Keanu Reeves has gone from strength to strength for the past three decades. He has a way of turning characters that might be a tough sell to mainstream audiences into timeless icons of the silver screen, beginning with the time-traveling pothead that is Ted “Theodore” Logan. Continuing his legacy-building as Jack Traven, Reeves gave us a lead protagonist in a Die Hard-esque movie that wasn’t a John McClane clone. As Neo, reeves blew audience’s minds with the imagined truth of their reality. And as John Wick, he gave us a bloodthirsty assassin that we could empathize with. Here are Keanu Reeves’ 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 John Wick (87%)
What began as a gritty little B-movie has blown up into one of Hollywood’s foremost franchises. John Wick is a visceral action thriller with intense fight choreography and engaging direction, the likes of which has only been rivaled by its subsequent sequels, which have somehow managed to continually up the ante. The unforgettable film that started it all begins with the death of John’s wife. All he has left in the world is a puppy that his dying wife gave him for company, and then some punk crime lord’s son breaks into his house with a couple of goons and kills the dog. Naturally, we spend the rest of the movie following John on a vengeful rampage through the criminal underworld.
9 The Matrix (88%)
This is the film that made every late-‘90s moviegoer question the nature of their own reality. The Wachowskis cooked up something truly brilliant when they blended William Gibson-inspired cyberpunk and allusions to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with the imagery of Japanese kung fu cinema. The Matrix is a unique movie, yet it has universal appeal. Combining lofty ideas (we’re all experiencing reality as a computer program from goo-filled vats controlled by alien robots) with well-crafted action sequences (helicopters, explosions, shootouts), the Wachowskis made a sci-fi action movie that succeeds as an all-time classic entry in both of its genres.
8 John Wick: Chapter 2 (89%)
The second John Wick movie ties up the loose ends of the first one as the titular hitman tracks down his stolen car and doles out his particular brand of street justice on the culprits. Following this, the sequel’s plot begins proper as a powerful underworld figure attempts to hire Baba Yaga to kill his sister, then blows up his house when he refuses to play ball.
John goes after the sister, then hunts down the guy who hired him. Assassin rules prevent him from doing so, especially on Continental premises, but he doesn’t much care, so he does it anyway, bringing on a world of trouble.
7 TIE: Much Ado About Nothing (90%)
A number of critics felt that Keanu Reeves was miscast in a movie adaptation of a Shakespeare play — and this was just one year after those same critics had said the same thing about his casting in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula movie — and felt the same way about Michael Keaton. Kenneth Branagh gets Shakespeare, so if he cast Reeves and Keaton as Don John and Dogberry, respectively, then he must’ve seen something in them that they could bring to those characters. And if you go into the movie without the preconceptions that those snooty, cynical critics had (Reeves and Keaton were, until then, known as comedy guys), then you’ll see that they each do a fine job with their roles.
6 TIE: Always Be My Maybe (90%)
Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe is one of the most inventive and genuinely heartfelt romantic comedies in recent memory. Ali Wong and Randall Park are an impeccably well-matched leading pair and their love story in the movie is actually interesting, which isn’t often seen in the genre. In one scene, Park’s character has to sit through a dinner with Wong’s character’s new boyfriend after realizing he’s in love with her — and her new boyfriend turns out to be Keanu Reeves, playing himself. According to director Nahnatchka Khan, Reeves came up with a lot of ideas for his cameo himself, like wearing glasses with no lenses to seem more pretentious.
5 TIE: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (90%)
At one point, it seems like these John Wick movies are going to have nowhere left to go. They’ve been following the trajectory of Barney Stinson’s get-psyched mix: “People think a great mix has to rise and fall. I think it should be all rise. It should start high, get higher.” In every John Wick movie, the stakes get higher, the action gets more breathtaking, and the world-building gets grander. In Parabellum, every assassin in the world was out for John’s head, so who knows where the producers intend to go with the announced fourth movie. But then again, they haven’t steered us wrong in John’s stolen Ford Mustang yet, so we have to keep the faith.
4 TIE: Dangerous Liaisons (93%)
To the passive moviegoer — and to the avid moviegoer who simply refuses to admit it — period movies are generally quite boring. The makers of these movies often feel the need to bring a quiet elegance to match the fancy-pants costumes and set design, which leads to incomprehensible old-timey dialogue and long, pretentious scenes where very little actually happens. Dangerous Liaisons, an ‘80s take on a period drama with lead characters who use sex as a manipulative weapon, is the antidote to all those boring historical movies that lose your interest in the opening scene. It’s lively, fast-paced and coherent.
3 TIE: Parenthood (93%)
Although it’s most widely known now for its TV adaptation, which ran for more than 100 episodes across an impressive six seasons on NBC, Parenthood is a delightful dramedy capturing the joys and frustrations of family life. Steve Martin plays a father who questions his abilities as a parent when his children’s mental health issues start to become apparent and they all need therapy. Ron Howard directed the movie with grace, warmth and positive messages left and right. Keanu Reeves only has a supporting role as the daughter’s boyfriend and later husband, but he steals every scene he’s in.
2 Speed (94%)
Of all the “Die Hard on a...” premises that followed after Bruce Willis changed the face of action cinema with “Die Hard in a skyscraper,” “Die Hard on a bus” probably sounds like the least interesting one. But in the capable hands of director Jan de Bont, script doctor Joss Whedon, and above all, star Keanu Reeves, Speed became the first Die Hard copycat to stand on its own as an action classic.
Reeves plays Jack Traven alongside Sandra Bullock’s flustered bus driver on a bus that’s been rigged with a bomb that will explode if the vehicle’s speed drops below 50 mph.
1 Toy Story 4 (97%)
Pixar reportedly gave Keanu Reeves the freedom to create his own character to appear in Toy Story 4. The one he came up with is beautiful: a Canadian daredevil toy named Duke Caboom who feels guilty that he’s unable to do all the stunts that his commercials claim he can, making him feel as though he’s let down the kids who play with him. Although many fans went into the fourth Toy Story movie skeptical that it was necessary, since Toy Story 3 ended the saga perfectly, it turned out to be a delightful extra adventure with all of our favorite characters (and plenty of new ones).