Comic duo Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key turned their Key & Peele comedy act (originally fostered on MAD TV) into a smash-hit sketch series for Comedy Central, mixing hilarious takes on politics and popular-culture with biting social-commentary and a unique perspective informed by their shared biracial backgrounds. Their recurring sketches, including "Luther: Obama's Anger Translator" and "Rap Album Confessions" proved so popular that the Luther character even appeared with the actual President Obama during a recent White House Correspondents Dinner speech. Hence it came as a surprise to fans when, back in 2015, the duo announced that the show would (voluntarily) end with its fifth season - despite still being one of the network's more popular series.
But if fans thought Key and Peele were slowing down, think again: The red-band trailer has hit for the pair's first feature film, a gangland action-comedy with a satirical edge called Keanu.
While both men covered a variety of subjects in their comedy, a running theme of Key & Peele has consistently been their own unease and insecurity about living as biracial men who don't necessarily embody affects or attitudes stereotypically associated with Black (or white, for that matter) American masculinity. That theme is also at the heart of Keanu, which finds Peele as a gentle man nursing a bad breakup by caring for an orphaned kitten he names "Keanu" and Key as his similarly-sensitive best (human) friend. But when Peele's house is burglarized and Keanu is abducted, the pair embark on a rescue mission that will ultimately mean infiltrating a local inner-city gangland scene they are both hilariously ill-equipped to handle... or are they?
Check out the poster for Keanu, below:
Judging from the trailer, the film looks like a real winner; promising to mix authentic-looking parodies of action films and urban-gangland thrillers with the duo's signature cutting commentary and self-deprecating comedy - this time with the added bonus of being cut loose from the content restrictions of basic cable, with an R-rating allowing unbleeped profanity and what looks to be some over-the-top gunplay. The film was directed by Peter Atencio, a veteran TV director (including several episodes of Key & Peele) also known for the low-budget monster movie The Rig. The title (and the premise) are, presumably, an allusion to John Wick; the recent action film wherein Keanu Reeves violently dismantled an army of gangsters to avenge the murder of his puppy.
Update: According to director Peter Atencio, there's not meant to be any connection to John Wick.
Just so we're clear, Keanu was written well before John Wick's release, and is not a parody of or homage to that film in any way. Cool? Cool
— Peter Atencio (@Atencio) January 22, 2016
Time will tell if the film can live up to the high-standards set by Key & Peele, but audiences won't have to wait too long to find out.
Keanu is set to hit theaters nationwide on April 29, 2016.
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