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Are Keanu Reeves' Worst Movies Still Worth Watching?

Everyone knows that Keanu Reeves is a bona fide action star, but that doesn't mean he only plays gun-toting heroes. While it's true that some of his most memorable roles have come in action blockbusters, Reeves' best and worst movies span multiple genres and, at this point, multiple decades. There are some truly wonderful, genre-defining movies that Reeves has helped make great. However, there are also plenty of Keanu Reeves movies that are better forgotten about.

Take a quick scroll through Reeves' page on Rotten Tomatoes and you'll notice that he's actually way more prolific than you probably thought. There are likely dozens of movies starring Reeves that you've never heard of, most of which have fallen off the radar for good reason. Keanu Reeves superfans may be willing to spend a month or two working their way through every film that he has shown up in, but, for the rest of you, we've scraped the bottom of the Rotten Tomatoes barrel to let you know which of the actor's critical bombs are worth another look.

Generation Um... is Reeves' worst movie

2012's "Generation Um..." should be at the very top of your list of Keanu Reeves movies to never, ever watch. The movie's Rotten Tomatoes page, on the other hand, is absolutely worth checking out. It has a damning 0% score with critics, and anyone who's seen it will tell you that if any film ever deserved a minus score, it's this one.

Reeves plays John Wall, a meandering, aimless man whose life is about as boring as his name. The movie takes place on John's birthday, which he decides to spend with Violet (Bojana Novakovic) and Mia (Adelaide Clemens), two escorts that John sometimes drives around as part of his job. The three of them create a movie inside the movie, documenting their day of doing, well, pretty much nothing.

It sounds like we're being really harsh on "Generation Um...," but trust us, we're not. So little happens over the course of the film's 96 minutes that you'd probably have a deeper, more meaningful experience watching paint dry. We love Reeves, but Variety's Justin Chang hit the nail on the head when he described this one as follows: "A slapped-together sub-mumblecore exercise that at times suggests a feature-length expansion of 2010′s 'Sad Keanu' meme."

Exposed weaves a tangled web that's not worth unraveling

The good news for Keanu Reeves fans with a high tolerance for bad movies is that the guy's never been one to pin himself down to a single genre. Reeves is best known for his action flicks, but over the years he's proven that he's willing to try everything. There's tons of variety in his filmography, though sometimes that leads to disastrous results, as was the case with 2016's "Exposed."

This poorly-executed thriller is all over the place. Writing for the Independent, critic Geoffrey Macnab said, "Bits of ['Exposed'], seen in isolation, are effective and atmospheric, but the plotting is tangled and confused." Unfortunately, "Exposed" is supposed to be a gripping mystery, and mysteries live or die by their story. Watching Detective Galban (Reeves) link the death of his partner to an elaborate plot involving a possible virgin birth and a young woman named Isabel de la Cruz (Ana de Armas) is only interesting until you realize the convoluted web of intrigue is both unintelligible and entirely rote at the same time.

There are some good ideas buried deep beneath the surface here, but "Exposed" doesn't bring them up to the light often enough to justify anyone watching the movie.

Replicas is dumb sci-fi at its best

2018's "Replicas" has a 9% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though viewers were a bit kinder: The film has a comparatively glowing audience score of 32%. A truly fair assessment probably lands somewhere in the middle, but if you're going to sit down for a bad movie, then it might as well be a bad sci-fi movie starring Keanu Reeves.

You've seen "Replicas" before — or, at least, you've seen movies that take the same premise and do it better. Reeves plays a scientist studying the possibility of transferring human consciousness into robot clones. When his wife and kids die in a tragic accident, he gets an opportunity to put his work to the test, and, naturally, nothing goes the way he hopes it will.

The movie's biggest saving grace is its shocking finale, which is not to say that the ending itself is actually good. Evan Dossey put it best in his review for Midwest Film Journal, writing, "Thankfully the writer, Chad St. John, manages to tie everything up with a finale that is dumb in impressive and unexpected ways." Dossey also wrote that you have to see the ending of "Replicas" to believe anyone would really attempt it, and we have to agree. For that alone, "Replicas" is worth a watch on an otherwise uneventful night.

The Watcher is simply not worth watching

You'd expect a movie with James Spader, Marisa Tomei, and Keanu Reeves to be moderately entertaining, but 2000's "The Watcher" is a sleepy thriller that barely manages to construct a believable plot. The movie earned a measly 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and that's generous. Critics wasted no time addressing the movie's many problems, ranging from its utterly predictable serial killer narrative to its painfully dull dialogue.

Despite all that, we can feel you eyeballing the cast list while you consider ignoring the critics and plunging into "The Watcher" later this evening. Don't let the cast mislead you. No one is at their best in this movie, and none of the stars are playing roles they're well-suited for. Spader is a troubled detective who's given no interesting material to work with, and Tomei is utterly wasted as his psychotherapist.

Reeves is the most miscast of the bunch, feeling horribly out of place in the role. As it turns out, he didn't actually want to make the movie at all. "I never found the script interesting, but a friend of mine forged my signature on the agreement," he told the Calgary Sun (via The Guardian). "I couldn't prove he did and I didn't want to get sued, so I had no other choice but to do the film."

