The writers appear to be saving John Wick: Chapter 4 for the entire explanation of why John Wick severed his finger in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. John Wick finds himself in the Elder’s presence, the High Table’s leader, just before Chapter 3 ends.
The Elder will pardon John Wick, but only in exchange for a lifetime commitment to the High Table (and kills Winston). John Wick agrees and finishes the transaction by slicing off his ring finger, giving the Elder and the High Table both his finger and wedding ring in exchange.
Although John Wick: Chapter 3 doesn’t provide a clear explanation, there are some reasons why John intentionally sliced off his ring finger. This heartbreaking scenario mostly concerns John Wick’s wife Helen and what will happen to John in the upcoming sequels of the franchise. The significance of John Wick chopping off his ring finger, however, goes beyond symbolic.
Why Did John Wick Cut Off His Finger?
This sequence from John Wick deftly subverts the Yakuza-famous traditional Japanese practice of subsuming, in which the pinky finger is removed to atone for a transgression. Because the pinky has a direct impact on how well a person can use any weapon, it is sacrificed in subsume. According to studies, missing a finger reduces the gripping power of the affected hand by around 50%.
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(via New York Times). When using a variety of martial arts that emphasize momentum and throws, as John Wick does, grip strength is essential. John Wick’s ring finger was severed for what reason? He needed to be loyal without sacrificing his fighting skills. Interestingly, the reason assassins in the popular video game series Assassin’s Creed cut off their left ring fingers is echoed by John Wick’s removal of his ring finger.
Similar to John Wick, Assassin’s Creed centers on an ancient order of hired killers whose standard weapon is a retractable concealed blade. To allow the concealed blade to strike and retract without harming its owner, these assassins cut off their fingers. Given that John has no stake in the outcome, this might portend a change in John Wick’s combat strategy in Chapter 4.
What John Wick Not Having His Ring Finger Means For Chapter 4
John Wick gives his wedding ring to the Elder along with the finger he has amputated from his hand. John realizes that letting go of his previous life, including his wife, is necessary even though his allegiance commitment is merely a show. John Wick’s Elder and the High Table were targets of his renewed vengeance in Chapter 3, which saw his complete return to the assassin world.
Although chopping off John Wick’s ring finger retains his pinky finger, it has unquestionably the most symbolic effect. The pinky is crucial for both gun-fu and close-quarters combat, as any highly skilled murderer who has practiced numerous martial arts, like John Wick, is aware of.
John may take a hint from Assassin’s Creed and use his missing ring finger as an advantage since the John Wick 4 teaser depicts him repeatedly hitting a padded pole known as a makiwara to train his wounded left hand. Any member of the High Table would end fittingly if they were killed by a hidden sword.
John Wick Cutting His Finger Off Nearly Didn’t Make It In
The studio refused to release the finger scene from John Wick, even though the film’s weaponry has been used in some of the most graphic movie fatalities in the past ten years. Keanu Reeves and John Wick director Chad Stahelski struggled to have the scene included, though.
In addition to being crucial to John’s plot development, it was necessary to avoid Reeves hurting his hand. In the final act of the film, every shot has a left-handed actor who recently had his left hand disfigured, according to Stahelski (via Hollywood Reporter). “From a VFX perspective, there’s a cost involved with that…
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The studio accomplishes its job of challenging my ideas and approaches to see whether I genuinely enjoy them. It was a problem, but thankfully Stahelski and Reeves consented to concessions that forced the studio to permit the finger scene in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which is undoubtedly going to be a significant part of the story in John Wick 4.
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