Action thriller John Wick has become one of the most popular movie franchises, with its fourth installment already in cinemas.
Many fans love especially the charismatic lead Keanu Reeves, who portrays the titular hitman who abandoned the criminal life after meeting the love of his life. He, however, goes back to the game following her death, and after his car was stolen and his puppy was murdered.
But just as the multiverse fad goes, what if the fictional Belarus-born assassin has a real-life counterpart somewhere, at least in terms of chin-length haircut, beard, mustache, black suit, rugged face, and brooding look?
Well, such a John exists in none other than the Philippines. John Weak, that is.
Facebook user Reneir Fetalvo hailing from Laguna recently went viral when he posted a selfie captioned, "Alis muna me hahaha."
A majority of users reacted with laughs and branded him as "John Weak." Using Mr. Wick's moniker Baba Yaga or The Boogeyman, more flippant netizens also called Reneir "Babayag" and its derivatives, in an apparent reference to testicles in Filipino.
Reneir, however, is a good sport. He embraced the chaffing and even made a separate Facebook page sharing more John Weak content and celebrating memes about him. In that regard, like Mr. Wick, one can say that he's a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will.
"Nabigla ako at 'di makapaniwala na magiging viral ang selfie ko," Reneir told PhilSTAR L!fe.
His cosplaying proved to be effective, with other netizens making separate posts revolving around elements of the John Wick universe that supposedly have Philippine counterparts.
For one, the franchise's gold coin used as underworld currency is none other than a P20 coin. Its Continental hotel that serves as refuge for assassins is, apparently, the famed ubiquitous red motel (in)famous for its high, uh, body count.
The 30-year-old, who previously worked as a cashier in a restaurant, said he loves cosplaying, attributing it to his love of watching anime and movies since he was a kid.
Reneir has dressed up as the pirate Vinsmoke Sanji of One Piece, ninja Naruto Uzumaki of Naruto, and trainer Ash Ketchum of Pokémon.
He has also portrayed female characters, like the titular superheroine Sailor Moon, as well as Chun-Li and Lili of fighting games Street Fighter and Tekken, respectively.
Reneir said he has won cash prizes and other awards for his work. Moreover, his family is supportive of his cosplaying hobby, noting it's one of the things that make him happy in life. He's also into computer and mobile games, though only casually.
The characters Reneir portrays resonate with him. Sanji, for one, is calm and collected even in the face of atrocity. The character is also a chef, which Reneir said he's taking inspiration from as he tries to learn how to cook.
As for Mr. Wick, it's precisely Keanu who Reneir idolizes due to the actor's humility and wholesomeness.
Keanu has since made the rounds online for posing with several women yet doesn't touch or hold them. Many fans commended him for being so respectful when it comes to women's bodies and personal spaces.
At a recently concluded convention, a fan shouted "You're breathtaking" at Keanu, to which he quickly returned the favor to the fan and called everybody else in the room breathtaking.
While he may have trended as a meme, Reneir is elated that opportunities are already coming to him. He said he was tapped by a few businesses for endorsements, like a technology service center and a minor restaurant.
In fact, he was just invited as a VIP guest during John Wick: Chapter 4's premiere night in the Philippines on March 21. He went to the event in full John Weak attire, with a prop gun to boot and doing side grips à la Baba Yaga.
This weekend, he'll be in Manila for a shooting. (Not the Mr. Wick kind of shooting, mind you.)
Reneir is grateful for the newfound fame, saying it has helped boost his self-esteem.
As for those who are making unnecessary remarks about him, he won't pull off a Baba Yaga on them, of course. He wished them well and still thanked them, noting that it's just the nature of Filipinos to be fond of jokes.
"Salamat pa rin," he said, "dahil 'di ako magva-viral kundi dahil sa kanila."