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Why These Keanu Reeves Movies Never Got A Sequel

Few celebrities can claim to have maintained their star power over as long a period as Keanu Reeves. 

The Canadian-born star made his debut in 1984 and would spend the next few years toiling in commercials and after-school-type TV movies. In 1986, he blazed across the screen alongside Crispin Glover in "River's Edge," and since then he hasn't looked back. Of course, there have been dry periods (the "Johnny Mnemonic"/"A Walk in the Clouds"/"Chain Reaction"/"Feeling Minnesota" years were not kind to Keanu), but every time it has seemed like he was knocked down, he's been able to pull out a generation-defining blockbuster: the "Matrix" films, "Speed," the "John Wick" or "Bill & Ted" movies.

He's a one-of-a-kind leading man with a refreshing sincerity, even if his surfer-dude delivery and seemingly vacant expressions have brought him trouble in films like "Much Ado About Nothing." Nowadays, he's an ongoing internet phenomenon, with a reputation as one of the nicest celebrities anyone could hope to come across. This has only amplified his highly-regarded reputation as a deeply thoughtful, meditative performer who commits himself physically and philosophically to his roles, often committing to copious training and research.

Given his popularity and ability to evolve characters like Neo, Wick and Theodore Logan, Esquire over a number of films, it's a bit surprising that he doesn't have more sequels in his filmography. Some projects below (like "Mnemonic" and "Constantine") were clearly filmed with franchises in mind. Others (like "Point Break") simply made so much money that it's amazing Hollywood didn't go back to the well. Below are  Keanu's most-head scratching one-off films, as well as the likely reasons why they never got a proper sequel.

Point Break (1991)

The film that put Keanu on the map as an action star, this crime thriller from Kathryn Bigelow cast him as Johnny Utah (the first of many iconic characters in his oeuvre named John or Johnny), an F.B.I. Agent undercover with a gang of surfers led by the charismatic Bodhi (Patrick Swayze). 

The gang are suspected to be culprits behind a number of local bank robberies, but the more Johnny finds himself drawn into their world, the more he finds his loyalties tested. 

Though the characters' fates may have seemed more or less resolved by the end of the film, there were apparently several proposed sequels in various stages of development. In 2007, a direct sequel called "Point Break: Indo" would have seen Bodhi survive his climactic surf and get back into bank-robbing, though there were not necessarily plans for Keanu to return. That project stalled out in 2009, with Swayze's untimely death that year certainly not helping matters. 

In 2015, a "Point Break" remake starring Edgar Ramirez and Luke Bracey stumbled into theaters (and just as quickly saw itself out). That film's dismal reception may serve as the final nail in the "Point Break" franchise coffin, although there has been recent talk that Patrick W. Iliff (who wrote the original) has conceived of a sequel TV series that would find Johnny missing while his daughter got entangled in a similar web of crime and extreme sports. It's unlikely anything will ever come of it, but at the same time, Keanu's star power is still strong enough that if he said tomorrow he wanted to surf again, you can bet someone would quickly greenlight a script.

Speed (1994)

Okay, technically they did make a sequel for this one. But it was a misfire of legendary proportions — and the original film built its success on the chemistry between Keanu and Sandra Bullock, so how could any film call itself a sequel without both Annie and Jack?

If "Point Break" introduced the notion of Keanu as an action star, "Speed" solidified it, as Jan de Bont's adrenaline-pumping thriller had Reeves' Jack Traven in a cat-and-mouse game with a retired explosives expert (Dennis Hopper), desperately trying to keep a city bus from going under 50 miles per hour and setting off a deadly explosive device. With the help of a passenger named Annie (Sandra Bullock), Jack was able to save the day; the final moments depicted them kissing in the wreckage of the train, very much a happily-ever-after moment.

So, why would you even need a sequel? Well, when a film becomes a $100 million-grossing cultural phenomenon, talk of further adventures are inevitable.

Sure enough, 1997's "Speed 2: Cruise Control" tried to appease this hunger, but Keanu wisely wanted nothing to do with it. Sandra Bullock returned, cast this time alongside Jason Patric. 

