Keanu Reeves Turned His House Into A Training Ground For John Wick: Chapter 2

We all know what separates the "John Wick" franchise from many other action franchises we have to endure in our modern cinematic landscape. Not only is the fight choreography intricate and inventive, but the action is shot and edited so clearly that we can fully appreciate and be in awe of the choreography. Basically all we have now fulfilling this core principle of action filmmaking is "Mission: Impossible" and "John Wick," with the former satisfying our desire for grand spectacle and the latter our desire for balletic fights. Keanu Reeves and all of the stunt people involved in putting together these sequences deserve so much praise for injecting life into a genre that desperately needed it.

Precision is everything in the world of "John Wick," and while that is most evident in the fight choreography, that same precision needs to trickle down into every single part of the titular character's being. The way that Reeves holds, fires, and reloads a gun needs to be as carefully honed as anything else in the movie; his handling of the weapon actually has to be entirely second nature.  

The only way to get to that level of proficiency is time and practice. For Keanu Reeves, that meant taking home your work with you. In an interview via Page Six, Reeves described his process of honing John Wick's handling of a weapon for "John Wick: Chapter 2:"

"Basically just take the gun home, start walking around, practice spying rooms, practice your draws ... And with John Wick, it's practice your reloads, transitions from weapon to weapon, footwork, and then kind of coming up with the John Wick style."

'Take the gun home, start walking around'

When I was a kid, I know that I would occasionally play with nerf or water guns around the house with friends where the goal is, of course, to shoot everyone else before they shoot you. It involves a lot of looking around corners and pretending you are some kind of action star. In order to actually become a real life action hero, the prep work for Keanu Reeves is actually not all that dissimilar, except he is using realistic guns and not a big, purple piece of plastic that shoots orange foam pellets. 

In an interview with /Film back in 2017, stunt coordinator J.J. Perry emphasized that Reeves didn't just memorize specific moves; over three and a half months of training, he learned to improvise:

"Ninety-nine percent of stunt teams out there will train the cast to memorize moves or train them in a small skill set. We've done that so many times and we've done it the 'F**k it, we're just going to train this guy' [way] ... It's an interactive range. He'll run a course five times and we'll change it, which lends itself to choreography. It's constantly changing."

With the fourth "John Wick" film arriving soon, Reeves has clearly had ample time to figure out exactly what methods of preparation work best for what he needs to achieve in these films. Because the budgets and schedules are not as large as your typical Hollywood action blockbuster, efficiently maximizing his time is of the utmost importance. If I trust any actor to know how to do that, it's Keanu Reeves. The results certainly speak for themselves.