Caine In ‘John Wick 4,’ Explained: Who Is Caine? Did He Kill John Wick?

In his prolonged career of manhunting filled with death and violence, the rugged, dreaded hitman John Wick has come across a number of interesting characters who deal in a similar trade to his own. John has shown them his professional courtesy, irrespective of whether their allegiance matches his or not. Also, during his encounters with these former associates, none were shown to be equal to his skills in armed or unarmed combat. The fourth installment of the series “John Wick: Chapter 4” introduces Caine, John’s old friend, a visually impaired assassin, yet one so astoundingly skilled that he can go toe to toe with the legendary Baba Yaga and, at times, best him in terms of sheer skill. Donnie Yen, the revered Hong Kong-based martial artist primarily known for his Ip Man movies, is no stranger to blind warrior roles, as he played the blind monk Chirrut Imwe in the Star Wars franchise. He masterfully brought the physicality and necessary acting chops required for the role, which fans are surely going to love. We will like to take a look at the character and his relationship with John.


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Caine? What Is His Reason For Hunting John Wick?

Caine, an old friend of John Wick, is an exceptionally gifted assassin and adept martial artist who, despite being blind, is probably the best at his craft, i.e., the art of death. The way Caine compensates for his lack of sight with the rest of his extraordinarily honed senses to navigate his way through hordes of opposing forces amidst gunfire and other perils will draw inevitable comparisons with characters like Daredevil, and justly so; that’s how skilled a hitman he is. But Cain’s visual impairment is not something he was born with; it is a curse of a life of sin. As he confessed later, he gave up his sense of sight to ‘them’ in order to save his daughter, which implies that a deadly deal with the High Table exacted a heavy toll.


The first time viewers meet Caine, he is seen to be listening to a melancholic note played by her daughter nearby—something that forebodes the tragic circumstances Caine is soon to find himself entangled in. A past deal with the High Table ended with his daughter being marked to remain under the observation of the organization, thereby putting her life in jeopardy unless Caine complies with their will. As the Marquis summons him to hunt his old acquaintance, John, a reluctant Caine is forced to accept.

Brothers In Arms: Caine And John

Caine’s life resembles John’s own in a number of ways. Both of them dealt with death and destruction all their lives, and both of them sought a way out of this iniquitous routine for the sake of their families. After earning a temporary respite, John tried to live a regular life with his beloved wife, Helen, but the sins of the past didn’t allow his happiness to last too long and took Helen away from him forever. Not long after that, Helen’s memory was desecrated when Daisy, the canine companion acting as a semblance of hope for John in Helen’s memory, too, was taken from him. This re-initiated John into the perennial violent loop, like a rodent stuck in a running wheel that cannot be stopped. Similarly, Caine tried his luck to break the curse after his daughter was born. But he failed to escape from the cogs of the merciless behemoth of fate; his sightlessness is a testament to that. The High Table forces him right back into the life he wanted to distance himself from, now with the fate of his family on the line. Both men were caught up in events beyond their control.


A reluctant Caine has to clash with his old friends, people with whom he shares a bond of mutual trust and respect, and every time he enters the ring, he knows there are no half-measures about it—only one among them will leave the arena alive. As he fights with his friend Shimazu Koji, the latter reminds him how much he has strayed from the path of loyalty and brotherhood; unbeknownst to him, Caine is a victim of a predicament and, much like Koji himself, is trying to save his daughter’s life.

Caine tries to walk out of the battle, but Koji’s stubbornness to push it to its final limit to allow John time to escape ends with an aggrieved Caine taking his friend’s life. Cain can empathize with Koji’s mourning daughter Akira, as it’s family that binds them in this cruel fate. At the same time, he knows the hunter will be hunted in the long run, that Akira will seek vengeance for her father’s death, and Caine will be waiting for her. Caine’s tragedy is similar to John’s when he had to take the life of a known associate, Gianna D’Antonio, carrying a similar burden of earning freedom.


After John’s single combat challenge to the Marquis gets sanctioned by the High Table, the Marquis cunningly assigns Caine to be the combatant in his stead. Bound by the deal he made, Caine has to accept the decision made for him begrudgingly. The two friends meet each other in the church, appropriately, as one of them will perish the next day in the duel, and it’s almost as if they are seeking redemption for a life spent in sin. Caine lets John know that to him, the choice between his life and his daughter’s is obvious, but he regrets that things had to end up this way. Their small exchange conveys an unspoken understanding, mutual regard, and a lifetime of regret. That very night, as John struggles to take on the final horde of assassins on his own, Caine assists him, and as they see the light at the top end of the stairs, where the duel will commence, it almost becomes symbolic of the freedom they both desire. To do so, they assisted each other, willing to land a final blow on the cruel nemesis that had pinned both of them down throughout their lives.

How Did Caine Kill John Wick?

At the end of the duel, John willingly holds off his shot and lets Caine have the final blow. Caine addresses John as brother and hangs his head in regret, knowing this might be their final farewell. John has been compared to the Devil a number of times, and his playfield as Hell and his stance regarding the High Table, along with his defeat at Caine’s hand, almost evoke a symbolism of Michael through Caine. Their exchange moments ago led to the final shot, which became prophetic in that people who clung to life died while those who clung to death lived. John had no fear of death; in fact, he embraced it. It is through his death that the lives of Caine and his daughter are spared. Even in his final moments, John had his fate intertwined with Caine as both of them got the freedom they so desired. Unfortunately, the sins of the past pulled Caine down in the end; happiness is not meant for him either, as we see an armed Akira make her move towards Caine to avenge her father in the most unfortunate moment as Caine prepares to meet her daughter. Caine’s foresight might have predicted this outcome, but in no way could the death dealer ever have prepared himself for such poetic justice.


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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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