As the latest movie in the John Wick franchise rolls into theaters on March 24, 2023, fans want to know whether the movie will finally fill in details about the assassin and Marine Corps veteran's personal history. Just how did he become one of the most lethal assassins in hitman history? Will the filmmakers squeeze more backstory between the relentless action scenes that continue to dominate the Wick movies?
For those of you who care about plot, the mysterious High Table that controls the criminal underworld still has John Wick (Keanu Reeves) under an "excommunicado" order, so he's marked for death. The organization has turned the Wick problem over to the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård, who played Pennywise in the "It" movies), and he's promised to eliminate its problem for good.
The Marquis blackmails Caine (martial arts movie great Donnie Yen, "Ip Man," "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story") into taking out his old friend, John Wick, on the High Table's behalf, but Caine's heart isn't really in the pursuit and his loyalties are divided.
Director and former stuntman Chad Stahelski has managed to wrangle some of the most spectacular locations ever seen in an action movie, including the inside of the Louvre Museum and the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The fight choreography is even more impressive than what we've seen in the first three movies, and it's hard to imagine where the stunt coordinators could go from here.
There's a spectacular performance from the great Scott Adkins ("One Shot," "Avengement"), who plays a particularly sleazy underworld kingpin while wearing a fat suit. Brendan Fraser may have won a Best Actor Oscar for wearing a fat suit in "The Whale," but he mostly just sat in a chair. Adkins gives one of his best martial arts performances while wearing an enormous fat suit, nearly taking out Wick in a spectacular sequence filmed at the Kraftwerk dance club in Berlin.
The whole movie is building toward a sunrise confrontation with the Marquis in Paris. If Wick can win a duel with his latest nemesis, he'll be free of his obligations to the High Table forever and can return to his retirement. Of course, the experience of just how he gets to that confrontation is more complicated than just flying to Paris and climbing some stairs.
Even though the earliest films in the series gave significant clues about Wick's Marine Corps service (and the video game Payday 2 confirmed it), questions about just how he joined the service have gotten more tangled as the movies have expanded their universe and revealed other hints about Wick's background.
Related: 4 Reasons Why John Wick Has to Be a Marine Vet
We've learned that Wick was born Jardani Jovanovich in Belarus. He was orphaned at a young age and has a complicated relationship with his extended biological family. We have never learned how he learned English, got to the United States or when he had time to squeeze in that Marine Corps service.
We learn a tiny bit more about John/Jardani's complicated family history, but anyone who's looking for an explanation of just how everyone in the movie arrived at this point will be disappointed. I didn't keep count during the movie, but I'd bet that Keanu Reeves has less than half the lines of dialogue in "John Wick: Chapter 4" than he had in the first movie. John Wick no longer needs words to communicate.
John Wick is set to appear in the upcoming spinoff movie "Ballerina," starring Ana de Armas ("The Gray Man," "No Time to Die"), so there's still a chance we'll get some more intel about his background. There's also a television series about The Continental Hotel starring Mel Gibson that is set to stream on Peacock later this year. Since the High Table Cinematic Universe seems to be so profitable for the studio, there's a more than even chance we'll see a movie or show about the young John Wick, and hopefully we'll get to see how the future assassin handled boot camp.
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