In John Wick, in the scene where John Wick gets a call after Willem Dafoe's character (Marcus) gets killed, Viggo mentions that Marcus broke one cardinal rule

What was Viggo talking about? What cardinal rule was that? Was he talking about Marcus helping John all along?


Viggo does not say that John broke a rule, he says that Marcus broke a rule.

In fact, Viggo even appreciates that John killed his son quickly instead of letting him suffer.

The rule Marcus broke was that, while the contract was open, he did not kill John, although he had the chance to do so.

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To extend onto Unor's answer, I think the real crux of the matter is that Marcus VERBALLY ACCEPTED the contract from Viggo, and then didn't kill John, even though he had at least two opportunities to do so.

If Marcus hadn't accepted the contract, Viggo probably wouldn't have had such a personal vendetta against Marcus.

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The Cardinal Rule is:

'Never kill your loved ones!'

He says it after the knife-in-leg scene.

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