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John will come for you, and you will do nothing because you can't do nothing, so get the fuck out of my sight!
~ Viggo Tarasov to his son Iosef.
I appreciate you giving my son a swift death. I wouldn't know how to reply to that either. Marcus betrayed me, and in so doing he broke the cardinal rule. So, John, I had no choice...
~ Viggo Tarasov calls Wick after having killed Marcus.

Viggo Tarasov is the main antagonist of the 2014 live action film, John Wick. He is a notorious Russian crime boss who is the head of the Tarasov family as well as Iosef Tarasov's father, and an enterprising businessman with questionable roots. He is also the former employer of John Wick.

He was portrayed by the late Swedish actor, Michael Nyqvist, who also played Nikola Kozlow and Kurt Hendricks.


Viggo Tarasov is first seen when he was talking to Aurelio about striking his son, Aurelio tells him why he struck Iosef because Iosef stole John Wick's car and killed his dog, Viggo was shocked on Aurelio's words and ended the call. Later, Viggo punches his son twice in the stomach after giving him a drink.

Viggo explains to Iosef who John was: John once his best hitman which he refers to him as the "Baba Yaga" or the Boogeyman. Viggo then tells Iosef that he saw John one time kill 3 men with a pencil but this changed when John met Helen and told Viggo that he met somebody which Viggo deduced of John meeting a woman and offered to John to do an "impossible task": killing all of his rivals in one night which he succeeds and led to the formation of the Tarasov syndicate. He then berates him for stealing John Wick's car as well killing his beagle puppy. Iosef tries to persuade his father to undo the things he committed but Viggo refused stating of the danger his son put himself in as John Wick starts to track Iosef and banished him from his presence.


Viggo is informed about what his son did

Viggo attempts to reason with John of seeking vengeance (via phone call) which he declines. Viggo then sends a squad to John's house to kill him but ended up being killed by John himself and had their bodies professionally removed. Out of options, Viggo later visits Marcus' home and personally offers him a contract with a bounty of $2 million on John which he accepts.

Upon learning that John had sought refuge on the Continental Hotel which had its rules forbidding killing in its premises, he immediately doubles the bounty for those who are willingly to break it and had his son Iosef secured at his nightclub, the Red Circle but not long before John storms the nightclub and attempts to kill Iosef but to no avail after Iosef's chief of security, Kirill and his henchmen waylaid him while Iosef flees.

As he discovered his cache of money and paraphernalia materials destroyed by an arson set by John at a church within a safe house which serves as his front upon a confession of a Orthodox priest which he quickly responds by executed him, Viggo then kidnaps John and holds him captive, He talks to John a little bit mocking him for leaving his old life behind, Viggo then tries to have his henchmen torture and murder John but he was able to escape (through Marcus' assistance by use of a sniper by killing the other henchmen) then engaging Kirill in a brawl before strangling Kirill to death, he then chases after the SUV and shoots the driver (Viggo) in it.

John asks Iosef's location at as he placed him on gunpoint, Viggo reluctantly reveals to John where Iosef is. Viggo tell John that his son and his henchmen know of his arrival as John took note as he moved away from Viggo while he attempts to drive back to his condominium. Disappointed, he sat down in his chair at his office, smoking a pot of weed contemplating as his son Iosef is swiftly murdered by John. Later on, Viggo meets Marcus up at his house where he savagely beats Marcus within an inch of his life for betraying his orders of killing John Wick, Marcus is able to kill two men before Ms. Perkins shoots Marcus in his chest once and Viggo finishes him off, shooting him twice.


"Be seeing you, John..."

At the end of the film, after Ms. Perkins was executed by Winston's henchmen for violating the Continental's rules, John Wick races to the harbor where he kills all of Viggo's remaining henchmen by shooting all of them and runs Avi over with the car. Wick is then crashed in to by Viggo but Wick is able to get out safely and confront Viggo on the dock. Viggo tells John no more guns, no more bullets, John replies "no more bullets", then he throws the gun, Viggo also tells John "just you and me, John", John than responds "you and me". They engage in a fistfight in which John gets the upper hand until Viggo pulls out a knife and attempts to stab John in the stomach. John forces Viggo to stab him in the stomach where he breaks Viggo's arm. John then pulls the knife out of his stomach and then jams the knife into the side of Viggo's neck. They both drop to the floor, Viggo looks at John and says to him his final words "Be seeing you, John." John looks at Viggo and responds "Yeah, be seeing you." Viggo then slumps over and dies.



  • On taking the role of Viggo, Nyqvist mentioned, "I found the relationship between John and Viggo to be interesting. Viggo has always liked John because he was brilliant at his job. They have the kind of love and respect you might see between a father and son, but it breaks down when John comes for Iosef." Stahelski stated that the role of Viggo had been decided after a great many meetings due to the importance and complexity of the character, and that Nyqvist brought both odd and interesting qualities to the character, also adding that "[Nyqvist's] quirkiness is a good match for Keanu’s stoicism." The filmmakers were most determined to attempt bypassing the stereotypical Russian mobster characterization.[19] Iwanyk stated that Viggo needed to be played by someone who would be "believable as this ultra-bad guy, but was still very, very charming." adding that, "[Nyqvist] brought the character a kind of humanity." For the role of Viggo, Nyqvist was given a style of fighting based on the Russian martial art of Sambo to which he started training in Stockholm, Sweden at the request of Stahelski and Leitch, as he stated, "I did this Russian style of jujitsu called Sambo a lot. I did Brazilian jujitsu and boxing a lot. […] to get closer to the character. […] the guys I worked with, back home in Stockholm, were Russians, so [I] got closer to them. It was a little bit like [method acting]." Of Viggo's background, Kolstad revealed, "A street brawler raised in the slums of Kiev, Viggo has worked his way up the underworld food chain. Now, he is in the process of transitioning to respectability." Director Stahelski stated of Nyqvist, "[Michael], he is not your stereotypical Russian bad guy. He is a quirky guy, how he gives his reads." With David Leitch stating, "We had great performances and input from Michael Nyqvist who played it straight and he was excellent. He was a quirky villain. And we took time with the script and found those humorous moments and made sure we paced them correctly with the ultra-violence.".
  • Viggo is similar to Frank D'Amico from Kick-Ass: They are crime lords and fathers who served as the Big Bad of the first installment of the franchise, and were killed off by the protagonist in the end.