I love Keanu Reeves. Say what you want about his acting ability, I think he’s perfect when he doesn’t reach too far. A staple 90’s action and the surfer-dude mentality, Reeves is now a cult figure of sorts, thanks to his un-Hollywood social life, recent cameos, and of course, his movies. This week, Reeves stars in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the third chapter in the John Wick series. So with that, here are my picks for the best Keanu Reeves movies.
These choices are based on film quality and the performance by Reeves.
5 – TED THEODORE LOGAN in BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE(Stephen Herek, 1989)
This is was the performance where the world was really introduced to Keanu Reeves and it was the ideal starting performance for him. As one half of buddy duo with his boy Bill (Alex Winter), the two stoners go on a wild adventure back in time to get a crash course in history before a school presentation. The movie is hilarious and features awesome performances from Reeves, Winter, and the legendary George Carlin. This was a breakthrough for Reeves, giving him a personality and showing his talent that would only grow in the years to come.
4 – JOHNNY UTAH inPOINT BREAK (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991)
Point Break showed that Reeves was a bonafide action star. In Kathryn Bigelow’s electric cop thriller about an F.B.I. agent (Reeves) who goes undercover in a group of bank robbing surfers, led by their charismatic leader Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), Reeves kicks ass and showed he was a superstar in the making. This movie really heightened Reeves’ “surfer dude” mentality, and yet showed a dramatic side that had yet to be discovered. The teaming of Bigelow and Reeves was perfect, as both were trying to make a name for themselves in Hollywood and showed they were legit. It may have a pinch too much of 90’s cheesiness, but this is a thrilling, fun ride.
3 – JOHN WICK inJOHN WICK(Chad Stahelski, David Leitch, 2014)
In John Wick, Reeves is a video game samurai. He’s a very stoic, methodical, and precise assassin who kills more people than words he speaks. This is Reeves at his absolute finest. John Wick was the sleeper hit of 2014 thanks to its slick, bloody action and Reeves, who became somewhat of a cult hero after the film. Reeves had made a number of critical and commercial duds in the 2000’s, and some may have written his star off. But John Wick is the film and performance that put him back on the map as one of Hollywood’s biggest badasses.
2 – NEO inTHE MATRIX(The Wachowski’s, 1999)
The Matrix is as revolutionary as films get. I don’t know if one movie over the last 20 years has been as influential as The Matrix. It is incredibly original, visually stunning, and features some of the best effects and action sequences I have ever seen on film. Playing the lead in a film like this is tough and Reeves knocks it out of the park. Similar to his rise in Hollywood, Neo goes from naive computer hacker to a badass fighting machine and the God-like figure simply known as “The One”. Reeves’ physicality has never been better and his “whoa” personality describes the movie exactly. The sequels may not have lived up to their potential, but The Matrix is a cinematic classic.
1 – JACK TRAVEN inSPEED(Jon du Bont, 1994)
Everything about Speed is perfect. It is a high-concept action flick about a bus that can’t go below 55 miles per hour or else it will blow up. The movie, like the bus, never stops and is full of heart-stopping sequences and great characters. This is my favorite Reeves performance as he plays the ideal action hero like a boss. He’s tough, smart, and relentless at stopping the villain, played wonderfully by Dennis Hopper. Reeves has a great dynamic with Hopper, as well as Jeff Daniels, his fellow LAPD partner, and Sandra Bullock, who plays the accidental bus driver and growing love interest. They have a great chemistry that guides the movie when the action is quiet. Speed is one of the greatest action movies of all time and my favorite Keanu Reeves movie.