Ranking the five best Keanu Reeves action movies

Ben Skipper
Contributor
Keanu in ‘The Matrix’, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ and ‘Point Break’. (Credits: Fox / Summit)

Keanu Reeves isn’t a typical action star like your Arnies, your Stallones or your Stathams, but he’s had just as many hits and has starred in just as many classics.

After a few years out of the spotlight, Reeves returned to the blockbuster fold with ‘John Wick’ in 2015, a film that appeared to be in the ‘Taken’ mould, but which had enough style to set itself apart.

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With ‘John Wick: Chapter 2′ out this week (17 February), we decided to run down the best action movies of Keanu Reeves’ career.

1) ‘The Matrix’

‘The Matrix’ was a refreshing, unique action film that pioneered in its use of special effects. There’s martial arts, hackers, an apocalyptic backdrop, a bit of body horror, lots of leather and a hell of a lot of slow motion – something for everyone.

The lobby scene remains a classic of big screen gunplay and practical effects, and the climatic clash between Reeves’ Neo and Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith is a fantastic fist fight.

The Wachowski’s tech-thriller classic holds up 18 years later, whereas many films about computer wizardry would not and have not. In fact, the most dated aspect of the film is its character’s sunglasses.

Keanu reunited with the ‘Matrix’ co-stars Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss at the premiere for ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’.

2) ‘Speed’

One of the 90s best action movies, ‘Speed’ only just misses out on our number one spot. The film’s brilliance is that it takes a ridiculous concept and makes it work.

A speed-triggered bomb aboard a bus probably wasn’t the best plan Dennis Hopper’s villain could have dreamt up to make a few million dollars, but it made for a great film.

It loses a little something after Keanu and Sandra Bullock save the day, but it’s worth it for the moment when Hopper is decapitated during the subway train fight.

3) ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’

As sequels go, ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ ticks all the right boxes. The original ‘Wick’ film, as we’ll explain later, is far from perfect, but the sequel zeroes in and builds on everything that worked or showed potential during the first outing.

‘Chapter 2’ offers builds on the wider world of assassins and criminal enterprises only glimpsed at in the first film. It also ramps up the action sequences and sense of style to turn ‘John Wick’ from a one-hit wonder into an interesting and unique franchise

A worthysequel, and hopefully not the last.

4) ‘Point Break’

Johnny Utah is, without a doubt, one of the best all-American action hero names ever, but there are many more reasons to love ‘Point Break’. As Utah, Reeves plays an FBI agent who goes undercover in a band of surfers believed to be tied to a string of bank robberies.

Patrick Swayze plays the surfers’ leader Bodhi, with whom Utah forms a bond that will test the latter’s commitment to his law-enforcement duties. With a pre-‘The Hurt Locker’ Kathryn Bigelow at the helm, this was a ‘Fast & Furious’ film before Vin Diesel had even dreamed of wearing a greasy white vest.

The recent remake… well it was far from successful.

5) ‘John Wick’

‘John Wick’ was a proof of concept that won people over because of its excellently choreographed action scenes (this style of balletic gunplay is called “gun-fu”), its simple, universally-appreciated premise (don’t mess with man’s best friend) and Keanu Reeves’ charismatic presence as a leading man.

What director Chad Stahelski’s first film lacked was the strength of its convictions, deciding not to indulge its weirder side too often and choosing to end with a more traditional fist-fight. The sequel, as explained, knows what to do.

That said, ‘John Wick’ remains a slick action movie, and one of Reeves’ best.