When it comes to action, some performers know how to pull it off, while others most certainly do not. Keanu Reeves is the former. The 52-year-old actor has proven time and time again that he is one of the best physical actors working in Hollywood, and the upcoming release of John Wick: Chapter 2 will seemingly continue that long tradition. The film has thus far garnered strong buzz, so all eyes are on it to keep Reeves' action streak running hot when it finally debuts on February 10.
On that note, we think the upcoming release of John Wick: Chapter 2 is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the long and fruitful career of this action icon. To help make sense of Keanu Reeves' many coolest silver screen moments, we have compiled a list of the ten times he proved that he was a complete and utter Hollywood badass. Check out our list, and let us know your favorite badass Keanu Reeves moment in the comments section below. Without further ado, let's kick this list off with one of Reeves' most (literally) fast-paced roles.
The Foot Chase - Point Break
There's a strong case that Point Break is one of the most testosterone-driven movies ever made. It's a master class in gritty action filmmaking, and it's a complete encapsulation of gloriously over the top masculinity and athleticism. No scene epitomizes that idea better than the foot chase in Venice Beach, California -- which sees Reeves' Johnny Utah running after Patrick Swayze's Bodhi following a bank heist. Kathryn Bigelow's ability to keep the hectic sequence coherent remains unparalleled to this day, and Reeves (as well as Swayze) sells his physicality in every frame. Of course, it there's one specific moment that fans will always remember (thanks to Hot Fuzz), it has to be Johnny Utah furiously emptying his gun after he can't bring himself to shoot Bodhi.
Boarding The Bus - Speed
Keanu Reeves' was no stranger to big action films when Speed debuted in 1994, but his role as hotshot SWAT officer Jack Traven is what truly elevated him to superstar status. The movie is quite literally a non-stop action thrill ride from start to finish, and one of the most adrenaline-fueled sequences in the entire film comes when Jack finally boards the ill-fated Los Angeles bus. It's a tense highway chase sequence (with some solid humor thrown in for good measure), and Reeves caps the entire affair off with a death-defying jump from a commandeered convertible. The bus boarding sequence isn't the flashiest Keanu Reeves action sequence of all time, but it's one of the most visceral and effective.
The Final Fight - Man of Tai Chi
Despite the fact that 2013's Man of Tai Chi was Keanu Reeves' first time behind the camera for a major motion picture, he performed quite admirably in the role -- which is badass in its own right. That said, the most badass moment within the actual film is unquestionably the final fight sequence between Donaka (Reeves) and Tiger (Tiger Chen Linhu) that combines good, practical martial arts prowess with some seriously otherworldly mysticism. We live in an era where legitimately compelling martial arts films have become far too rare, and Keanu Reeves' work on Man of Tai Chi (in front of and behind the camera) provides a real sense of nostalgia for a genre that has been underserved in recent years.
The Home Invasion - John Wick
Keanu Reeves was 50 years old when John Wick hit theaters in 2014, but the way the action star moved during the home invasion sequence towards the end of the film's first act would lead you to believe that he wasn't a day over 30. Mr. Wick comes across as a relatively docile creature during the opening scenes of the movie, but this particular sequence is the moment when he finally unleashes the man that the rest of the criminal underworld fears. The action in this fight is smooth; it's coherent, and (perhaps most importantly) it's punctuated by the hilarious arrival of a police officer that has no interest in stepping on John's toes as he sorts out his personal business.
The Chateau Fight - The Matrix Reloaded
The two sequels to 1999's The Matrix have quite a few problems, but Keanu Reeves' action prowess is not one of them. No scene from either sequel captures that idea more than the fight when the crew of The Nebuchadnezzar goes to the chateau to find The Keymaker in The Matrix Reloaded. While some of the other scenes from Reloaded use quite a bit of CGI (that has admittedly become dated by today's standards), the chateau fight is all Reeves, and the actor genuinely throws himself into the fight against The Merovingian's thugs. It's one of Reeves' best action sequences from the entire Matrix franchise, and it's easily his best fight scene between Reloaded and Revolutions.
The Dragon Fight - 47 Ronin
You would likely be hard pressed to find anyone who will refer to 47 Ronin as the best movie in Keanu Reeves' filmography. However, that doesn't change the fact that the film has quite a few standout action sequences that perfectly capture the actor's penchant for being a complete and utter badass. One of the more outlandish sequences on this list, the dragon fight shows Reeves' Kai facing off against the mythical beast with little more than a katana at his side, and Reeves once again proves that he can convincingly perform with literally any weapon in his hands. 47 Ronin isn't a perfect movie, but Keanu Reeves as a samurai is a million dollar idea that we wish we came up with years ago.
Under The Bus - Speed
Getting Jack Traven onto the bus is one of Speed's best early scenes, but getting him under the bus near the climax of that sequence takes the film to an entirely new level. After figuring out how to loop the camera feed that allows Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) to spy on his victims, Jack picks up some handy bomb disposal gear and slides under the bus in an attempt to render the bomb harmless. Once he realizes that he won't be able to defuse the explosive device properly, Jack thinks fast and uses a piece of the bus' floor to slide himself and Annie (Sandra Bullock) to safety just as the vehicle goes up in flames. It's as tense as movie scenes get, and Reeves sells it beautifully.
Neo vs. Agent Smith - The Matrix
While both Matrix sequels feature some pretty stellar one-on-one fight sequences, nothing will ever come close to the original fight between Neo and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) in the subway station. There's a palpable sense of danger to the scene, as audiences honestly don't' know whether or not Neo will make it out of the fight alive. In fact, he's only able to survive this encounter due to a bit of good luck and some strategic thinking at the end. The fight is brutal, bloody, unrelenting, and it captures everything that we loved about the grim and gritty nature of the first Matrix film. This scene made it clear: Neo was far more interesting when he was far less powerful.
The Club Shootout - John Wick
If the home invasion sequence at the beginning of John Wick serves as an appetizer for what's to come, then the nightclub shootout represents the meat and potatoes of the entire movie. Seriously, Keanu Reeves perfectly sells John Wick as the mythical force of nature that the rumors suggest before this scene. Directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski deserve special credit for keeping the action in the frame intelligible, but it's Reeves who puts his real life talent and training on display as he lays waste to hordes of henchmen with fists and firearms. His primary target eventually gets away in this scene, but John leaves plenty of bodies in his wake.
The Lobby Scene - The Matrix
Honestly, if there is one single action sequence that Keanu Reeves will be remembered for from his long career as an action icon, then it has to be the lobby fight from The Matrix. It's Neo's first legitimate fight of the movie (after a long, well-earned build-up), and it's well worth the wait. Armed to the teeth with guns (lots of guns) as well as some serious kung-fu skills, Neo and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) storm a building full of soldiers and Agents to rescue Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) from captivity -- and guaranteed execution. Not only is this scene one of the best action moments in Keanu Reeves' entire filmography; it's also one of the best (and most iconic) gunfights ever committed to film.
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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