John Wick (Keanu Reeves) returns as the un-retired hitman uncovers a path to defeating The High Table, a council of twelve crime lords that governs the underworld’s most powerful organizations, and which has put a multi-million-dollar bounty on Wick’s head for his defiance. But before Wick can earn his freedom, he must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances around the globe that turns old friends into deadly foes. A new day is dawning in Wick’s world, new rules, new ideas, and new management, as personified by The High Table’s sadistic frontman, Marquis (Bill Skarsgård). But now, win or lose, Wick has a way out, Challenge the Marquis to single combat. If Wick prevails, The Table will honor its word and Wick will no longer have a target on his back. Whatever the fateful outcome, John Wick knows that he left a good life behind a long time ago.
At the beginning of the film, everyone assumes Wick is dead. So, he could live happily ever after and be in peace. But no, it’s John Wick! He can’t leave it alone; justice must be done. He kicks the global hornet’s nest, and every assassin in the world is after him. And he’s alone. In Chapter 4 the film wants to flip the paradigm of Wick on the run and have him go after The High Table. It’s the story of John deciding that he’s not going to run away anymore. Instead, he runs at The Table, which really puts an exclamation point on why people fear John Wick. The Marquis is the emissary of The High Table, the new sheriff in town. The Marquis relishes his deadly duties, way too much. His scorched-earth approach to finding Wick, along with his sadism and underestimation of Winston and, of course, Wick, may lead to the, tables, being turned on the Marquis. He’s off his leash, which means he can implement whatever he wants and whatever he thinks is necessary to get the job done. The character’s lifestyle exemplifies his power. In contrast to the Bowery King in underground Paris, The Marquis frequents glamorous locations, which his wealth and power have secured for him to enjoy.
Caine (Donnie Yen) is Wick’s longtime friend, who must turn against Wick when The High Table threatens a family member. In many ways, Caine is an intriguing mirror image of Wick, a lethal figure who made an extraordinary sacrifice because he did what an assassin should avoid at all costs, he loved. For Wick, it's his late, beloved wife, who succumbed to cancer. For Caine, it’s his precious daughter, whose safety The High Table threatens in order to secure Caine’s services. Caine was close to John, back in the day. They share no personal animosity but do have in common several facets of their personality and work. One of Caine’s defining characteristics is his lack of sight. This initially gave Yen pause, as he had recently played a sightless character in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story". He’s a blind martial arts master who can take on dozens of opponents simultaneously, so he must be very skilled. Finding that balance between being sightless and physically gifted was challenging. Caine as a mix between Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee.
Winston is the owner of the New York Continental Hotel, which functions as a comfortable and safe venue for hired killers. When, in the second film, after Wick conducts business” on hotel grounds, killing a despicable adversary, he incurs terrible penalties and ends up with a price on his head. In the third film, Winston committed a shocking, if necessary, act against his friend, Wick, who had, after all, broken his establishment’s laws. But Winston may be Wick’s only hope when the cunning hotelier devises a strategy for the on-the-run hitman to finally be free of The High Table. Winston is always in control, and it’s interesting to see how he reacts when everything he values is taken away from him. He’s a suave figure when he enjoys all the vestments and services of the hotel, but when it’s stripped away, he becomes a far more dangerous man than we knew. In this story, Winston is a master of revenge and instrumental in shaping Wick’s only way out of a seemingly impossible situation.
The supremely capable, dignified, and helpful concierge, Charon (Lane Reddick), is Winston’s right-hand man. There's a bond that transcends employer-employee and even friendship. One of the things that’s so interesting about Winston and Charon’s relationship is that it's so close. You get a sense that they’ve been together for many years, probably even before their tenures at the New York Continental. You feel there’s an affection between them, and this film confirms it. The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburn is the head of an underground intelligence network disguised as a homeless shelter. An underworld (literally) kingpin who, from his underground headquarters, heads an intelligence network designed to look like a homeless shelter. Now, he’s traveled to Paris, to be of service to Wick, as the latter faces the ultimate challenge. Bowery King is the character who most embraces the world of John Wick. He opens his arms and draws it all in. The Bowery King can be seen as Hades, the god of hell. Like Winston, he’s also a protector of Wick’s secrets. He’s the chef in John’s secret kitchen.
Another martial arts master who, like Caine, has a long history with Wick, is Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada). Shimazu owns the Osaka Continental Hotel and faces the wrath of The High Table when he offers Wick safe haven at his establishment. John doesn’t have many friends left, but he has a brotherhood, steeped in friendship and sacrifice. John, Caine and Shimazu form a triangle: the assassin, Caine, who got out of the game but was forced back in to protect his daughter; and Shimazu, who also has a daughter he must protect. Shimazu will have to pay a price for his allegiance to John. Shimazu is maybe John Wick’s last friend. John had no place to go, but then he remembers his friend in Japan. Shimazu grew up with John and Caine; they were like brothers. They trained together. But when Shimazu had a daughter, he tried to transition to a more peaceful life until John Wick’s visit. For her position at the hotel, Akira (Rina Sawayama), Shimazu's daughter, is trained in etiquette and fighting. Her heretofore placid life there's turned upside-down when she learns that its New York counterpart has been demolished. Life gets even more complicated when Akira sees Wick sharing drinks with her father in the hotel’s rooftop garden. It's then Akira realizes that she really doesn’t have anything to lose. She knows Wick is a very dangerous man who's using his last defense and connection, her father.
Another pursuer of John Wick is known only as the Tracker (Shamier Anderson), whose faithful and nameless canine partner is a Belgian Malinois. The Tracker makes a deal with The High Table but comes to realize it’s a Faustian bargain. Just by agreeing to their terms, he may have already lost. The Tracker is very tactile, from his notebook, in which he writes everything down during his search for Wick, to always carrying a sack, to his light, guns, clothing, and dog. The latter serves as a companion to, and extension of, the Tracker. Indeed The Harbinger (Clancy Brown) initiates both destruction, he brings The Table’s order to destroy the New York Continental, and death, as he presides over the final duel between Caine, and Wick. Wherever The Harbinger arrives, bad things happen. You do not want the Harbinger knocking on your door. Unlike Wick, the Harbinger is old. He limps and has scars. So, instead of being an assassin for that organization, he conducts its business.
The story takes us out of New York City, where most of the previous films were set, and travels to Jordan, Japan, Berlin, and Paris. There are no less than 14 major action sequences, including a wild and epic chase through the streets of Paris. In John Wick’s fighting style, you experience his effort, commitment, and will. We see his never-give-up attitude; its style seems desperate and capable. Everything is on a bigger scale for this movie. Any individual stunt piece in this film could be the tentpole action piece for any other movie. In a world where there seems to be no escape for John, the film wants to show action in a slower way and deal with the emotional resonance. We go back to the core of the films, one man against another, with something huge at stake. In addition to the action, there's brotherhood and hope, and the film explores some emotional threads that were only hinted at in the previous films. "John Wick: Chapter 4" has huge sets and vistas. You get your popcorn, the theater's packed, you feel the energy, and audiences cheer as soon as John Wick comes on the screen. John Wick is an escapist ride and collective thrill for audiences.