His down-to-earth off-screen personality aside, fans have embraced Keanu Reeves as a cult-classic action and comedy actor in the last decade. He’s undoubtedly had a resurgence in recent years thanks to the lucrative and continued success of the over-the-top John Wick action series, with Reeves and director Chad Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter 4 earning universal critical acclaim and becoming the highest-grossing installment in the franchise thanks to a $432 million box office haul.
And while Netflix’s backlog is rather thin when it comes to the actor’s filmography, it has a unique mix of movies for subscribers to stream. Whether it’s the corny Eastern fantasy of 47 Ronin or his supporting role in the endearing romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe, there are a few noteworthy Keanu Reeves additions to Netflix.
An extremely loose interpretation of 17th-century Japan, Reeves stars in 47 Ronin as an original character who’s part of the titular group of samurai. Directed by Carl Rinsch, the movie follows Kai (played by Reeves), a half-Japanese, half-English orphan adopted by daimyo Asano Naganori’s household, who’s eventually trained to be a member of the 47 Ronin who seeks to avenge the death of their lord.
The movie certainly makes no secret of not trying to adhere to historical accounts in this adaptation, weaving in elements of sorcery in this world. While the movie was critically panned upon release in 2013 and bombed at the box office, 47 Ronin has found new life on Netflix. It’s one of the many benefits of streaming as a platform, with Reeves’ samurai fantasy epic proving to be an enjoyably cheesy time upon reappraisal.
The most well-received of the movies featuring Keanu Reeves on Netflix, Always Be My Maybe is a romantic comedy telling the story of childhood friends rekindling their relationship. Directed by Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off the Boat series creator), Always Be My Maybe follows Marcus Kim (played by Randall Park) and Sasha Tran (played by Beef‘s Ali Wong), who were friends before becoming disconnected after a teenage romantic fling went poorly.
Sixteen years later, Marcus still lives and works with his widowed father while Sasha went on to become a renowned celebrity chef. Entertainingly enough, Keanu Reeves plays himself as Sasha’s new boyfriend, which creates friction between him and Marcus. The Netflix original movie was well-received thanks to the charming chemistry between its co-leads and its tasteful uses of social commentary throughout.
Though not nearly as well-received critically as Keanu Reeves’ other contemporary movies, Replicas is another movie to earn a second lease on life through Netflix. Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff (Traitor), this sci-fi thriller stars Reeves as William Foster, a biomedical research scientist who breaks the law, as well as the rules of bioethics, by attempting to resurrect his wife and three daughters, all of whom were killed in a tragic car accident.
His use of cloning and android technology sparks a controversial and chaotic turn of events. The movie was similarly panned and also bombed at the box office, but it’s since found a new audience on Netflix that appreciates it for what it is — corny writing, wonky special effects, and all. Replicas arguably falls under the category of movies that are so bad that they’re good.
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