CHAIN REACTION (1996)
Keanu earned his action stripes in 1994 with worldwide blockbuster Speed, and Chain Reaction sees him back in movie star mode but this time giving the action a sci-fi twist. The film follows Eddie, a scientist working as part of a team that are developing a new form of clean energy. When someone attempts to steal the formula and blows up the team’s lab, Eddie finds himself framed and on the run with physicist Lily (Rachel Weisz) in tow. Acting heavyweights Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox add a touch of class to a fun 90s thrill ride.
THE MATRIX TRILOGY (1999 – 2003)
Under the direction of The Wachowskis, The Matrix folded multiple influences including philosophy, evolutionary biology, Eastern religion and anime into a cyberpunk story packed with revolutionary ideas and ground-breaking action sequences. The story follows Neo, a computer hacker who discovers the world around us is not all it appears when he receives an invitation from cyber-terrorists Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie Ann-Moss). The film’s Hong Kong action-movie inspired wire-fu techniques created visual thrills unseen at the time, while the depth of the story rewarded multiple viewings. Two sequels completed Neo’s story on film, while a sprawling extended universe comprised of video games, animated films and comic books have expanded on The Matrix universe. Among a career of stellar hits, The Matrix is possibly Keanu’s finest role, and one that changed the face of modern sci-fi. Take the red pill and descend down The Matrix’s rabbit hole…
A SCANNER DARKLY (2006)
Cerebral sci-fi A Scanner Darkly comes from the pen of legendary author Philip K. Dick, the mind behind Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and many more classics of the genre. A Scanner Darkly tackles themes common to Dick’s work and is set in a grim future where a powerful drug, Substance D, has taken over the country. Keanu plays undercover agent Bob Arctor who’s on a mission to find and disrupt the drug’s supply chain. When he becomes addicted to the hallucinogenic drug, Arctor finds it increasingly difficult to separate himself from his undercover persona. Richard Linklater was the unlikely director to bring this title to screen. Visually arresting, the film used a special method of animation called interpolated rotoscope, which animated the film after it had been shot digitally. Trippy.