Keanu has said in interviews that he was very unimpressed with the proposed script, which changed the setting from a bus to an ocean liner. He had also just finished another big action film ("Chain Reaction"), and at the time decided he would rather work on "The Devil's Advocate," so despite how much he loved collaborating with Bullock and de Bont, he ultimately decided to pass. According to him, 20th Century Fox put him in "actor jail" as a result, and he didn't make another film with the studio until 2008's "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Could somebody pull a "Ghostbusters" or "Halloween" that ignores the sequel and takes a mulligan, making a new second chapter? Both Reeves and Bullock remain tremendous box office draws, for multiple generations of moviegoers, and if they indicated any interest it could certainly happen. In the meantime, everybody will just have to get by with "The Lake House."

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

This sci-fi mindbender, adapted by genre legend William Gibson from one of his short stories, was set in the far-flung future of 2021 and featured an amazing cast: Keanu, Dolph Lundgren, Ice-T, Henry Rollins, Udo Kier and more.  

The film had Keanu playing a walking flash drive, transporting 320 gigabytes of critical information in his head from Beijing to Newark while being pursued by the Yakuza and a hulking assassin (Dolph Lundgren). When Mnemonic learned that the data was an encrypted cure for the Nerve Attenuation Syndrome that plagued much of the world suffers he joined forces with an anti-establishment group that extracted the cure and released it online.

Though some see it as a precursor to "The Matric" in many ways, the film received very poor reviews upon release. It has since gained a small cult following , but considering its critical and commercial failure — and the fact that "Johnny Mnemonic" still plays as shorthand for movie bomb, alongside the likes of "Ishtar," "Heaven's Gate" and "Swept Away" — it isn't hard to see why a sequel was never seriously considered. 

In recent years, there have been rumblings from fans that a follow-up could work, especially given the actor's surge of popularity over the past few years. But at a time when the smart phone in your pocket carries more information than Johnny's overtaxed brain, it seems like "Mnemonic" should be relegated to the '90s alongside AOL free trial CDs.

The Devil's Advocate (1997)

Taylor Hackford's diabolical legal thriller featured Keanu in the role of Kevin Lomax, a hot-shot Florida prosecutor with an impressive legal track record, offered a lucrative position at a high-end New York City law firm. 

At first, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime, but Kevin's wife (Charlize Theron) grows suspicious of both the job and the wealthy socialites they now find themselves surrounded with. As Kevin becomes distracted by his work and the opulent lifestyle offered by his new boss (Al Pacino), his wife goes insane, bearing witness to encroaching Satanic symbolism all throughout their lives. He realizes too late that she's on to something — and after her visions drive her to suicide, he confronts his boss, who is revealed to not only be his father, but the devil himself.

"Devil's Advocate" was something of a phenomenon at the time, but that was largely because of how unabashedly over-the-top the finished film became. Keep in mind, this is Pacino during his "Scent of a Woman" and "Heat" years, where he was cranking out great movies, but chewed up more scenery than Godzilla and proved to be his very own walking special effect. Pacino is still active, of course, but it seems highly unlikely that he'd be willing to revisit "Advocate," and if so it would be hard to imagine he could muster up the same devilish bravado.

Andrew Neiderman, who wrote the novel that the original film is based on, did write a prequel novel years later called "Judgement Day," but no plans have come forth since its publication about a possible adaptation.

Constantine (2005)

Sometimes cited as among the most underrated Keanu Reeves films, the actor has consistently spent the past two decades citing this Francis Lawrence flick as one of his most favorite — and the one he'd most like to sequelize.

An adaptation of DC's "Hellblazer" comics, the film cast him as John Constantine, a freelance exorcist dying of cancer, damned to hell but desperately hoping to buy his way into heaven by performing good deeds. Set against the backdrop of an ongoing war between angels and demons, the star-studded film boasted sick visuals, dark themes and an incredible cast including memorable work from Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Tilda Swinton, Gavin Rossdale and Peter Stormare in what might just be his most off-the-wall performance ever (which is really saying something when you're talking about Peter Stormare).