Siberia will chill your love for Keanu Reeves

In 2018's "Siberia," Keanu Reeves is a diamond merchant named Lucas Hill. For utterly incomprehensible reasons, he attempts to sell diamonds he does not possess to a Russian gangster in St. Petersburg. Upon arriving in the city, Lucas realizes that the man he's supposed to get the diamonds from has gone missing, and the gangster he's supposed to eventually sell them to is now threatening his life. The movie stretches that flimsy set-up into a 104-minute experience that drags like a concrete sled through six feet of snow.

The critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes (where it has a telling 12% rating) utterly lambasts the movie. It reads: "Icily inhospitable to compelling performances or a sensible narrative, 'Siberia' offers audiences a harsh and seemingly interminable exile from entertainment." Setting aside the frustratingly bad plot, the movie's biggest crime is actually in its casting. "Siberia" somehow got Molly Ringwald to sign on, but the film relegates her character — Lucas' wife — to a Skype call and gives her quite literally nothing else to do. For that crime alone, "Siberia" deserves to be sent to a frozen wasteland.

Feeling Minnesota has a certain charm

1996's "Feeling Minnesota" follows Freddie (Cameron Diaz), a former stripper who's forced to marry Sam Clayton (Vincent D'Onofrio) by a drug kingpin who uses Sam as his shady accountant. Freddie is trapped between a rock and a hard place, but it sort of works out when she falls in love with Sam's brother Jjaks (Keanu Reeves). Then, rather predictably, everything gets messy. "Feeling Minnesota" isn't exactly worth writing home about, but there are definitely worse movies that you could choose to watch.

Neither critics nor audiences were all that impressed by the movie, though Roger Ebert gave it three stars, and that's got to count for something. "The tension between the slime fest milieu and the charm of the performances is maybe what makes 'Feeling Minnesota' work," Ebert wrote before comparing the movie's exceedingly unrealistic criminal underworld to the fantasy of "James and the Giant Peach."

If you're wary of Reeves in a leading romantic role, then you might as well just scroll on by. However, if you're someone who likes a simple romance story and seedy, down-and-out characters, "Feeling Minnesota" might leave you satisfied.

The Prince of Pennsylvania is so bad it's almost endearing

Let's start with a quote from Roger Ebert: "The entire notion is brainless." He's talking about a specific scene from 1988's "The Prince of Pennsylvania," but the criticism applies to the overall venture. Ebert wasn't impressed with this film, and, looking at its page on Rotten Tomatoes, neither was anyone else (it holds a 14% critic rating). However, we would argue that they're all missing the point.

"The Prince of Pennsylvania" came before Keanu Reeves was famous, and it's easily one of his goofiest roles. Reeves plays a would-be punk rocker named Rupert Marshetta, who the movie's tagline describes as "looking for love, happiness, wisdom, truth, and the meaning of life. All by next Thursday." To the movie's detriment, it opens by presenting seemingly real characters with seemingly real problems before, probably accidentally, becoming so sitcom-y it feels like parody.

The thing is, as long as you know this going in, "The Prince of Pennsylvania" makes for a pretty good time. This is definitely a so-bad-it's-good scenario, so your mileage may vary here. Anyone who can get a kick out of seeing over-the-top events play out for virtually no reason other than it being what the plot demands is in for a treat with this one. With an audience score of 49% on Rotten Tomatoes, almost one-in-two viewers enjoyed it.

Sweet November is better than it gets credit for

Starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron, "Sweet November" is the first movie on this list that got any amount of truly positive reception when it debuted. This 2001 romance owes its (admittedly limited) success to its two leads. The film failed to impress critics but managed to earn a respectable 76% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So what's it all about?

Reeves plays the career-driven Nelson Moss, who thinks about little more than his job in advertising. Theron plays a free-spirited woman named Sara Deever, who runs into Nelson at the DMV and gives him an answer on a driving test. Cheating gets Sara kicked out of the DMV, and Nelson ends up agreeing to move into her place and drive her around for the month it will take her to get her license back. The two fall in love, and Nelson's view of his own lifestyle is completely upended.

The movie is (very loosely) based on a 1968 film of the same name, but it's just about strong enough to stand on its own two feet. Writing for SFGate, Mick LaSalle managed to pinpoint exactly what it was about the movie that won audiences over. "'Sweet November' is neither a masterpiece nor a remake of one, but its wistfulness is infectious, and its melancholy mood lingers for days."

Samurai fans will get a kick out of 47 Ronin

2013's "47 Ronin" is loosely based on a real Japanese legend about 47 masterless samurai who went on to become great heroes. Of course, in the real life tale, the ronin aren't facing down mythical monsters and giants, but the fact that the movie is so reliant on CGI has pros and cons. The big negative is that the CGI distracts from the overall story. As MaryAnn Johnson put it in her FlickFilosopher review, "['47 Ronin'] feels like an unpolished first draft, one that can't quite decide how fantastical it wants to be." On the other hand, the creatures that "47 Ronin" boasts are actually pretty impressive.

