John Wick 2 is broadcast tonight on TF1, the opportunity to discuss the strict training of Keanu Reeves to enter the costume of the famous hired killer. We will also answer the question: does the actor perform his stunts himself?
It’s no secret that Keanu Reeves is always 100% involved in his shoots, especially when he shoots an action movie. Since the Matrix trilogy and his drastic training in martial arts and weapon handling, the actor has gained real experience in combat, whether with his bare hands or with one of the firearms.
These skills, Keanu puts them into practice when he directs and interprets the main role of Man of Tai Chi, his first feature film, released in April 2014. It is a pivotal year for the actor, who offers us in the wake of 47 Ronin. A few months later, in October 2014, Reeves returns to inject us with a good dose of adrenaline with John Wick!
This film, directed by former stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, has the effect of a small revolution in the world of action cinema. No wonder when you consider that the two are the co-founders of 87Eleven, one of Hollywood’s most renowned stunt companies. Brutal and uncompromising, John Wick’s fight sequences impress audiences, who immediately adopt the character played by Keanu Reeves. The actor, who had not really convinced with 47 Ronin or Man of Tai Chi, here everyone agrees.
The artist performs 90% of his stunts in the film and the spectators are not mistaken! The first opus brings in 86 million dollars in global revenue for a modest budget of 20 million. A success that we owe in large part to the incredible involvement of the actor. A sequel is therefore quickly under way with a release date set for February 22, 2017. Keanu Reeves, who has just fallen into his fifties at the time, then goes back to work, training like hell. This time, Chad Stahelski is alone in command of John Wick 2.
The director had in the past voiced Keanu Reeves on many sets, namely Point Break – Extrême limite (1991), The Replacements (2000), the Matrix trilogy (1999), Dark Age (2005) and Constantine (2005). The two men were able to forge a solid professional and friendly relationship.
Already familiar with many styles of martial arts, Keanu Reeves spent four months immersed in the Machado brothers, experts in Jiu-jitsu. They taught him their own form of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. “John Wick’s fighting style is basically defending yourself or attacking by any means. He combines Judo with Jiu-jitsu, and even uses a car as a weapon.”, explains the actor.
“Keanu always gives his all and puts it all together”, says Chad Stahelski in the video above. Although he is a regular in action movies, the comedian admitted to having undergone one of the most difficult training of his career. He spent more than four months preparing himself physically, learning Japanese and Brazilian judo and Jiu-jitsu five days a week and eight hours a day.
But that’s not all ! John Wick may be an expert in close quarters combat, but he’s also a master of the art of handling bladed weapons and firearms. Keanu therefore had to undergo rigorous preparation in order to better master these tools and make his character credible. “Cars, guns, blades … I had to know all the basic stuff”, entrusts the artist. Jackson Spidell, Keanu’s waterfall liner, explains that the actor underwent a three-point training in weapon handling: “Quickly draw, change weapon and chain shots”.
“Japanese and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, tactical shooting and standing judo. All of this combined is what is called gun-fu.”says Chad Stahelski. You can get a sense of Keanu Reeves’ unwavering involvement in the awesome video below. The actor has performed 95% of his stunts in John Wick 2. The only scenes where he is voiced by a stunt performer are when he is hit by a car and when he falls down the stairs after the fight with Cassian (Common). This second part will be a greater success than the previous one, collecting $ 171 million in global revenue for a budget of $ 40 million.
In France, John Wick is not really successful in theaters, attracting only 400,000 spectators for the first episode and 335,000 for the second. The third will do much better with 842,000 entries. And it is not finished because John Wick will return for a chapter 4 on May 25, 2022. A fifth part will also be shot in the wake of the 4th. Keanu Reeves, 56, still promises us great adrenaline rushes! In the meantime, we will find him in Matrix 4 on December 22, 2021.