John Wick Using Swords So Much More Is Deeper Than You Realize

The John Wick franchise has increased its emphasis on swords being major weapons as John’s conflict with the High Table grows much closer. For fans of both gun-fu and traditional martial arts, the John Wick movies have been one of the most stunning arrivals in action movies of the 21st century. Audiences have fully embraced Keanu Reeves’s John Wick in his early mission to avenge the killing of his beloved dog, and his efforts to escape the clutches of the countless assassins on his trail. Yet, for all his various methods of inflicting damage, it's the saga's use of swords that may actually be the most meaningful


Before John Wick: Chapter 4, the presence of swords and other bladed weaponry has become much more heightened, particularly since John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum. While the original John Wick showcased the titular assassin's skill with firearms, his repertoire has expanded throughout the franchise. For instance, the glass-paneled Wick vs. Zero fight sequence shows that there's much more to Baba Yaga's arsenal than trick shots and karate chops.

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When John first returned to action to avenge his dog in John Wick, he was still trying to maintain relative distance from the High Table and the Elder, as well as active assassins he had no vendetta with. John’s predominant use of guns as his main weapons early on captured this dynamic, with John doing his best to keep assassin life at arm’s length. As the John Wick franchise has continued, however, the rising use of swords shows how much his battle has come to run deeper as the rulers of the High Table have become his enemies. In this way, swords serve as a metaphor for the proximity John Wick has to his enemies, highlighting his psychological and physical conflict.

What John Wick Using Swords More Means For Chapters 4 & 5

John Wick fighting an opponent in the movie

Ever since hiss fatefully impulsive decision to kill Santino (Riccardo Scamarcio) on Continental grounds in John Wick: Chapter 2, John has been on the run, and Parabellum really started to emphasize the blade work as the major weaponry in John’s genre-pushing martial arts fight scenes. John and Caine (Donnie Yen) are even seen deflecting bullets with their swords in John Wick 4's trailer. With John’s failed attempt to fight his way out of his desperate deal with the High Table in Parabellum, he has come to have an enemy he aims to not simply fight off, but outright defeat going into John Wick 4. This has made John’s story into one with personal stakes for him and his enemies that the growing presence of swords in the franchise's weaponry captures.

The swords that are coming to be central to John Wick’s fight scenes paint a picture of John Wick 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5 takes John into the most up-close showdown he has ever had in the John Wick franchise. Naturally, guns and unarmed combat will still be a part of the action scenes of John Wick and his friends and enemies, but with the use of swords comes an abandonment of John’s avoidance mindset. The greater emphasis on sword fights in the John Wick movies shows this, with John's goals requiring him to take the fight directly into the territory of his enemies.

The John Wick franchise has never failed to deliver outstanding action, and its transition to swords being its weaponry calling card show how it drives John’s story. Even more so than in the original John Wick, John really is back as he and the Bowery King aim to topple the High Table. Swords becoming a major driving force of John Wick’s action sequences symbolize where John Wick: Chapter 4 is taking John into his most direct and deeply personal showdown yet, even if John Wick might be fighting a losing battle.

Key Release Dates

  • John Wick 4
    John Wick 4
    Release Date: 2023-03-24