A moment in the newly released John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum trailer is an Easter egg referencing Keanu Reeves' role in The Matrix. Long before the actor wowed audiences with the innovative gun-fu of the John Wick movies, he established himself as an action icon by appearing in 1990s classics such as Point Break, Speed, and The Matrix. It was in that third one Reeves played arguably his most famous character, Neo, later reprising the part in two sequels. Though the actor has appeared in several movies over the years, The Matrix remains the first one that comes to mind for many viewers.
2019 is a special year for The Matrix, since it marks the revolutionary sci-fi film's 20th anniversary. It appears that fact wasn't lost on John Wick 3 director Chad Stahelski and his team, who found a way to work in a nod to The Matrix in their latest movie. It's one that's so obvious when viewers hear it, that it's hard to see how it could just be a coincidence.
About midway through the trailer, Continental Hotel owner Winston asks John what he needs as he continues his battle against the High Table. John responds by saying, "Guns. Lots of guns." Of course, that's the exact line Neo said as he and Trinity were preparing for The Matrix's standout lobby shootout sequence. And in both cases, Reeves' character got exactly what he requested.
The reference might be a little on-the-nose for some, but it still works as a fun meta moment that reflects on Reeves' career. He's been a viable action star for decades and is showing no signs of slowing down, as he continues to do his own stunts and trains rigorously before production. And, as far as Reeves-specific Easter eggs go, this one fits snugly within the context of the John Wick world. In Parabellum, John finds himself preparing for war against several people looking to collect a $14 million bounty on his head. It goes without saying he'll need "lots of guns" in order to survive this ordeal. On its own merits, the line makes sense, but its connection to The Matrix adds a little something extra to it - particularly for longtime fans of Reeves who were there when Matrix first premiered.
It really shouldn't come as a surprise Stahelski couldn't resist paying homage to The Matrix in the John Wick movies (see also: Laurence Fishburne's casting as John's ally the Bowery King). Prior to making a name for himself as a director, Stahelski worked as Reeves' stunt double and stunt coordinator on the Matrix trilogy (as well as a plethora of other films). Considering the history he has with Reeves, he probably thought it'd be fun to slyly slide this reference into Parabellum, and now viewers should keep their eyes peeled for any other cool Easter eggs the sequel may have.
- John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) release date: May 17, 2019