits better into the cyberpunk genre.

What are your thoughts? Is the movie John Wick steampunk? Let us know in the comments below what your opinion is and why.

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