Keanu Reeves is magnificent, and any word ever said against him is sacrilege. He’s done Shakespeare and The Matrix, done both Speed and Little Buddha. He’s overcome personal tragedy, written children’s books, given millions of dollars away, and done it all while being just ridiculously handsome. Has anyone else been consistently the best looking man imaginable for three decades? The man is a living miracle.
And John Wick, good lord. In an era where action movies increasingly rely on impossibly fast cuts and CGI doubling, here’s a franchise with long, lingering shots of intricately choreographed, beautifully performed, brutally elegant fights. There are actors who treat stunts as something someone else does, and then there’s Keanu Reeves, a man with such huge respect for martial arts and the craft of stunts that he made a whole movie, Man Of Tai Chi, showcasing the talents of his Matrix stunt co-ordinator Tiger Chen. Few actors could have brought the gravitas to such a silly-on-paper story as John Wick (a retired, grieving hitman is forced back into action after his dog is killed) that Reeves managed. And god damn, his suits fit him well.
The third John Wick starts filming next month, with Wick on the run from the massive underground of hitmen he enraged by breaking their rules in the Continental Hotel in John Wick 2. While details are scant, it looks like it’s going to be a globe-trotting affair, which makes sense. They’re doing some filming in Japan, with Hiroyuki Sanada, who was the baddie in The Wolverine, is in Westworld season two and will appear in an undisclosed role in the fourth Avengers film, cast as a yakuza leader with a score to settle with Wick. Reeves and Sanada previously appeared together in 47 Ronin.
That won’t be the only reunion - Reeves’ Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne will reprise his role from John Wick 2, and there are rumours he is trying to get his Constantine co-star Tilda Swinton to appear. Ian McShane, Ruby Rose, Lance Reddick and John Leguizamo will all reprise their roles.
Filming will also take place in Montreal, Morocco and Jordan, as well as possibly Russia and Spain.
There are at least two spin-offs in the works - a TV series, The Continental, set in the hotel at the centre of the assassins’ world, and a movie based around a female assassin. A spec script entitled The Ballerina is currently being re-tooled into part of the Wick universe. Plus, despite that film not doing amazingly well, a crossover with Atomic Blonde (directed by Wick co-director Chad Stahelski) down the line is a possibility.