Sci Fi Magazine (US), December 2003
The Fantastic Faces of Keanu Reeves
by Steven Puchalski
BABES IN TOYLAND (1986)
One of Keanu's earliest gigs was this made-for-TV fairy tale, playing Jack-be-Nimble. Aided by 11-year-old Drew Barrymore, he saves true love, Mary Contrary, from the evil Barnaby Barnicle, while saddled with dialogue like "Barnaby is attacking Toyland! His monsters will take control of everything!
BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE / BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY (1989/1991)
Reeves proved his comic potential as lovable slacker Ted "Theodore" Logan, alongside equally airheaded bud BIll S. Preston (Alex Winter). Their first cosmic escapade has them travelling through time in order to pass a high school history project. In the sequel, they try to save the future by winning a battle of the bands.
Francis Coppola's opulent vampire-tale featured Keanu as London law clerk Jonathan Harker, whose trip to Transylvania ends with Dracula (Gary Oldman) obsessed with his fiancee. Alas, Keanu seems out of place in this period setting, even when seduced by the count's undead brides (including The Matrix Reloaded's Monica Bellucci).
Reeves made a hilarious uncredited appearance in this warped comedy, written and co-directed by Bill & Ted partner Alex Winter. A deranged freak-show owner (Randy Quaid) uses a toxic chemical to create his menagerie, with an unrecognizable Keanu (covered in fur, and with a Spanish accent) as Ortiz the Dawg Boy.
JOHNNY MNEMONIC (1995)
Working from a script by cyber-visionary William Gibson, Reeves plays the title courier, who smuggles data by uploading it into a brain implant in his skull. Hoping to retire, he takes one final job, and is soon in danger from futuristic hit men, a religious zealot, synaptic seepage and unjustly hostile critics.
THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE (1997)
Reeves returned to the supernatural with this devilishly clever thriller, as ambitious small-town attorney Kevin Lomax. He's lured into a high-powered, morally ambiguous NYC law firm, and quickly comes under the influence of founder John Milton (Al Pacino), who's actually - shhh, don't tell anyone - Satan!
THE GIFT (2000)
Sam Raimi's Southern Gothic mystery is primarily centered around backwoods psychic Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett) and her "gift." But co-star Reeves steals every scene by playing against type as menacing red-neck neighbour Donnie Barksdale, who doesn't appreciate it when Annie urges his long-battered wife to ditch him.