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Keanu Reeves, John Wick

Five reasons to rate Keanu Reeves

Keanu, we love you. Let us count the ways…

By Tom Huddleston
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The haters have been laying into Keanu Reeves since his career began back in the 1980s. ‘He can’t act!’ ‘He’s sort of dumb!’ ‘He’s only got one facial expression!’ But in the past few years – thanks to flops like ‘47 Ronin’ – the muttering has become a roar.

Even Keanu, now 50, started to admit that the big studio roles had dried up. But is the tide turning? His latest film ‘John Wick’ was a surprise hit in America, signalling the start of the Keanu renaissance. Here are five reasons why he’s great…

Five reasons to rate Keanu Reeves

1. He can act, actually

His range might not be vast – but hey, neither is George Clooney’s. Put Keanu in the right role – ‘Point Break’, ‘The Matrix’ – and he’s the perfect action frontman: effortlessly cool and impossibly good-looking, but still an everyman we can relate to. And let’s not forget ‘Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey’. Playing a character and an evil robot version of that character is no easy task, dude.

2. He’s a genuinely nice guy

Stories about the generosity of Hollywood stars need to be taken with a sackload of PR salt – most of them really are selfish, overpaid creeps. Not Keanu. When negotiating his contract for the ‘Matrix’ sequels, he arranged for a percentage of his cut to go to employees in the special-effects department, costing him – wait for it – $75 million. He also gave $5 million to a leukaemia foundation, among many other charitable acts.

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3. He’s way smart

That California doofus tag has followed Keanu around since the beginning. But did you know he can recite Shakespeare sonnets from memory? Or that he’s read all seven volumes of Proust’s ‘A la Recherche du Temps Perdu’? Who’s stupid now, eh?

4. He truly loves film

In 2012, Keanu produced and appeared in ‘Side by Side’, a documentary in which he interviewed filmmakers including Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan on the impact of digital technology on cinema. His other producing credits include ‘Henry’s Crime’ and ‘John Wick’, not to mention his directorial debut, surprisingly authentic kung-fu flick ‘Man of Tai Chi’.

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5. He’s just… lovable

Is it his puppy-dog expression? His zen-stoner drawl? The fact that he travels on public transport and hangs out with the homeless? Is it the Sad Keanu meme? Or the fact that he responded to said meme by publishing a book of poetry called ‘Ode to Happiness’? Something about Keanu just speaks to people – and hey, we’re no different. So step off, critical dudes. Keanu is totally back.

Read our ‘John Wick’ review

John Wick

3 out of 5 stars
Film Action and adventure

Let’s not go overboard. ‘John Wick’ is manna for action fans thanks to its cleanly designed shoot-em-up sequences – ones you can actually follow– and brutal takedowns. But the revenge plotting is deeply dopey and we shouldn’t have to choose one or the other.

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