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Most Paused Keanu Reeves Movie Moments

Keanu Reeves is one of the most prolific and successful actors in Hollywood. From the cult classic Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure to the vengeance-fueled John Wick franchise, Reeves has made his mark as a true artist, never confusing the love his fans have for the characters he plays with their love for him as a person. His resolution to keep his private life private has only added to his mystique. In fact, part of the appeal of a Reeves movie is the hope you will find a nugget of who he really is hidden in those scenes that have become tattooed on our brains. You know, those indelible, jaw-dropping, badass and/or hilarious moments that make us stop the film and study every little pixel of our television screens.

Reeves' movies are riddled with these sequences. From his portrayal of Neo in the Matrix trilogy to that of animated Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4, viewers just can't stop hitting pause and analyzing frame after frame of Reeves' performances. While there are probably more of these scenes than we can count, we've compiled a list of those that stand above the rest and are routinely suspended on our viewing device of choice, shared on the internet, and occasionally made into a meme. With that in mind, here are the most paused Keanu Reeves moments.

Sledgehammer time (John Wick)

While the famous English proverb states "hell hath no scorn like a woman's wrath," there was really no way that the author of these pearls of wisdom could ever have fathomed how angry John Wick would get after the mafia punk Iosef Tarasov broke into Wick's house, stole his car, and killed the puppy his wife gifted to him after her death. When we meet the former hitman, he's living a quiet life of retirement while grieving his wife — but after this bloody assault, Wick understandably wants revenge. As a result, he smashes open his basement floor in order to access the secret cache of weapons he's buried like his past life beneath his home, thus irrevocably plunging him back into his dangerous existence as an assassin.

This particular scene is frequently halted by viewers because first it makes you wonder: What the heck is he going to do with that sledgehammer that he just happened to have lying around? It also shows the grief and desire for vengeance that consumes Wick. Wick is still in the same shirt he was wearing when he was robbed by Iosef. Coupled with the fact the dog was a present from Wick's wife, whose death left him completely shattered, the sledgehammer is the viewer's cue that this seemingly slow-to-anger guy is about to go ballistic. The full weight of everything Wick has been going through — the loss, the sadness, and the need for retribution — makes this clip among the most paused of the John Wick franchise, and Reeves' career in general.

That No. 2 pencil moment (John Wick: Chapter 2)

Who can't stop the action scene in which John Wick shows us how lethal a pencil can be? The immediate aftermath of Wick's takedown of two assassins in a coffee bar gets us as hyped up on caffeine as the action that prompts us to rewind and repeatedly digest the awesomeness of Keanu Reeves. After Santino D'Antonio opens up a multimillion dollar bounty on John Wick, Wick is forced to fight off a posse of killers who step up to claim the booty by closing the open contract on his life — and in this assassins' game, pretty much everyone is willing to take a shot at you for that much money, no matter how well respected you might be in the business. When the assassins attempt to ambush Wick, he's able to fend off his attackers by eliminating them with a freaking pencil, proving a writing device can truly be mightier than a sword. Or a knife, gun... you get the idea.

Fans of the series often take a break at this moment to soak in the impressive display of violence that Wick has just unleashed. Not only does he end two men after he's been wounded, he adds to the lore of the recurring story in the franchise about how he killed three men in a bar with a pencil. Witnessing him actually perform this feat confirms John Wick is a badass capable of turning just about any seemingly innocuous object into a potentially lethal weapon. The image of Wick holding the bloody pencil after doing the deed sums up the emotions we experienced while viewing it.

The one where he gives us the finger (John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum)

The loss of body parts is a common trope that heroes such as Luke Skywalker and Bucky Barnes have been subject to. However, both of them might blanch at the shocking image of John Wick slicing off his ring finger. After Wick finds the Elder, who is essentially the leader of the underworld, he is given a choice: die immediately or pledge loyalty to the High Table. Wick chooses the latter, removes his own finger, gives his wedding ring to the Elder as a show of fealty, and provides us with what is easily one of the coolest scenes of John Wick demonstrating how the assassin's desire for a peaceful, normal life is often forced to take a back seat to the seemingly endless obligations incurred by his history of underworld violence.

