Keanu Reeves Accidentally Created a New Form of Close Combat From His Action Roles

Keanu Reeves is a fan-favorite of audiences around the world, a star who rose to fame in the early nineties and has remained relevant ever since. Reeves is known as a legendary “nice guy,” but his innate charm and good nature haven’t stopped him from becoming a huge star in action movies. Over the years, Reeves has appeared in blockbusters like the Matrix franchise and the John Wick movies. In fact, it was on the set of the first John Wick film that Reeves solidified his action credentials by creating his own unique style of close combat.

Keanu Reeves smiling, turned away from the camera
Keanu Reeves | Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

How did Keanu Reeves become a star?

Keanu Reeves was born in Lebanon, but raised mostly in Hawaii and Canada. Reeves developed an interest in the entertainment industry from a young age, but following his graduation from high school, he got involved in sports. Reeves proved to be adept at ice hockey, and although he considered going professional for some time, in the end, he returned to his first love — acting.

In the mid-eighties, Reeves began to break into the entertainment business, appearing in a series of Canadian television shows and stage productions. In 1989, Reeves appeared in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, according to IMDb, a comedy film that is widely considered to be his breakout role. Over the next few years, Reeves continued to land high-profile roles, mainly in comedies and romance films. However, in 1994, he was featured in the action film Speed, which signaled the beginning of Reeves’ emergence as a major action star.

Keanu Reeves is known as an action hero

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After the success of Speed, Keanu Reeves was courted by directors to appear in a variety of action movies. Although he accepted roles in a wide variety of films all throughout the nineties, it wasn’t until 1999 that he appeared in a worthy follow-up to Speed. The Matrix was a futuristic sci-fi thriller that featured cutting-edge action scenes and daring plot points. Reeves made a splash in the film and went on to appear in the film’s sequels.

Over the years that followed, Reeves continued to make his own way in Hollywood. His work in movies like Constantine propelled him to further prominence, and by the time that he landed the lead role in the gritty action epic John Wick, Reeves had become a cultural icon. Ultimately, it was his appearance in John Wick that reinvigorated his career. 

Keanu Reeves created his own form of close combat while filming ‘John Wick’

On the set of the first John Wick film, Keanu Reeves reminded the cast and crew why he had become such a major star in the first place. According to Screenrant, Reeves reportedly invented his own form of close combat, taking the fighting style known as Gun-Fu to the next level. According to reports, Reeves blended “Japanese jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tactical 3-gun, and standing Judo,” all while working closely with fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio. Reeves was able to bring his vision to life, acting out a fighting style that is almost frighteningly intense and ethereal at the same time.

John Wick was wildly successful and led to several sequels. Reeves will be reprising his role as John Wick in several more films, that are set to be released in the near future. For Reeves, it was his work as an action hero that led to some of his most impressive and exciting roles — and even though he is approaching his sixties, it seems likely that his career won’t be slowing down anytime soon.