Why do people love Keanu Reeves? It’s a fair question considering the fact that, while he has starred in some iconic cult classic movies, and more than a few big Hollywood blockbusters, he doesn’t really have a reputation as being a fantastic actor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of his work, but as someone who has actually watched him perform Shakespeare, well, just go watch Much Ado About Nothing for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
So, if it’s not for his acting, what is it? For a lot of people, it seems to be because Keanu is just a genuinely nice guy. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find anyone in Hollywood with a bad thing to say about him. For another, his movies are just darn good fun. Like a lot of people from my generation, I first became aware of him in the sci-fi classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure, a movie that not only is a comedy gem that still hold up to this day, but also serves as a perfect time capsule of America in the late ’80s.
After that film, and its subsequent sequel, Keanu kind of dropped off my radar. Don’t misunderstand. I am well aware of the fact that he did other projects (I enjoyed Speed but it didn’t have a lot of repeat watching value for me once I knew all the twists and how it ended) , but none of them really broke through the post ’80’s haze to catch my attention until his next major blockbuster, The Matrix.
When I first saw Bill and Ted, I was in my very early tweens. When I saw The Matrix I was on the verge of turning 20 and that movie really, really hit me hard. I was a typical ’90’s child, full of bitterness and cynicism, most of which was completely unearned, but a movie about how fake the world was, and how we could throw off the shackles to become something more really, really spoke to me, and once again I was all in on Keanu.
And then? Well, after two disappointing sequels and a string of almost but not quite straight to video movies, I figured, like a lot of other people no doubt, that his career was done, and that while he had a good run, that run was over.
And then, in 2014, we got John Wick.
I didn’t see the film in theatres because, quite frankly they did a terrible job advertising it, and after the lame, CGI shlock of the Matrix sequels I had zero interest in anything Keanu did. But then word of mouth reached my ear that this movie was different. It was dark. It was violent. It was a movie you absolutely had to see. And so finally, when my wife went out for a girls night, I grabbed some pizza, a six pack, and a copy of the movie I borrow from my brother, and I experienced it for myself.
The only thing I can compare that movie to is Die Hard, and I think I felt the same way after I watched that for the first time as well. Ted Theodore Logan was a goofy stoner and a rock and roller. Neo was a kung fu superhero hacker. But John Wick? John Wick was a force of nature, and that movie lit a fire under Keanu’s career that has not only brought him back to the attention of the public, but also rekindled the dying embers of his past greatness. It’s no surprise that after years of development limbo, once John Wick 1 and 2 hit it big, the long delayed Bill and Ted Sequel was released, and a 4th Matrix movie is on the horizon.
John Wick opened other doors for Keanu as well, just like his previous hit did, but this time he was branching out into new arenas. He starred as a major character in the (sadly) critically panned Cyberpunk2077. He also has jumped in to co-create today’s comic, BRZRKR.
Here’s the blurb from Boom Studios: Discover the next blockbuster action franchise from the iconic KEANU REEVES in his Must Read comic book writing debut alongside New York Times best-selling co-writer Matt Kindt (Folklords, Bang!) and acclaimed artist Alessandro Vitti (Marvel’s Secret Warriors) in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages. The man known only as Berzerker is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, Berzerker will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence… and how to end it. NOTE: This is for Mature Readers
Issue one is light on plot, but heavy on action. In short, it is a great first act.
The reader is introduced to the Berserker, a pseudo immortal man who cannot die, but can suffer grievous bodily harm. While his appearance might lead you to think he’s a type of Wolverine analog, we have yet to see this character show any kind of serious regenerative capabilities, at least not in the way that we have come to understand Logan’s healing factor to work. Berserker feels pain, and gets hurt, but no matter what happens to him he cannot die.
And it’s that desire for death that is at the heart of this first issue. Anyone who has seen an episode of Doctor Who knows the pain of the immortal, cursed to watch all he loves fade away from him while he continues on. That seems to be our hero’s fate as well, as all he years for is the sweet oblivion of death to end his eternal suffering. To that end he has hitched his wagon to the government to function as an immortal and unstoppable special agent, with the promise that he will die in return for his continued service.
All in all BRZRKR #1 is a fun and violent first issue, and I had a good time reading it. Kindt is a great writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed both Folklords and Bang!, and am very much looking forward to where this series goes in the future.
So do yourself a favor: Grab a copy of BRZRKR (which shouldn’t be hard since quite a few shops ordered 1000+ in order to snag various retailer incentive issues) and enjoy the show!
Until next week my friends, stay safe!