Why do we pause this one? Quite literally for its graphic intensity and the artistic culmination of so many plot elements. Wick's commitment to honoring the memory of his wife Helen, his efforts to get out of the underworld's lifestyle, and the respect he holds for his allies at the Continental all unite in this clip. Wick's severing of his finger reminds us that he is a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will. The picture of Wick disfiguring his hand shows us just how far he is willing to go.

Suspension of Bullet-time disbelief (The Matrix)

The scene in The Matrix that shows Neo ducking backwards to avoid gunfire is so iconic, you could say the phrase "dodging bullets Matrix style" and you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't immediately know what you mean. When Neo and Trinity attempt to rescue Morpheus, they are ambushed by agents on a rooftop. Agent Jones takes over a nearby body and begins the weaving and bobbing around the bullets that has become synonymous with this franchise. When Jones fires back at him, Neo bends over backwards to avoid death, delivering arguably the most famous segment that Keanu Reeves was involved in up to that point in his career, as well one of the most technologically advanced movie scenes ever devised for a modern film production.

The cinematography of the bullets flying across the screen and over Reeves's body, and the way his arms flail in the air as he bends backwards, the bullet barely grazing his leg as he weaves to dodge rapid fire, has left us reaching for the remote control to watch the scene, frame by frame, over and over again since The Matrix first made its way to DVD. It also sets us on the path to believe that Neo is, indeed, the chosen one who will destroy the Matrix and free the people.

Disney definitely stole this one (The Matrix Reloaded)

Kylo Ren freezing Poe Dameron's laser with the Force is one of the "wow" moments from The Force Awakens that drew us all back into the world of Star Wars. However, Disney was not the first to give a main character this ability, and as Reeves fans are well aware, Neo had already performed the same feat more than 12 years prior in The Matrix Reloaded

In the series of events leading to this unforgettable sequence, Neo and company head to the Merovingian in order to rescue the Keymaker, who can get them access to the Source of the Matrix. After some hijinks involving the Merovingian's wife, Neo manages to rescue the Keymaker, only for the Merovingian to corner him. Once the henchmen open fire on Neo, he calmly puts his hand up and brings the lead projectiles to a standstill, providing us with one of the best Keanu Reeves clips in the process.

Neo bringing bullets to a stop ranks near the top of Reeves' frequently halted segments not just because Neo freezes the shots — although that's definitely impressive — but also because of how effortlessly he does it. When the henchmen open fire on Neo, he puts one hand out and brings the bullets to a standstill, all while maintaining the same calm demeanor he typically wears within the Matrix. Neo's laid back attitude in the face of death not only gets to us, but also the Merovingian — upon seeing Neo's display, he remarks, "Okay, you have some skill."

Come at me bro (The Matrix Revolutions)

The image of Neo preparing to face down Agent Smith one final time in The Matrix Revolutions definitely belongs on anybody's shortlist of Keanu Reeves' frequently paused film moments. After finally making it to the Machine City, Neo encounters the machine's leader, Deus Ex Machina. There, he is able to broker a deal in which he stops Agent Smith from taking over the Matrix and the physical world, while the machine leader spares the free human city of Zion. The leader agrees, and after Neo is inserted into the Matrix, he begins his duel with Agent Smith. After Smith goes on a monologue about how the purpose of life was to end, Neo gets up and strikes the famous pose.

Although this is hardly the first time Neo has taken up that stance, the sheer swagger that he displays in this scene is why it rises above the others. In spite of the long odds Neo faces — the overwhelming numbers and the daunting, newfound power of Agent Smith — he chooses to stand up when Smith knocks him down and confidently beckons at him as if to say "come at me, bro." Neo's willpower, determination, and refusal to stay down are what make this moment special.

The slo-mo sail (Always Be My Maybe)

Keanu Reeves has starred in his share of comedies, but no scene in his filmography has provided more laughs than the one from Always Be My Maybe when he comes waltzing into a high-class restaurant in slow motion while Awolnation's "Sail" plays on the soundtrack. In this scene, the characters Marcus and Jenny have gone to meet Sasha and her mystery boyfriend at an upscale restaurant. After the three get settled, Sasha's boyfriend arrives fashionably late, and it's dramatically revealed that she's dating... Keanu Reeves (played by Keanu Reeves).

