RANKED! The 7 Most (John) Wicked Keanu Reeves Characters of the Past 20 Years
Photo: Summit Entertainment
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Keanu Reeves. By all accounts, he is a kind man who is committed to his craft. He has taken on a wide variety of roles in interesting films, from cult classics like Point Break and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure to mass-market smash hits like The Matrix and John Wick franchises.
As the latter series comes to a—hopefully exhilarating—close with John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum this spring, it seems appropriate to look back on its star’s many memorable roles. Here are the seven best characters of Keanu Reeves’s career to date.
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7. Ted in the 'Bill & Ted' Franchise
The Bill & Ted films are cult classics. Their low placement on this list only speaks to the many memorable roles Reeves has taken on in his career. Ted and his friend Bill (Alex Winter) are two likable teenage dullards with high hopes of becoming rock stars. In the distant future, however, the duo are highly-regarded historical figures. Their follower Rufus come back to the present day to help them out with tasks that threaten their futures. The two films are a lot of goofy fun—and hopefully, the long-awaited third film will be too.
Photo: Nelson Entertainment
6. Johnny Utah in 'Point Break'
In an age where female directors were few and far between, Kathryn Bigelow—future filmmaker behind Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker—delivers the quintessential hyper-machismo action crime flick in Point Break with Patrick Swayze as an adrenaline junkie-con-master criminal and Reeves as the FBI Agent who will stop at nothing to catch him.
Photo: Largo Entertainment
5. Jonathan Harker in 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'
The Francis Ford Coppola film, based upon Bram Stoker’s timeless novel, is gorgeous and technically impressive. Though Reeves’s role as a dutiful husband to Mina Harker (Winona Ryder) is comparatively small, it is a necessary performance in one of Coppola’s most underrated pieces. It is also possible that Reeves and Ryder are actually married as a result of this film.
Photo: American Zoetrope
4. John Constantine in 'Constantine'
It can be hard to remember a time before carefully-crafted cinematic universes, but way back when, there were films like Constantine. Named after its protagonist, John Constantine (Reeves), the film is an adaptation of the DC comic book series Hellblazer. The resulting film, which sees John Constantine go through hell in literal hell, is wholly unique and worthwhile, even with its missteps. Even more surprising that it was the feature length directorial debut of Francis Lawrence, who went on to direct I Am Legend and most of the Hunger Games films.
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
3. Jack Traven in 'Speed'
Let’s face it: there is no Neo and there is no John Wick without Jack Traven. Prior to Speed, Reeves was thought of as an indie darling by studio heads and audiences alike—save for the aberration that was Point Break. However, Speed really let the perennial action star show off his bona fide star power and likely changed his career trajectory entirely. The film about a bus rigged to explode if it dipped under 50 miles per hour continues to excite even today, 25 years later.
Photo: Mark Gordon Productions
2. Neo in 'The Matrix' Franchise
The Matrix stunned audiences when it was released. Its imaginative story and clever world-building blew them away. It was unlike anything people had seen since George Lucas first released Star Wars back in 1977. The film even ushered in a unique fashion aesthetic that continues to inspire to this day. Reeves was at the center of it all as Thomas Anderson, also known as Neo, the unlikely hero of the story, who would save humankind from sentient authoritarian computers.
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
John Wick, 'John Wick' Franchise
It is entirely possible that John Wick has eclipsed Neo as Reeves’s most memorable character, which is no small feat. The Wachowskis’ The Matrix and its subsequent films were groundbreaking. But John Wick is an impressive series all its own. Only a stunt coordinator like Chad Stahelski could helm a film franchise that is almost entirely action. In the same way, only a man who can do his own stunts like Reeves could fill such a role. With its exciting action, smart direction, economic storytelling, stark color contrast and thumping music, the high anticipation for the third and final chapter of John Wick is deserved.
Photo: Thunder Road Pictures