As the 16% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes will tell you, "47 Ronin" isn't a great movie by any stretch, but fans of its niche will likely still enjoy it. If you're the type of person who just can't get enough samurai action, then you might as well check this out. Are there better retellings of the classic legend? Undoubtedly. But this is the only one that features a typically stoic performance from Keanu Reeves. At the end of the day, if you love samurai and Reeves, "47 Ronin" will tick a lot of boxes for you, like it did for 48% of audience reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes.

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues fails its source material

1993's "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" is based on Tom Robbins' novel of the same name, which debuted in 1976 and endeared itself to a generation of readers. Sadly, Gus Van Sant's film adaptation doesn't really do justice to the source material, as critics were quick to point out. "Unlike the book, which retains some humanity amid philosophical digressions and flowery dialogue, Van Sant's film is cold, and the gallery of eccentrics merely come across as vulgar caricatures," wrote Colette Maude for Empire.

Adapting such a beloved story may well have been a doomed endeavor from the beginning. What's more, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" ends up being another Keanu Reeves movie that wastes a superb cast. Uma Thurman plays Sissy Hankshaw, a girl with bizarrely large thumbs who goes on a psychedelic hitchhiking romp, meeting a number of equally strange characters along the way. The likes of Rain Phoenix and Keanu Reeves (whose character, Julian Gitche, features less here than he does in the novel) do what they can to elevate the film, but the botched screenplay makes it hard to care about any of the characters.

Chain Reaction is the best kind of nonsensical

Sometimes all you want is a movie that lets you turn your brain off and enjoy some meaningless action. 1996's "Chain Reaction" fits that bill perfectly — it's ideal for a lazy Sunday or a relaxed movie night with friends. Keanu Reeves plays Eddie Kasalivich, who discovers a new kind of fusion power that could provide the world with clean energy. His supervisor, Dr. Paul Shannon (Morgan Freeman), has plans to sell the new energy source to a private company. Pretty soon, Eddie and his partner Dr. Lily Sinclair (Rachel Weisz) get framed for murder and find themselves on the run from the FBI.

At no point does "Chain Reaction" even border on believable, but that's part of the movie's appeal. Watching for the plot is a recipe for guaranteed disappointment, so if you're after a smart sci-fi thriller, you should look elsewhere. "There is, however, little doubt that the film boasts a number of extremely effective (and downright enthralling) sequences that ultimately justify its existence," David Nusair noted in his write-up for Reel Film Reviews, and we couldn't agree more. Reeves, Weisz, and Freeman in a mindless action movie? Sign us up.

Johnny Mnemonic is a wild cyberpunk ride

"Johnny Mnemonic" bombed when it debuted in 1995, but you'll still find people who swear by its excellence. One such fan is film critic Matt Taylor. In a review for Starburst Magazine, he wrote: "It's one of the most bonkers, silly, downright enjoyable genre movies of the 1990s." We wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. While this isn't the best character Keanu Reeves has ever played (it's not even the best Johnny he's ever played), he's still great in the role.

"Johnny Mnemonic" is based on a William Gibson short story of the same name. The titular character lives in a classically cyberpunk future where corporate goons are just as likely to shoot you down as street thugs. Johnny uses a hard drive that's been implanted in his head to transport and sell secret corporate data. When he takes on a job bigger than he can handle, things get out of control quickly.

The script leaves a lot to be desired, but sci-fi fans are sure to fall in love with the strangeness of "Johnny Mnemonic." This is a high-tech world where body modifications are the norm: A character called Molly Millions, a so-called razorgirl who has blades under her fingernails, rescues Johnny at one stage. The source material provides the movie with an interesting setting, and no effort was spared on the costumes and sets. It's clear why this Keanu Reeves movie never got a sequel, but for sci-fi fans, it's still a must-watch.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is a snoozefest

"The Day the Earth Stood Still" is a classic 1951 sci-fi film about an alien that comes to Earth and threatens the destruction of the entire planet if humanity can't learn to live peacefully. Nuclear activity is threatening extraterrestrial life, and it has to stop. It's got thematic weight, memorable visual effects, and strong performances to back all that up. The 2008 remake starring Keanu Reeves has none of that.

Comparing the two films for The Washington Times on the day of the remake's release, Sonny Bunch wrote, "The good news is that you can pick up [the 1951] version of the movie in stores today. The bad news is that the entirely unnecessary and unremarkable remake hits theaters today." Bunch's review is harsh but fair. The 2008 movie fails to justify its own existence, and it does absolutely nothing with Reeves as its alien or with Jennifer Connelly as the human who first encounters him.

The remake changes very little of the original's core plot, but it presents every moment of the story in a worse light. Reeves is known for being a stoic performer, but he's downright wooden here. If his line delivery doesn't put you to sleep, then the movie's plodding pace certainly will. At 104 minutes, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" isn't exactly a marathon, but watching it feels like a cruel exercise in patience.