To many, the affable persona of Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves, who is well-known for his charitable personality and enthusiasm for cinema, makes him seem like a close friend. Working on some of the most beloved movies of all time, from the Kathryn Bigelow 1990s flick Point Break to the complex John Wick franchise, Reeves is in a good position to name some of his favourite action movies of all time.
The actor did just this in 2022, curating a list of 18 personal movie recommendations that he advised each and every one of his fans to watch. Whilst the wider list included films from such masters as Stanley Kubrick, Sam Raimi, Akira Kurosawa and the Coen brothers, his picks from the action genre saw far more curious choices from across the landscape of world cinema.
Illustrating just how eclectic his picks were, the first action film he goes for is the 2016 movie The Bad Batch by director Ana Lily Amirpour. Perhaps better known for her terrific horror debut A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Amirpour’s action film told the story of a young woman who is kidnapped by criminals in a dystopian desert, with a glittering cast that included the likes of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa and Jim Carrey.
Elsewhere, Reeves hits fans with a double-bill of French filmmaker Luc Besson, naming two of the director’s most seminal movies, 1990’s La Femme Nikita and 1994’s Leon: The Professional. Both considered classics in their own right, the films helped to establish Besson’s fondness for stylish action dramas that often aired on the side of melodrama thanks to a particularly cartoonish performance from Gary Oldman in Leon.
Australian director George Miller might have remade his 1982 movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in the form of the 2015 masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road, but Reeves highly recommends the original ahead of its reimagining. Starring Mel Gibson before Tom Hardy had the chance to take on the role, the original flick told the story of a drifter who agrees to help a small community from a horde of bandits in the post-apocalyptic wastelands.
His penultimate pick is the science fiction favourite Rollerball from director Norman Jewison. A brutal sports film, Rollerball is a cult favourite, starring James Caan as one of the greatest athletes in the world of the titular extreme sport controlled by corporations who don’t have their players in mind. Weird and wild, we’re not surprised that Reeves is such a lover of this 1970s oddity.
Reeves’ final recommendation is a bonafide classic, opting for the 1954 film Seven Samurai by the Japanese master Akira Kurosawa. Going on to inspire countless directors from across the world, including Ridley Scott, George Lucas and Christopher Nolan, the film told the story of a group of warriors who were tasked with defending a local town from bandits, sharing quite a few similarities with Miller’s aforementioned Mad Max sequel.
Keanu Reeves’ favourite action movies:
- The Bad Batch (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2016)
- La Femme Nikita (Luc Besson, 1990)
- Leon: The Professional (Luc Besson, 1994)
- Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (George Miller, 1982)
- Rollerball (Norman Jewison, 1975)
- Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)