Keanu Reeves is Hollywood's most unsung action star. And that's not because the movies he makes are overlooked gems just waiting to be discovered. Everyone loves Keanu Reeves movies. What makes him such a silent treasure is that he doesn't tend to make a big deal out of everything. He's kind of like an anti-celebrity. He's a genuine movie star, but in interviews and TV appearances, he never tries to make it about himself. He readily gives credit to the stunt teams and trainers and choreographers that make every single thing he does possible in the first place.
When we interviewed him for John Wick, he explained the reason the action works so well is that he basically trains in every discipline that the stunt department will be working on, so when it comes time to filming the action, he's not just going through pre-rehearsed motions. He's able to improv with the team, to lead off of what they're doing and vice versa, so that everything feels fast and in-the-moment. Or, as he so eloquently put it:
"I'm usually trained to choreography, and in this one I was trained to be able to do choreography. Meaning, "Here's a bunch of judo, here's a bunch of ju-jitsu, here's a bunch of tactical and practical training with a pistol and a long gun, and here's how to drive a car f**king radically. Okay, you know how to do all those? Now on the day, we're just going to make s**t up.""
The entire night club sequence in John Wick? Reeves told us he didn't even rehearse it until that day. That's insane.
That's why this training video of Reeves running through a shooting range is basically better than any trailer Lionsgate can cut for John Wick 2. This isn't someone running through a very prescribed, very calculated set of maneuvers and then they'll cut to a stand-in for the hard stuff. This isn't them rehearsing a scene that'll be filmed from fifty different angles to artificially make it look intense. This is just a guy who is so, so well trained that he simply doesn't miss a beat or his mark, even when handling actual deadly weapons.
It's incredible stuff. It's also a little terrifying, though. Now the next time we interview Keanu Reeves it will be with the full understanding that he could turn into a genuine killing machine at the drop of a hat.