By Monica Rubalcava
Los Angeles, Mar 24 (EFE).- Canadian actor Keanu Reeves said ahead of the release of the fourth installment in the John Wick action-thriller franchise that this latest film forces the legendary hitman to “come to terms with” the life choices he has made.
“John wanted to get out in the first film. Right? He was trying to get out. So I think he knows the world that he’s in, but there’s that expression, ‘it’s the life we choose.’ And does he regret the choices that he made? Yeah, probably at some point,” Reeves said.
“But he was just a kid plucked off the street and manipulated and forced, and then he just happened to be really good at what he did and I think he has to come to terms with that.”
The actor first immersed himself in the dark John Wick universe in 2014.
That eponymous film, written by Derek Kolstald and directed by Chad Stahelski, told the story of a retired hitman who seeks revenge against the Russian gangsters who killed his puppy, the final gift from his dying wife.
Over the course of two sequels, Wick lives up to his reputation as one of the most effective contract killers in the criminal underworld while continuing his elusive quest to earn his freedom.
“John Wick: Chapter 4,” released Friday in the United States, explores similar themes, as the endearing anti-hero is forced to face accountability for his actions and desperately tries to escape from his life as an assassin.
“(Keanu and I) liked the Joseph Campbell way of storytelling. You find your hero and one of the ways to endear him to the audience is you make him suffer and you bring the audience along with him. And no matter how much he suffers, he always comes through it,” Stahelski told Efe.
A commercial and critical success, that franchise is seen as breaking new stylistic ground in the action genre, while Reeves’ portrayal of Wick is regarded as some of his best acting work in a career dating back to 1985.
And the John Wick universe still appears to have room to run, with two spin-offs – the film “Ballerina” and the prequel TV series “The Continental” – now in the pipeline for a 2023 release.
The director said he believes Wick’s determination and fortitude are a major reason audiences have forged such a strong connection with him.
“You knock him down 10 times, he stands up 11. I think that’s a very important part of the character. John becomes so relatable because he doesn’t quit … no matter what, he has an honorable cause and he keeps persevering … He’s an unstoppable force of nature,” Stahelski said.
With a run time of nearly three hours, the film is chock full of thrilling action scenes and also introduces complex villains that Reeves’ character will need to battle to the death.
Reeves, now 58, continues to show the physical fitness to convincingly execute fight choreographies, although he admitted that he is starting to feel the weight of the years.
“Life is life. And life has death. So I can’t run and jump and play as much as I used to … I try to recognize that and embrace it as much as I can, but there is some grief,” Reeves said.
Although best known as the star of The Matrix science-fiction trilogy, Reeves had already enjoyed prior success with the action films “Point Break” (1991) and “Speed” (1994).
He also has won plaudits for his philanthropic and charitable work, although he shuns the label of role model.
“Hopefully the work I do and the stories I’m a part of telling can have some kind of inspirational, positive impact,” Reeves said. “That’s what I hope for.” EFE