With every hit movie, pundits triumph the "rebirth" of Keanu Reeves, but the actor has been reinventing himself steadily over his 57 movies. Now at age 50, 'John Wick' proves that there's still a lot of life in him.

Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick'
Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick'

Born in Beirut to English-American parents and raised in Toronto, Reeves was first noticed by critics at age 22 in the dark teen drama 'River's Edge' (1986). His first change of pace was with the cult classic comedy 'Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure' (1989), after which he had smaller hits with both a thriller and serious drama ('Point Break' and 'My Own Private Idaho', both 1991) before reigniting the box office in the action romp 'Speed' (1994).

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At just 29 he was the biggest action hero in cinema, but he turned down 'Speed 2' to instead perform 'Hamlet' in rural Canada. "That's a good old Hollywood story," he says. "That was, 'Hey, kid, this is what happens in Hollywood: I said no to the number two and I never worked with the studio again!'" Instead, he made several independent movies before relaunching himself as a science-fiction icon in another studio's movie, 'The Matrix' (1999) and its two sequels (both 2003).

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Over the past decade, he's been worked consistently but relatively quietly until three roles as lone fighters peaked with 'John Wick'. "Kai from '47 Ronin', Donaka Mark from 'Man of Tai Chi' and John Wick are all definitely isolated, pushed away, trying to get back in, manipulated. They all have interesting, mysterious pasts," Reeves says. "All of those roles have been really enjoyable. It's part of the journey; it wasn't intentional."

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Next up is Eli Roth's horror thriller 'Knock Knock', which opens in June. "It was interesting to go from John Wick, this wilful, determined man who has a lot of power," he says, "to my role in 'Knock Knock', where he's super-victimised. That was a kind of nice, sweet and sour year for me!"

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He's currently filming Nicolas Winding Refn's thriller 'The Neon Demon', then heads to 'The Bad Batch', a dystopian romance by rising-star filmmaker Ana Lily Amanpour. Clearly another "rebirth" is on the cards.