Movies & Television

The Most Badass Keanu Reeves Movies and Characters

Whoa. That’s the sound of the collective chorus we all made after seeing the trailers for John Wick 3: Parabellum. It’s bound to be the most brutal of all the John Wick movies; the film’s basically him versus the world– but hey, that dog was really important. It’s too bad those who messed with Wick never seemed to have watched any of the Keanu Reeves movies– oh the lives that could’ve been spared had they known what they were getting into.

You have to admit, Keanu Reeves has a penchant for picking the most badass film roles in Hollywood. It’s not just acting too. He has proven that he knows Kung Fu martial arts and also knows how to expertly handle guns in most Keanu Reeves movies. For that matter, Reeves is also one of the few actors who refuse to have stunt doubles– he does around 90 percent of them in all his action films.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7XM597XO94]

Without a doubt, he’s been kicking some mean butts ever since he rose to fame in the 1990s. So, in case you’re still not convinced that he alone can defeat Thanos he’s more than qualified to be John Wick, here’s a Keanu Reeves movies list to prove that he’s the one. Consider this a primer in Reeves’ badassery, here’s his most formidable movie roles ever, starting with…

Kevin Lomax from The Devil’s Advocate

It’s not often you get to work alongside Al Pacino, an established Academy Award winner. It’s also not often we get to see Reeves in white-collar professional roles, but here, he’s a lawyer. Not just any lawyer, he’s Satan’s lawyer, and Satan is played by explosive Pacino. Tough luck.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40hHA9n4C2o]

The Devil’s Advocate can be quite a refreshing change of pace if you’re looking for a calmer and more vulnerable Reeves. In this film, Reeves as Kevin Lomax got more than what he bargained for when he signed up with a big law firm. Then, his boss turns out to be Satan disguised as the Godfather. It’s worth noting that it isn’t just Pacino’ character who was evil here. From the start, Kevin has shown signs of a typical firm lawyer with no soul and only cares about his track record– an easy catch for Satan.

Henry Torne from Henry’s Crime

Henry Torne is perhaps one of Keanu Reeves’ most “gentle” roles yet. He plays an innocent man here who was wrongly implicated in a bank robbery after being betrayed by his friends and taking the fall– he even served the time. So when he got out having done prison time, he decided to break bad and do the heist he was accused of.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEt-qd3y4PM]

While inside, however, he met the very person who could help him pull off that perfect crime, someone who also served as his mentor, a con man named Max. It’s somewhat of a modern take on the Count of Monte Cristo with a twist and a Keanu to boot.

Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a remake of the 1951 classic. Reeves almost didn’t accept the role since he avoids remakes. However, he probably changed his mind upon finding out that he gets to play an alien named Klaatu. Trust us, alien Keanu is a lot more terrifying than it sounds. You can’t argue with him with emotions because he has none… the alien, not Keanu… or maybe him too.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QFcZohER3s]

Anyway, Klaatu initially started off as a cold and calculating alien out to save the Earth from humans. His violent experience with them convinced him it’s for the best. However, he later realizes that there is more to humanity than conflict and destruction. So he commands his alien swarm to stop destroying everything human. That was back in 2008, wonder if alien Keanu would still change his mind if he sees us now.

FBI Agent Johnny Utah from Point Break

Buddy cop duos have never been so homoerotic up until 1991’s Point Break. There, Keanu Reeves (federal agent Johnny Utah) stars alongside surfer Patrick Swayze (surfer/bank robber dude Bodhi) a.k.a. the ideal man of all ’90s aunts and housewives. Point Break, however, serves more than just eye-candy in the form of two bromantic dudes. It’s a classic film, one that many Hollywood bromances tried to emulate.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuVDrpl1tIY]

Of course, when bromances are involved between a cop and a cool shady dude-bro, betrayals are bound to happen, and that’s what Bodhi did to Utah. Such male chemistry laid the foundation for movies like The Fast and The Furious, but none of them ever got close to surpassing Point Break.

