With John Wick: Chapter 2 upon us, it’s time to put Reeves in the upper echelon of action stars.
When people talk about the great action star, usually someone like Sly, Arnold, Will Smith, Cruise, Bruce Willis or Dwayne Johnson will come out of their mouth. These are the best of the best, the Mount Rushmore of action stars some would say, but someone is slowly creeping up on them, and he’s looking for that double tap. Much like the character John Wick, Keanu Reeves is ascending the ranks of action star immortality. Reeves himself has always been kind of an enigma, he’s humble, quiet and keeps to himself when it comes to Hollywood, unlike some of these other larger than life action stars. With his latest outing as the double tapping badass John Wick, it’s time for people to stop underrating this man, and start taking him a little more serious.
Keanu is 53 years old; I know he doesn’t look a day over 40! He’s been doing action movies since 1991 when he was Johnny Utah, in one of the most under appreciated action movies of all time. It’s fun, it doesn’t take itself to seriously but most important it’s a fantastic movie. I’m talking about Point Break in case you were wondering, and it’s without question in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. (Lets just not talk about the remake please). With action stars, sometimes their biggest problem can be longevity. How long can they keep it up, before people start questioning if this old guy can do the things he’s doing on the big screen? Father time is undefeated my friends, but right now Keanu shows no signs of slowing down.
After Point Break, he traded in his surfboard for a bus pass in Speed. Remember how good Speed was? Honestly, Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper and young wildcat Sandra Bullock. Still holds up today, one of the great TV cable movies. If it’s on TV and you turn to it, tractor beam man, it will suck you right in. Keanu had a little more grit to his character in Speed, and it showed us a little range, again this was 1994, he was still relatively new to the action scene. This was also his first major box office hit, with Speed making just over 350 million worldwide. Fun fact, this movie actually won two Oscars, what a world we live in, that a movie about a speeding bus won two Oscars and it took Leo like a billion years to finally snag one.
Keanu took a little break from the action scene after Speed, until he became the one. Landing the role of Neo (thanks to Will Smith, turning down the role) in the Matrix, which at the time revolutionized the movie making industry. Say what you want about the Matrix trilogy, the first one changed so much for so many people. I’ll still never forget watching the bank scene for the first time, or Keanu dodging those bullets like he was The Flash. Overall the Matrix trilogy was a success, with Matrix Reloaded still being one of the 100 most financially successful movies of all time. When you look back on them, I don’t really think anyone else could have played Neo, that role was meant for Keanu.
But for some reason after the Matrix, it seemed like Keanu had a little stink on him, with not really getting any large Hollywood roles. Sure he was doing movies but nothing that really stuck out, certainly wasn’t involved in any more franchises or being part of a comic book universe. He did give us Shane Falco, and we are all thankful for that. A few kung-Fu movies like Man of Tai Chi and 47 Ronin, both above average movies in there own right, but nothing special.
I think that’s why, in 2014 when John Wick was released; everyone was so god damn surprised about it. It’s not like everyone had forgotten about Keanu Reeves, I just think people forget how awesome he can be. It was just so refreshing to see him back in his element, and the movie was the biggest surprise hit in 2014, a movie that was a nice call back to some of the great 80s and 90s action flicks. Like most great action movies, you don’t need the greatest story or plot, but just really good action sequences, in order to enjoy the movie. This is exactly what you got from John Wick, and the world fell in love with this character and immediately wanted a sequel, and now here we are 3 years later. So lets do John Wick: Chapter 2 a favor and go out and see it this weekend. The first one deserved to make more money, and this one deserves the attention that it will ultimately deserve.
Taking a look at the big picture, with longevity, box-office success, making great action movies, it’s time for the world to open up their arms to Keanu and welcome him into an elite club. I have a feeling that he’ll be back….
Check ya later.