I was reading a “Street Kings” review and I felt it was time to say something to forestall the inevitable “Keanu is a ‘whoa’ guy who can’t act” avalanche.
I’ve always liked Keanu Reeves as an actor, he strikes me as a hard worker, and from what I understand in person he’s one of the nicer people in Hollywood. That he has a bit of an oddball persona (i.e. the superficial surfer dude which causes anyone mentioning him to use the word "whoa") which perhaps makes him an odd choice for some of the roles he gets is not his fault.
I mean, people love Chuck Norris but Keanu Reeves has far more range than Norris ever will. The thing is, Norris does one thing VERY WELL and gets movies that emphasize that one thing. If Norris was trying to do Shakespeare, he’d be laughable. Reeves has done Shakespeare; he’s passable but he’ll never be Patrick Stewart. But are we supposed to condemn Reeves for trying to stretch as an actor instead of just taking surfer dude roles all his life? Reeves is a fellow who could have been consigned to character acting the same role forever, but he managed to land the lead in some blockbusters. Good for him!
He’ll never have the acting skills of Al Pacino (back when Al Pacino was Al Pacino), but he’s still got more depth and range than Mike Myers.
Oh, I should add…I like Myers, but he’s teetering close to Robin Williams territory. You know, where we once thought Williams was this never-ending fount of spontaneity and now we realize he just falls back on his black voice, his gay queen and his southern preacher in every interview.