How the John Wick movies are being differentiated from the Matrix universe

Keanu Reeves is one of those actors who grows on you — and grows and grows. I used to think he wasn’t acting until I saw what other people did with similar materials. I’ll admit my view has been highly influenced by the manner in which he treats others. He is simply Kind, without regard to his movie history of violent roles. Fun to watch and follow. This article points out something it would be easy to take for granted — that the way in which Reeves movies in the Matrix movies is very different than the way he moves in the John Wick series, and very intentionally.

‘John Wick’ Creators Made Action Sequences Extra Hard for ‘Matrix’ Star Keanu Reeves On Purpose


September 5, 2020

With Keanu Reeves seemingly working on the new The Matrix sequel and another sequel to John Wick at the same time, they may look like they could blend into one another. Perhaps it feels that way for Reeves while filming, despite reports of stunt skills for each being quite different.

It turns out when he decided to take on the John Wick franchise, Reeves was challenged into doing different stunts from what he learned in The Matrix movies. One would think this is impossible since The Matrix required nearly every physical skill in the book.

Reeves ultimately had to learn all-new things, likely to help better distinguish John Wick from being mistaken as a Matrix knockoff.

Learning new martial arts for the ‘John Wick’ movies

According to Collider, the director/choreographers of the John Wick franchise (Chad Stahelski and David Leitch) wanted to give Reeves something new to learn in the realm of fight scenes.

Stahelski and Leitch were stunt doubles in The Matrix movies, so they were already aware of what Reeves had done. And it was exhausting physical work, including the actor going through some major pain at one point. Due to past compressed and shattered discs in his back, Reeves almost became partially paralyzed for a while until having neck surgery to fix the issue.

Nevertheless, it never prevented him from taking on more cinematic challenges. Rather than make it easier for him, Stahelski and Leitch reportedly had Reeves learn some different martial arts moves than learned in The Matrix.

Because some moviegoers could connect the two franchises together too easily, having Reeves learn jiu jitsu and “gun fu” gave him a larger skill set.

A look at “gun fu” used in the ‘John Wick’ movies

Not everyone may have familiarity with gun fu, a martial arts skill not new to movies. The definition of this martial art move is “a blend of gunplay and kung fu”, something originated in movies made in Hong Kong.

Gun fu is not seen too often in American films of late, so it was a brilliant idea of Stahelski and Leitch above to incorporate it into John Wick. It definitely is no picnic to learn, though, which meant a lot of time for Reeves learning the maneuver.

Along with this, standard jiu jitsu moves were utilized, something seen in past American movies like Lethal Weapon. Using the combination of that and gun fu managed to give the John Wick movies their own action style.

Neither one of the above moves were ever incorporated into The Matrix movies, other than extensive mixed martial arts moves. What fans probably want to know now is whether John Wick 4 (and 5) will take things even further, giving Reeves an action movie workout like never before.

Can Keanu Reeves top himself at the age of 56?

Keanu Reeves at a 'Semper Fi' screening
Keanu Reeves at a ‘Semper Fi’ screening | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Most fans of Reeves admit he does not look his real age. He turns 56 this September 2, which is considered beyond the typical age for action stars. Yet, there he is doing two of the most physically demanding movies arguably ever done.

At the moment, Reeves is in Berlin, Germany filming Matrix 4 and John Wick 4/5 where he recently praised the safety measures being put in place due to COVID-19. How he goes about his stunts is still unknown, something possibly proving difficult due to social distancing measures.

Because each of these films will probably step up from what was done prior, the kind of action skills Reeves has to learn this time might be overly taxing. Unless, for once, the films allow some CGI to help give Keanu Reeves’ vertebrae a bit of a break.

Keanu Reeves Was Conned Into a Film After a Friend Forged His Signature on the Contract

Stefan Preston | MORE ARTICLES

August 22, 2020

Keanu Reeves is one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and has been a major presence in entertainment for three decades. With starring roles in movies like The MatrixSpeedThe Devil’s Advocate, and The Lake House, Reeves has received critical acclaim and been lauded as one of the industry’s most beloved stars.

Still, with all those hit movies to his name, there is bound to be one or two stinkers — and Reeves’ film The Watcher, released in 2000, is notoriously considered to be one of his worst movies. To Reeves’ credit, his starring turn in the movie wasn’t entirely his fault, and he later revealed that he was actually tricked into doing the film.

Reeves was born in Lebanon in 1964. Raised primarily by his mother, Reeves initially wanted to pursue a career in ice hockey.

However, when he was only 15, Reeves decided to become an actor and started studying drama just a few years later. In the mid-eighties, Reeves began his career in television, with smaller roles in various Canadian television shows and films. He began earning a reputation as a talented, attractive star with a penchant for appearing in teen comedies and romantic dramas.

By the mid-nineties, Reeves had broken into the big time and had begun starring in bigger-budget movies. The 1994 movie Speed successfully introduced Reeves as a bankable action star, and he went on to appear in a variety of explosive action-adventure films, including The Matrix and Constantine.

Reeves’ business savvy ensured that his popularity only increased all throughout the nineties and into the 2000s.

Reeves has proven that he has the ability to play troubled, introverted characters, as well as charming, funny ones. A few of his films will go down in history as some of the most popular ones ever made, most notably The Matrix franchise. Still, he has appeared in some real bombs, as well.

The Watcher, which was released in 2000, and featured Reeves as David Allen Griffin, a killer who stalks and terrorizes his victims. The role was certainly a different sort of character for Reeves, but as it turned out, not exactly a natural fit. 

The movie was slammed by critics and fans and received notoriously terrible reviews right out of the gate. Reeves himself was absent from red carpets and press events designed to promote the film, and over twelve months after the film was released, fans began to find out why. 

Keanu Reeves was tricked into being in ‘The Watcher’

Keanu Reeves attends the premiere of Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 4" on June 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Keanu Reeves | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

RELATED: Keanu Reeves’ ‘Speed’ Decision Cost Him Millions of Dollars

Close to a year after The Watcher was released, Reeves opened up about why he appeared in such a box-office bomb, playing completely against type.

According to Reeves, he was tricked by a friend into appearing in the film when the friend forged his signature on the contract. He stated that rather than get involved in a lengthy legal battle, he agreed to appear in the film, on the condition that producers release him from having to promote the film or appear on any red carpets.

“I couldn’t prove he did and I didn’t want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film,” Reeves said. Always a class act, Reeves abstained from bad-mouthing the movie, even after the twelve-month period had expired. Still, the film still stands as one of his worst projects and a movie that doesn’t come close to any potential that it might have once had when it was first written.

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