After four long years of eager anticipation, Keanu Reeves is undeniably “thinking he’s back” for the fourth thrilling entry in the John Wick saga. The expectations for John Wick: Chapter 4 soared to the stratosphere, considering the resounding praise heaped upon its three predecessors. However, this new installment is a tour de force, the grandest and most emotionally charged chapter yet. Reeves, alongside director Chad Stahelski, has once again raised the bar for a franchise that seems to defy the norm by getting better with each installment. In the pantheon of recent action cinema, John Wick: Chapter 4 comfortably takes its place alongside gems like The Raid 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road.
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Following Winston’s (Ian McShane) perilous order to eliminate him on behalf of the High Table, John escapes New York City with the indispensable assistance of the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). Yet, danger still looms over Winston, courtesy of Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård), a high-ranking High Table member who has placed a substantial bounty on his head. This bounty has the world’s deadliest assassins on high alert, all eager to cash in on the prize. John’s path to peace involves a return to the High Table’s good graces after being excommunicated. The only way to achieve this redemption is to secure a crime family’s blessing and engage in a duel against Marquis. To fulfill this daunting task, John must confront his past and face off against Marquis’ formidable hired assassins. The blind swordsman Caine (Donnie Yen) and the relentless tracker Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson) are relentlessly pursuing him.
While none of the preceding John Wick films included post-credit scenes, John Wick: Chapter 4 breaks tradition by offering a brief post-credit sequence tucked away at the very end of the credits. Fans will need to display a tad more patience as this installment clocks in at a substantial 169 minutes, making it the franchise’s longest entry to date. However, enduring the credits proves to be a chance to catch one’s breath after the relentless action and savor Tyler Bates’ epic musical score. The post-credit scene itself is a rewarding treat, hinting at an exciting potential direction for the series to explore.
Caine and Akira Explained
The post-credit scene unfolds shortly after the climactic duel at the Church of the Sacré-Cœur in Paris, where John ultimately triumphed over the Marquis, securing his position at the High Table. In a poignant and seemingly fatal moment, John appeared to succumb to his wounds on the church steps. While John has defied death’s grasp numerous times before, and there are no definitive shots of his lifeless body, the odds of his survival appear rather slim. John is officially laid to rest beside his beloved wife, Helen (Bridget Moynahan), in New York City, with both Winston and the Bowery King paying their respects.
However, Marquis’ demise also spells freedom for Caine from the threats that loomed over his daughter’s life. Initially reluctant to harm John, given their shared history, Caine finds solace in knowing that John also respected the bond he shared with his daughter. As the scene transitions, Caine is seen navigating a city and finally embracing his daughter. Yet, it becomes evident that danger still lurks; Akira (Rina Sawayama), the former concierge of the Osaka Continental, has tracked them down and menacingly wields a knife before the screen fades to black.
Early in the film, John sought refuge at the Osaka Continental to evade the High Table’s relentless assassins. There, he received protection from Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada), the hotel’s manager, and Akira happens to be Koji’s daughter. Together, they defended the hotel when Marquis’ soldiers descended upon them. Although John and Akira managed to escape with their lives, Koji valiantly confronted Caine in a fateful one-on-one duel. In a brutal twist, Caine claimed victory over Koji, and John entrusted his marker to Akira before they departed the chaotic scene via subway. During their journey, Akira passionately vowed to avenge her father’s death.
This suggests that Akira is poised to exact vengeance on either Caine or his daughter, fueled by her unrelenting desire for retribution. While Akira was raised to adhere to the High Table’s honorable code by her father, her ruthless disposition and previous reluctance to shield John make her intentions all the more uncertain. Whether she operates alone or commands a formidable network of allies inherited from her father’s High Table position remains a compelling enigma.
The Next Installment
So, when might we witness this climactic showdown? The post-credit scene tantalizingly hints at an impending duel, but it remains shrouded in mystery, with no other key characters making appearances. Initially, both Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves were committed to filming John Wick: Chapter 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5 consecutively, but recent statements suggest that the fourth installment could potentially mark the end of John’s remarkable journey. Stahelski conveyed to The Hollywood Reporter that, in their minds, he and Keanu are taking a break from John Wick for the time being, with Stahelski even labeling the fourth film as “his last one” in a previous interview with Slash Film.
Nevertheless, the John Wick franchise still holds a promising future, even in the absence of Stahelski and Reeves. This year, Peacock is set to premiere the prequel series “The Continental,” which delves into the younger years of Winston (played by Colin Woodell) during his ascent to power in 1970s New York. While it’s clear that the prequel won’t feature Caine and Akira’s anticipated showdown, it’s exciting to see the franchise exploring the intriguing stories of other covert assassins within the same universe.
A more probable scenario is that Caine and Akira could make their appearance in the upcoming spinoff film “Ballerina.” This film revolves around the female assassin Rooney (played by Ana de Armas) as she embarks on a mission of vengeance on behalf of her family. Directed by Len Wiseman, “Ballerina” features returning stars like Reeves, Ian McShane, and Lance Reddick, alongside new additions such as Angelica Huston, Gabriel Byrne, Norman Reedus, and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Positioned between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4, the spinoff has the potential to weave Akira and Caine’s narrative into its storyline. Given their shared motivations with Rooney, it’s not far-fetched to imagine a thrilling alliance forming among these deadly assassins.