I have levels to my movie watching.
Level 1: I HAVE to see this the day it’s released
Level 2: This movie looks cool but I don’t have to see it in theaters. I’ll catch it on Blu-Ray.
Level 3: Will Netflix have this in a year?
Level 4: I have no interest in seeing this movie at all.
Last weekend, I finally got to watch a movie that was somewhere between a Level 1 and 2. I wanted to see this one at the movies but the theater in my town is 20 minutes away from my spot so I choose to take a nap most evenings.
This movie was everything I thought it would be. It was the perfect combination of stylized action and hyper-violence I needed to see. It has little dialog and gets straight to the action. So as the lead character was killing two men with a pencil it hit me…Keanu Reeves is the greatest action hero of our generation.
This statement reads incredibly outlandish, but is it really?
Today, we don’t have the same class of action heroes like Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Keanu’s only competition is Qui-Gon Jin, an overweight Bruce Willis and a 5’5 man who prays to aliens.
In order to judge who is the best action hero of this generation, you have to ask who is more likely to kill you in real life.
Liam Neeson? Too old
Tom Cruise? Couldn’t do it without poisoning your kool-aid.
Jason Statham? Possibly.
Keanu? Well, seeing is believing.
But Keanu’s action legacy starts way before John Wick. It began with The Matrix. The Matrix called for rigorous training for all the actors but Keanu’s training was the hardest due Neo’s scenes. Keanu had a spine fusion right before filming which made training an excruciating process. A spine fusion sounds exactly like what you think it is by the way. Keanu, being the hero that he is, persisted nonetheless. This is why Neo’s fighting style relies heavily on punching. It’s also why his kicks look incredibly stiff during the Agent Smith fight. Yet, being the bad ass that he is, he still managed to do this.
Since we’ve talked about The Matrix already, let’s go down the rest of his resume.
Point Break (1991)
He’s a former star quarterback named Johnny Utah and he still managed to infiltrate a group of bank robbers. He’s the GOAT already.
Poetic Justice (1993)
Ok, I’m joking but I still didn’t know he played a random homeless guy in this movie.
Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
I admit to the fact this movie is terrible but it’s still a cult classic. If I had to guess, this movie put Keanu in consideration for the role of Neo. It’s more sci-fi than action but this was the start of Keanu being seen as an action star.
The Matrix Reloaded/Matrix Revolutions (2003)
These movies go into the mythology of the Matrix more than the first film which doesn’t make them true action movies. However, The Matrix Reloaded still has one of Keanu’s most physically demanding action scenes so it has to be here.
Man of Tai Chi (2013)
Although Keanu took a backseat in this movie it’s still noticeable because this was his first time in the director’s chair. While this movie isn’t perfect, it does feature some beautiful fight scenes.
John Wick/John Wick: Chapter 2 (2014/2017)
John Wick came out of nowhere. In 2014, life was too good. We were too happy. We needed a dark cloud of gloom to cast over us. This came with the saddest character death in history: John Wick’s dog. Why did you have to kill John Wick’s dog? He has nothing to live for now! You want him back! Well, guess what!? Now he’s back!
John Wick and John Wick 2two have never made violence look so beautiful. They’re really simplistic films but they are action masterpieces. This franchise will solidify Keanu’s place, especially since he’s already interested in making Episode VI: Revenge of the Wick and the comedy spin-off Wick Goes to Jail. Also, look out for Wick in Space. As you can tell, I’m very excited about the John Wick Extended Universe.
So whenever you’re having a bad day, remember that Keanu puts his body on the line for our enjoyment. He’s the GOAT action star of our generation and he’s not slowing down anytime soon. The spirit of Keanu lives in us all.
Now, I’ll leave you with this: