‘John Wick 4’ Sets Up the Only Live-Action Akira Movie I Want To See
Our long national nightmare is over: John Wick: Chapter 4 is finally in theaters today, delivering our annual fix of a be-suited Keanu Reeves relentlessly mowing down assassins. This time, dear John is battling a chic but deranged crime lord (Bill Skarsgård) for his freedom from the High Table. The fourth installment of the franchise concludes with a cute lil nod to a possible sequel, but the post-credits scene teases something really intriguing.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is great. Everyone’s hot. They’re all fighting each other. And they’re really good at it. One of those people is played by Rina Sawayama, the avant-garde pop star behind hits like “Commes des Garçons (Like the Boys)” and “Tunnel Vision.” If the post-credits scene of the latest John Wick sequel is to be believed, she might just be getting her own spinoff.
Spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4 ahead!
What’s our favorite sad boy assassin up to this time?
Over the course of the nearly three-hour action epic, John fights his way through an onslaught of assassins across multiple continents. Marquis de Gramont (Skarsgård) has taken control of the High Table, destroyed the New York Continental, made Winston (Ian McShane) excommunicado, and killed his concierge, Charon (the dearly departed Lance Reddick). John returns to the Osaka Continental, where Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada) is managing the hotel alongside his concierge, Akira (Rina Sawayama)—who also happens to be his daughter. We’ll come back to her in a moment.
Winston tells John that he can earn his freedom (and a good, long nap) once and for all thanks to an archaic High Table bylaw—the only thing these rich old ghouls love more than a freshly minted gold medallion is the old ways. And maybe a nice brooch.
John proceeds to fight his way to the Sacre Coeur in Paris for a sunrise duel with Caine (Donnie Yen), a friend and fellow assassin who is similarly indebted to the High Table. Caine has a daughter he hasn’t seen in many years, and the Table has assured her safety as long as he continues working for them.
Marquis has chosen Caine, who literally gave up his eyesight to these people for reasons never fully explained (does he hate the new brooches that much?), as his proxy for the duel. Marquis is a coward, but he’s a weird, hot coward in sparkly suits and he has this impotent, unhinged villain vibe that’s just one fit of maniacal laughter removed from Michael Sheen in the last Twilight movie.
Anyway! John and Caine duel with pistols and shoot each other a couple of times, no big deal, but during the final round, Caine shoots John a little more seriously—while John sneakily withholds his last bullet. As Marquis approaches to shoot John in the head (and I begin to wonder if John Wick’s forehead is made of magic bulletproof skin), John pops off that last round and kills the Marquis. John wins! We’re going to the Super Bowl, baby!
The end of John Wick …?
Having secured their freedom—and rescued a small chain of boutique hotels from a hostile corporate takeover—John asks Winston to take him home before collapsing. We’re left to believe that John Wick might actually finally be dead, which is a huge buy-in for an audience that just watched this man get hit by no less than 20 moving vehicles around the Arc de Triomphe before climbing 300 stairs and falling down at least half of them—twice.
Winston and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) convene at John’s grave with Bubba, John’s pitbull, to bid farewell to their cool murder-friend. King wonders if John is in Heaven or in Hell. Winston says, “I have no idea,” and they exchange a look and a good laugh. Meanwhile, something in the distance catches Bubba’s attention, and yeah, it’s probably John Wick.
Okay, so what happens in the post-credits scene?
At the end of John Wick 4‘s first act, Shimazu battles Caine, who gives him a chance to walk away with his daughter, Akira. Shimazu can’t bring himself to do so, and when he goes to attack Caine again, he’s mortally wounded. As she cradles her dying father, Akira—who’s also injured but not in a way that really matters—pulls out a blade, and Caine tells her to choose life (Trainspotting is his favorite movie, I love this guy). Akira shoots daggers with her eyes instead, and in a moment evocative of Kill Bill, Caine basically gives her a raincheck and says, “I’ll be waiting for you.”
And here we are after the credits have rolled: We see Caine holding a bouquet of flowers and walking toward his daughter in the park where she plays violin (I like that his daughter is a busker and not an assassin nepo baby). As Caine slowly begins to smile, a woman approaches him and flicks open a knife. It’s Akira. And she’s come to claim her revenge.
First of all, Rina Sawayama is incredible in John Wick 4. She’s great in John Wick—and not just great for a first-timer, either. So if John Wick 4‘s post-credits scene is setting up a spinoff in which Sawayama goes toe-to-toe with Donnie Friggin’ Yen, I’m game.
It’s certainly a possibility. Director Len Wiseman recently wrapped production on Ballerina, a John Wick spinoff starring Ana de Armas and Lance Reddick (in what might be his final role). That film is set in the world of ballerina-assassins depicted in John Wick 3, and should be hitting theaters in the next year or so. Could Akira be the next John Wick spinoff? Probably! It’s definitely the only live-action Akira movie I’d actually want to see.
(featured image: Lionsgate)
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