Some actors become synonymous with a certain character. Sometimes a performance is so memorable that they become forever intrinsically linked. Arnold Schwarzenegger will always be The Terminator, Sly Stallone is Rocky and Hugh Jackman will never escape from Wolverine. Sometimes though, an actor manages to have not one iconic role, but several. One of those actors is Keanu Reeves.
The Canadian started his acting career in the eighties, and during his thirty-plus years in the business, Keanu has created a slew of iconic roles. How many of these do you love?
Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan
Keanu started his career as he meant it to go on, with one of his first roles being one of his most iconic. That character is of course Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan, from the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. This role was so iconic and well played that many have been confused as to whether there is any difference between Reeves and slacker Ted.
The film sees Ted and his best pal and band mate Bill S. Preston (Alex Winter) travel through time in order to pass their history test. You see, Ted and Bill’s band, Wyld Stallyns, will one day write the perfect song that will unite the universe and create a perfect peace. With the pair facing potential separation, Rufus is sent back from the future to ensure that this doesn’t happen. His method of travel is a phone booth, which back in the eighties was extremely inconspicuous.
The role of Ted, potentially more than any others, has followed Keanu for his entire career. Ted is a stereotypical airhead rocker teen. Instantly likeable, you can’t help but want him to succeed. Granted he’s as dumb as two planks, but what he lacks in smarts he more than makes up for in heart. The character is so lovable that he returned for a sequel, with a threequel rumoured to be in the works.
Just two years after playing Ted, Reeves managed to create his second iconic role, Johnny Utah. Utah was the hero of Point Break, the film that gave us surfing, sky-diving and meatballs sandwiches. In the film Reeves played a young FBI agent tasked with becoming a surfer in order to infiltrate a group of bank-robbing thrill seekers.
Point Break sparked a new career path for the star as it introduced him the action genre. As with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Utah is made stronger by his on-screen relationship. His partnership with Patrick Swayze is one of the greatest bromances in cinematic history. Johnny Utah is best described by Pappas as ‘Young, dumb and full of cum’; the role of Utah is essentially a slightly older version of Ted.
As Thomas ‘Neo’ Anderson, Reeves changed the world of action movies. The philosophical popcorn flick placed Keanu as a computer hacker whom discovers that his reality is a lie. Machine’s have taken over the planet and constructed a virtual reality prison to house mankind whilst they farm our bodies for energy. A rogue few have managed to escape and dedicate their existence to fighting the machines, living in a dark, desolate fire-scorched world. Neo joins one such group, headed by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) who believes that Neo is the incarnation of a prophesied saviour.
As Neo, Reeves nails the ‘Alice down the rabbit-hole’ nature of the part, acting as a conduit between the film and the audience. He also showcased an aptitude for fighting, learning several martial arts styles to become the ultimate badass. He’s also one sharp dresser, his character inspiring a whole fashion trend for sunglasses and long-length leather jackets. For many fans this was thought to be the one role that defined him, that was until a certain assassin came into play…
John Wick, is a former assassin who retired at the height of his career so that he could be with the woman he loved. Sadly, shortly after her tragic death he found himself drawn back into the criminal underworld. The film was a massive sleeper success and spawned a sequel, which releases later this week.
This time around Keanu really cements himself as John Wick, so much so that we really don’t know where one ends and the other begins. Throwing a massive shade on other actors, Reeves fully embraces all aspects of the role, including a gruelling training schedule. Why? So that we can see him doing all the super cool moves himself; no stunt team were harmed in the making of this role.
The role of Wick was the perfect comeback character for the action star. Full of mind-blowing fight sequences, super cool music and some stunning cinematographer, John Wick: Chapter Two makes you forget all of Keanu’s previous incarnations.
John Wick: Chapter Two arrives in UK cinemas from Friday 17th February. Read our glowing review here.