The Character Of Caine As Shown In ‘John Wick: Chapter 4,’ Explained

A blind man with a small frame, a menacing nonchalance and the integrity of an excellent soldier, are some features that makes Caine one of the most fascinating characters in the entire John Wick saga. Let’s take a look at his arc in Chapter 4 of the franchise. 

Spoilers Ahead

Caine’s Story

After coming into close proximity with his daughter, Caine gets summoned by Marquis de Gramont to either kill John Wick or suffer worse consequences than death itself. We later come to know why this would be an emotionally challenging task for him. Actually, John and Caine were friends, and their friendship goes way back. But refusing to kill John isn’t an option for him, as it might endanger his daughter.

He mysteriously tracks John while he is hiding in the Osaka Continental, run by Koji Shimazu. Koji first fights Gramont’s men and then, in a bruised and battered state, fights Caine, with the latter emerging victorious—a victory Caine wasn’t aiming for. He almost got his primary target, John, but due to this valiant sacrifice by Koji, he gained time to get away.

Caine and John meet again in a completely different setting, at the table of Killa Harkan. John’s mission there was to kill Harkan. Harkan knows it and points the gun at Wick after they finish playing a game of poker. Caine couldn’t let that happen, and so he, along with Mr. Nobody, a private spy hired by Gramont, helps John kill Harkan.

Caine thinks he is finally out of the equation of killing his friend when John asks for a duel with Gramont, but through a loophole, Gramont nominates Caine to have a duel on his behalf. At sunrise, they meet, and Caine and John ‘Baba Yaga’ Wick use up three and two bullets, respectively, to injure each other in a duel. John uses his third and final bullet to kill Gramont.

John dies, and Caine goes back to see his daughter but is confronted by Akira, Koji’s daughter, and she goes in to avenge her father’s death.

Character Traits

Caine is a blind man, but he is an extremely skilled assassin. On the physical front, the character reminds one of ‘Daredevil,’ who is a blind lawyer with super-sensory perceptions. Well, Caine is limited in that capacity as he walks with a cane (it rhymes!) that helps him navigate the territory. Wearing cool goggles and exhibiting absolutely no signs of fear, he handles every situation with ease unless someone mentions his daughter. She was the very essence of his survival instinct, which is why he was susceptible to such unjust negotiations as the one he had with Gramont.

Caine isn’t averse to using technology in his fights. He has multiple sensors at his disposal that he places on walls and other surfaces, and when anyone crosses them, he is quick to shoot them down as the sensor produces a beep sound. All he needs to do is simply shoot in the direction of the sound, and down goes the opponent.

The most interesting thing about Caine are his philosophy and psychology. The rule seems simple: don’t kill if you don’t absolutely have to. On the lines of Batman’s character, whose main credo pretty much resonates with the same principle. In the John Wick franchise, there is a whole emphasis on ritual, and characters sometimes speak in a tone that is too rigid and extremely serious, but Caine is unique in this regard. During an intense battle between Gramont’s men and Koji’s clan, Caine is seen eating some random dish, sitting nicely tucked in a corner, only coming out reluctantly when one of Gramont’s men yells for his help. This kind of levity makes him stand out in the film. Also, it isn’t enough for Caine that the end result be achieved. The process behind getting the desired result must also fit his principles. This is apparent in the scene where Harkan tries to kill John, but Caine prevents it from happening even after knowing fully well that having John dead was the best thing for him and his daughter. Why does he do that, then? It’s because he took up the deal to kill John himself, and under no circumstances can he allow anybody else to kill John.

Caine is a noble adversary for John. Make no mistake, he is lethal in all respects, but there is absolutely no way that he is a bad guy. If it weren’t for his daughter, he would never have taken up such an assignment. There is also a hint that he probably sacrificed his eyes to the High Table to avoid violence. Another point, a little technical in nature, is to build up tension in the story as to whether he will be able to kill John or not. At first, it doesn’t seem so, but when he gets going, and we see him sublimating his weaknesses into strengths, our expectations are subverted, and one easily sees that it is he and he alone who can kill John.

Both he and John are laconic individuals, but John speaks as if he has the weight of the world on his shoulders, while Caine makes himself sound however, he wants himself to sound. Unruffled in some cases and blunt in others. Even his body language is so free and relaxed that he gives off the impression that he is at peace, and it’s very interesting that peace and freedom were what John was after, and he is able to kill Gramont only when Caine comes to fight by his side.

Caine was a true ally to John. It was only circumstance that made them go against each other. Think Magneto and Charles Xavier, who were best of friends once, but circumstances got the better of them. Caine says in one of the final scenes, “It’s nothing personal, John,” making it perfectly clear that the friendship remains. If you could have a friend like Caine, you could easily trust him with your life; that’s exactly who he was.

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