Labor Day 2019 is indeed a labor of love with the birthday of Keanu Reeves, who celebrates several big-screen milestones in his career.
Keanu first became cool with 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure as Ted “Theodore” Logan, one-half of the duo Wild Stallions. Together with his best friend Bill S. Preston, Esq. (Alex Winter), these California dudes reached out and touched someone: traveling through time via a phone booth in order to pass history – and make history themselves. Following 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Keanu made waves that year with Point Break as Johnny Utah, an undercover FBI agent who infiltrates a gang of surfers moonlighting as bank robbers nicknamed the “ex-Presidents”, but Utah gets too close when he becomes friends with the charismatic leader Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). Co-starring Gary Busey and Lori Petty, the film cements Keanu’s action hero status: leading to the 1994 summer blockbuster Speed.
Dubbed as Die Hard on a bus, Speed follows Reeves’ Jack Travers, a hotshot LAPD cop playing a cat-and-mouse game with a terrorist (Dennis Hopper). If the bus goes less than 50 miles on a bomb, the passengers will blow up with it. Not only did Speed put Reeves on the A-List lane, but it also launched the career of Sandra Bullock. In the summer of 2006, Keanu and Sandra reunited in the underrated yet sweet romantic fantasy The Lake House, where Reeves’ architect Alex Wyler corresponds letters with Sandra’s Dr. Kate Forster – even though they’re living two years apart.
1999 proved that Keanu was indeed “the One” with The Matrix as Neo, a computer hacker chosen to be the savior of humanity when he teams up with Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) to free people’s minds from the machines. Its legacy led to back-to-back sequels with 2003’s The Matrix Reloadedand The Matrix Revolutions.
Keanu was back in action in 2014 as John Wick, a hitman who comes out of retirement and out for revenge when intruders broke into his house, steal his vintage Mustang, beat him up and leave him dead, and killed the dog that was given as a gift from his terminally ill wife. Released after The Equalizer with Denzel Washington, John Wick became a critical and fan favorite: spawning a second chapter in 2017 and a third this summer, as Wick prepares for war with a $14 million contract on his head.
Keanu has been on demand this past year with Toy Story 4 and the Netflix romantic comedy Always Be My Maybe.
Most recently, it has been confirmed that both Keanu and Carrie-Anne will be reprising their iconic roles of Neo and Trinity for a fourth installment of The Matrix, as Bill & Ted Face the Music next summer, while a fourth chapter of John Wick is set for a 2021 release.