While Reeves' screentime in Always Be My Maybe amounts to a mere 14 minutes, he takes all of the hyperbole that the media and fans have attached to him over the years and pokes as much fun at the audience as he does at himself. When he's slo-moing into dinner, Marcus and Jenny both have their mouths fall wide open, a parody of people who put him on a pedestal. By having Reeves play into the stereotypes his fanbase has created, he lampoons the audience into laughing at themselves.

Strange things are afoot at Circle K (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure)

The first Bill & Ted film was Keanu Reeves' first real blockbuster, and the scene when Bill and Ted discover the existence of time travel is one of the most oft-paused moments of Reeves' career. Bill and Ted are working on a history project which will determine whether or not they pass the class and — although they don't know it yet — also decide whether their band will become the basis for a utopian civilization in the future. While the duo sits outside a Circle K working on their assignment, a man named Rufus arrives from the future to ensure Bill & Ted succeed, followed swiftly by... Bill & Ted from the future. Hilarity ensues.

The look on Ted's face as he attempts to comprehend the "strange things" unfurling in front of him, combined with the dimwittedness of his character, is why this sequence makes it onto our list. Ted's hyperbolic ignorance adds to the farcical nature of this scene by playing into many of the stereotypes about dumb high-schoolers, including the number "69" being always on their minds. Despite being released in 1989, this scene has managed to retain its most excellent entertainment value by appealing to common teenage tropes that are still alive and kicking in the present.

Through the fire and flames (Point Break, 1991)

Few clips match the Point Break awesomeness of Keanu Reeves jumping through the blaze of a car wreckage to try and apprehend a bank robber in a Ronald Reagan mask. Reeves plays Johnny Utah, an agent tasked with going undercover to bring down a group of bank robbers dubbed the Ex-Presidents. After infiltrating their surfing posse (don't ask), Utah decides to stake out a bank with his partner Pappas, which the Ex-Presidents eventually rob. During the ensuing car chase, the robbers' car hits some spikes, forcing them to steal a new one and torch their old ride. While "President Reagan" is in the midst of this process, Johnny Utah jumps through the flames and tries to wrestle the thief down, giving us one of the most exciting sequences of Reeves' career.

Johnny Utah risking life and limb to stop wanted criminals is frequently paused because, well, it's a badass action sequence. Jumping through flames is courageous and a little bit stupid, both of which cut to the heart of Utah's appeal as a character. We like heroes who are unpredictable — it keeps us invested in the character and keeps us on the edge of our seats due to the uncertainty of their success. Utah's fearless disregard for his own life makes this scene one of the most memorable out of all of Reeves' films.

Kids, don't try this at home (Speed)

Few Keanu Reeves movie scenes are paused more than the one in Speed when Jack Traven hurls himself from his car onto a bus — while both vehicles are barreling along at over 50 mph. When an unknown bomber threatens to blow up a bus full of people unless he's paid $3.7 million, Traven and his partner Harry Temple race to catch up to the bus and stop the extortionist before it's too late. Once they catch this speeding vehicle, Traven makes the call to join the bus riders, giving us an amazing Keanu Reeves sequence. 

Jack Traven jumping from his vehicle into a moving bus ranks among his most paused clips because of the shock factor, as well as the bravado the character displays. The "wow" element and Traven's fearlessness in a moment of crisis gets our hearts racing and sets the tone for one of the best action movies of the '90s.

Insert 'Doom' reference here (Constantine)

Keanu Reeves taking a stroll through Hell in Constantine like it's no big deal makes for a surreal — and eminently pause-worthy — moment. When Isabel Dodson utters Constantine's name before jumping off a tall building, her twin sister Angela goes to Constantine to figure out why Isabel committed suicide. Constantine then decides the best course of action is for him to transport himself to Hell to get the answers Angela seeks.

The image of Constantine walking among demons in Hell makes for one the coolest Keanu Reeves moments because the cinematography is amazing and sets the mood. From the howling winds blowing fire around to the post-apocalyptic atmosphere, the setting of this scene alone makes this an incredible movie moment. However, the demon zombies giving chase to Constantine as he tries to recover a medical tag really hammers in the gravity of the danger the character is in. The awe-inspiring setting and the grave risk Constantine is taking combine to give us one of the most paused movie moments of Keanu Reeves' career.