Donaka Mark from Man of Tai Chi

Being a martial arts expert himself, Keanu Reeves’ first directorial debut just had to be about martial arts. Man of Tai Chi is his creation. Keanu also stars in it at the same time… as the main villain. That’s right, Keanu stars as the menacing Donaka Mark alongside Tiger Chen (Tiger Chen Linhu), the protagonist of the film.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zd5WUn2oM8Y]

It’s not often we get to see Reeves take on the role of the antagonist, but somehow, he just makes this one work. As Donaka Mark, his goal was to corrupt a Tai Chi fighter into becoming a murderous combatant. Of course, despite being Keanu, he fails and Tiger Chen beats him here. Not bad for a first film especially with all the risks he took.

Kai from 47 Ronin

It does seem Keanu has an action film checklist at this point. Alien Keanu? Check. Cop Keanu? Check. Martial artist Keanu? Check. So next comes… Samurai Keanu, in 47 Ronin for this Keanu Reeves movies list.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8cKdDkkIYY]

47 Ronin is a fictional account of a real-life group of 47 masterless samurai who avenged their defeated lord. It is also quite a weird film since its cast is dominantly East Asian, save for Keanu. Needless to say, his character, Kai, sticks out like a sore thumb in this film, even when he is meant to be a half-Japanese and half-English outcast. Still, if Tom Cruise proved that angsty Americans can become samurai, then Keanu also can.

It’s no Seven Samurai, of course. Rather, it’s what Seven Samurai would have looked like if it was remade by Zack Snyder who’s still hungover from 300. Either way, samurai Keanu is not necessarily a bad thing.

John Constantine from Constantine

John Constantine, while unconventional and unrefined, is one of the most interesting antiheroes ever made. He’s a man who has come in contact with creatures of heaven and hell but remained a cynic nonetheless. Now, Reeves, despite not having a canon British accent here, still deserves a nod for his performance for his Americanized take on the character.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEa508Xmmio]

Then, there’s also the exorcist Keanu on the checklist to tick off. Reeves’ Constantine might not have committed to the source material fully, but it’s hard to imagine Constantine deceiving Lucifer and cleverly ascending to heaven with any other actor but Reeves. He did get the cynicism and wit part of Constantine correctly.

Jack Traven from Speed

Speed is the most death-defying bus ride of your life you never had. It was partly made possible thanks to Keanu insisting on doing his own stunts. You have to take note that the film was made in 1994. During that time, Keanu was not an action film veteran yet and was even wary of doing his own stunts; anyone who has seen the film knows that those stunts are lethal. So, he essentially risked his life for this film.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8piqd2BWeGI]

For the few lucky ones who haven’t seen it yet, the plot is basically: the bus is armed with a bomb which explodes if the speed drops below a certain threshold all thanks to a psycho terrorist. Jack Traven (Reeves) is a SWAT and LAPD officer who happens to have unfinished business with said terrorist, so he hops on the bus and gives birth to one of Hollywood’s best vehicular carnage films since Mad Max: Fury Road.

Neo/Thomas Anderson from The Matrix Trilogy

Mr. Anderson or later, Neo, was probably Reeves’ most iconic role before John Wick. Neo achieved every millennial’s preferred method in changing the world: through computers– by basically becoming a computer virus who knows Kung Fu. Such a convoluted plot and premise somehow just works thanks to the directors, the Wachowski brothers. It was they who blessed us with one of the greatest action sequences of all time, without any CGI:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuslUzbJEaw]

Neo or Keanu is many things in The Matrix for that matter. He’s portrayed an activist, a rebel, a hacker, a martial arts master, and everything else the Wachowski brothers want him to be, all draped in black.

John Wick from John Wick, John Wick 2

John Wick might have changed Keanu’s image from a computer Kung Fu superhero to an assassin with a fixation with dead dogs, but it’s not what you would call a demotion. He has the highest kill count out of all the protagonists in Keanu Reeves movies and he knows Gun-Fu:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTJlmlZWWHA]

However, his preferred weapon of choice is a pencil, he killed three men in a bar with it. A f*cking pencil. Need we say more?

Thankfully, we haven’t seen the last of John Wick. A third one, John Wick 3: Parabellum is coming out on May 17, the sub-title literally means “prepare for war” in Latin. He’s going to kill everyone in the world because of a dog. Hmm, understandable.

You might also like:

The Matrix Fan-made Film ‘Trickster’ Is Amazing!

Get a Taste of 47 Ronin with this Animated Prequel

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