Pre-'Speed' Reeves lacked a knack for capitalizing on plum film roles
by Steve Murray
You gotta love Keanu Reeves. Even when you hate him.
Lately swathed in karmic calm as Prince Siddhartha in "Little Buddha," he's on the verge of action-hunk stardom with "Speed," opening Friday. Best known as half of the "Bill and Ted" team, the dude has a knack for choosing cool films. Too bad he's often lousy in them. Looks super, sounds surfer.
"Much Ado About Nothing" (1993, PG-13) - Reeves plays villainous Don John in Kenneth Branagh's sun-struck version of the Shakespeare comedy. As a heavy, he's pretty much a 98-pounder.
"My Own Private Idaho" (1991 R) - As an Oregon hustler, Reeves mangles some more Shakespeare (interpolated bits of "Henry IV") in Gus Van Sant's grunge epic. River Phoenix, who's fabulous, co-stars.
"Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992, R) - Reeves and Winona Ryder go neck-and-neck for worst British accent in Francis Ford Coppola's over-the-top vampire opera. (He wins.)
"River's Edge" (1987, R) - Reeves is at his natural best in this ode to slacker angst, playing a teen who draws attention to the murder of a schoolmate.
"Point Break" (1991, R) - Reeves as a surfer? What a stretch.