With years of comics to draw from, and superhero adaptations increasing in popularity, a sequel to this film should have been a slam dunk. But the movie received a tepid box office response (its R-rating likely didn't help), and faded into comic film obscurity alongside the likes of "Steel," "Spawn" and "Jonah Hex," even if it was much better than any of them.

Keanu stated again recently in an interview with Stephen Colbert that he's been trying to get a sequel made for years, and that both he and Lawrence would love to return. The groundwork seems to have been laid for a Hulk-like renaissance, as DC animated efforts like 2016's "Justice League Dark" have continued to keep the Constantine character front-and-center and a 2014 — 2015 David S. Goyer-co-created "Constantine" TV series generally received favorable reviews and a loyal audience. That version (played not by Keanu but Matt Ryan) was revived for the CW's "Legends of Tomorrow." Beyond that, it is currently unknown if a direct sequel to the film will ever move forward.

A Scanner Darkly (2006)

One of several daring, experimental, rotoscope-powered films from Richard Linklater (the others being "Waking Life" and "Apollo 10 1/2"), this Keanu classic was adapted from a novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick,

The flick cast Keanu as Bob Arctor, an undercover cop who finds himself under the influence of a drug called Substance D, slowly losing his grasp on reality and identity as he investigates its origins and supplier. The moody, trippy flick also featured appearances by Winona Ryder, Robert Downey, Jr., Woody Harrelson and Rory Cochrane, in various states of animation and reality.

Given the smaller scale of the film (compared to blockbuster Dick adaptations like "Minority Report" and "Total Recall"), as well as an experimental animation style not for all tastes, "Scanner" was never designed to be a film that was going to set the box office on fire.

Despite generally positive reviews, the film ended up grossing $7.6 million worldwide, thus failing to make back its production budget. Between that and the lack of any source material that might continue the story, it isn't hard to see why a sequel was never seriously discussed. While the potential was there to see how Arctor's accidental discovery might have changed the tide of the war on drugs (not to mention his own fractured psyche), it's clear that such a follow-up wouldn't have made much financial sense.

Street Kings (2008)

This David Ayer adaptation of a story by famed crime novelist James Ellroy had Keanu playing Detective Tom Ludlow, an undercover cop implicated in the death of a fellow officer. 

Ludlow's quest to clear his name had him untangling a conspiracy within the LAPD, while evading Internal Affairs. The film felt like a hybrid between "Training Day" (a huge hit and Oscar winner just a few years prior) and "The Shield" (an acclaimed 2002 – 2008 Michael Chiklis TV series), but was never anywhere near as good as either. Nevertheless, it's hard to beat a cast that included Keanu, Hugh Laurie, Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans, Common, Naomie Harris, Terry Crews and Cedric the Entertainer. 

As with "Speed," there was eventually a Keanu-free-sequel. It was called "Street Kings 2: Motor City," and released in 2011 with Ray Liotta as the headliner. But the two films have about as much in common as the "Bad Lieutenant" movies, and the "Street kings" have been silent since.

Although Keanu's film tripled its budget at the box office, no plans for a direct continuation appear to have ever been discussed.

Man of Tai Chi (2013)

Arguably the least remembered Keanu flick of the last several decades, this blink-and-you-missed-it martial arts film marked the actor's first (and at this point, only) attempt at directing.

Keanu took on the villainous role of Donaka Mark, opposite a protagonist played by stunt performer Tiger Chen (who collaborated with his director on the "Matrix" sequels). Chen plays a Tai Chi student lured into Mark's underground fight club as a way to make money and save his temple. He soon becomes seduced by the violently ambitious lifestyle, until Donaka's nefarious motives come to light. 

Though the film concludes with the defeat and death of Keanu's character, it hosts more than enough impressive staged action sequences to have provided fodder for Tiger to lead a franchise of martial arts dramas in the vein of "Ip Man" or "The Raid." Not to mention that such a thing might provide further opportunities for Keanu to continue to showcase his skills as a director. As it is, the film's underwhelming box office return seems to have put to bed any potential talk of a sequel, and Keanu has since lined up no future directing projects.