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10 Keanu Klassics to Revisit Ahead of ‘John Wick Chapter 2’

10 Keanu Klassics to Revisit Ahead of ‘John Wick Chapter 2’: Summit Entertainment

Summit Entertainment

This weekend belongs to John Wick, Chapter 2, which sees Keanu Reeves return as the eponymous hit man who really hasn’t managed to retire like he planned. The much-anticipated movie builds off the surprise success of the 2014 original, which convinced many that, just maybe, there was more to the actor than the “Woah” cliche of popular myth would have people believe.

The truth is, of course, Keanu has always been an interesting actor who occasionally buries his light under some shitty bushels. His career has just hit the three decade mark, meaning that there’s more than enough for a streaming retrospective, so sit back, and prepare to binge the best (and the rest) of Mr. Reeves.


RIVER’S EDGE (1987)
An early Keanu movie — his fifth, in fact — this indie crime drama about a body found at, you guessed it, a river’s edge drew the attention of critics thanks in large part to the performances not just from Reeves, but also Crispin Glover and Ione Skye. Available on Hulu


BILL & TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY (1991)
The second, and arguably stranger, of the Bill & Ted movies, Bogus Journey asks the big questions about mortality and the meaning of life, and then decides that the answers aren’t as much fun as wonderfully smart dumb jokes. A genuine classic. Available on Netflix


POINT BREAK (1991)
Perhaps Keanu’s first all-time classic, this crime actioneer doesn’t just see Patrick Swayze and Gary Busey fight for the role of father figure to his character, but he also gets one of the greatest character names in all of cinema: FBI Agent Johnny Utah. Cinema peaked with this one. Available on Hulu


LITTLE BUDDHA (1994)
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Reeves plays a pre-enlightened Buddha in this weird Bernardo Bertolucci flick that also stars Chris Isaak and Bridget Fonda. Is there a more mid-90s cast than that? (The answer is no.) Available on Amazon Prime


JOHNNY MNEMONIC (1995)
Years before Keanu blew minds with the jacked-in jacked-up Matrix, he practiced his cyberspace chops with this forgotten piece of virtual genius, adapted from a short story by William Gibson. How good is it? Dolph Lundgren is one of Reeves’ co-stars. I need say no more. Available on Amazon Prime


THE MATRIX (1999)
If Point Break was the first, uh, Keanu Klassic, then The Matrix is second — around the turn of the century, it wasn’t just a beloved movie, it was a movement, with fans utterly convinced that this was something that spoke to the (un-)reality of the moment like nothing else. And then the sequels came to ruin everything. Available on Amazon Prime


CONSTANTINE (2005)
For comic book purists, Constantine was a nightmare — they knew that the title character was English, blond and far more of a dick than Keanu could manage. But for everyone else, this was a surprisingly fun supernatural thriller that suggested a career renaissance after the critically-panned Matrix sequels. Available on Amazon Prime


THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (2008)
No-one expected much of this remake of the sci-fi classic, but that might have worked in its favor: it turns out to be an understated pacifist movie that sees Keanu embrace his more wooden qualities and somehow make them work in his favor. Turns out, he makes a great alien. Who knew? Available on Amazon Prime


MAN OF TAI CHI (2013)
But what Reeves really wanted to do was direct, which brought him to this multi-lingual action film inspired, in part, by his friend (and stuntman) Tiger Chen, who also happens to be one of the lead actors in the movie. Hey, if you can’t nepotism when you’re Keanu, when can you? Available on Amazon Prime


KNOCK KNOCK (2016)
For all his versatility, domesticity doesn’t suit Keanu, which is why it’s a surprise seeing him as devoted husband and dad in this juiced-up Fatal Attraction retread. By the time he’s fighting for his life (and his marriage) against two crazed underage girls, it’s almost a relief to see him scared out of his wits. Available on Hulu


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