Ah, the guy with a hard past who has laid down his gun. It’s been done many times, in many ways. Always the writer seeks for new plot twists to keep things unpredictable – but the greatest twist of all has been hiding right in front of their noses this whole time.
If you really want to keep the audience guessing, have the first half hour of the film slowly establish the main character as a person with a long, dark, violent history. Perhaps they have certain skills, or a determined ruthlessness that brooks no opposition. Now theirs is a life of quiet, peaceful existence. They have left the old ways behind, gone off the grid. Thusly established, the remaining 60 minutes of the movie depicts a life of carefree retirement, completely unmolested by the ghosts of their past. Game, set, match.
Thinking about it, you could actually make a watchable film with that formula – where, in the final scene, some goon from the days of yore shows up unannounced with violence in their eyes, and just as things are about to kick off you smash cut to credits. 90 minutes of movie, 0 minutes of action! It’s a thinker. Anyway, John Wick is the biopic of Keanu Reeves’ life, in which he leaves behind a gritty life as a mob hitman, trading in his gun for a surfboard as he films the hit movie Point Break. After a long and critically acclaimed career in showbiz, he retires from that as well, and goes on to place 4th in his bi-annual village lawn bowls tournament.