Keanu (film)
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Keanu Film

Keanu poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Atencio
Produced by
Written by
Music by
CinematographyJas Shelton
Edited byNicholas Monsour
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • March 13, 2016 (2016-03-13) (SXSW)
  • April 29, 2016 (2016-04-29) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[2]
Box office$20.7 million[3]

Keanu is a 2016 American action comedy film directed by Peter Atencio and written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens. The film stars Peele and Keegan-Michael Key in their first feature film following five seasons of their sketch TV series. Tiffany Haddish, Method Man, Nia Long and Will Forte also star, as the plot follows two friends who infiltrate a gang in order to retrieve their stolen kitten.

Filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana in June 2015. The film premiered at the South by Southwest Festival on March 13, 2016, and was released theatrically in North America on April 29, 2016. It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $20 million against its $15 million budget.


Smoke and Oil Dresden (Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key), a pair of assassins known as the "Allentown Brothers", enter a drug-processing facility run by a Mexican drug cartel and kill everyone inside, including the boss King Diaz. The pair take Diaz's cat Iglesias, but when they are momentarily distracted by policemen arriving, the cat escapes. Meanwhile, Rell (also played by Peele) has just been dumped by his girlfriend; he finds the cat on his doorstep, takes an immediate liking to it, and names it Keanu. Rell's cousin Clarence (also played by Key) comes over to cheer him up and meets Keanu as well.

Two weeks later, Clarence's wife, Hannah (Nia Long), and daughter go out of town with the husband and daughter of a family friend, leaving Clarence alone. Rell, who is much happier after taking care of Keanu, takes Clarence out to see a Liam Neeson movie, telling him he needs to loosen up and just be himself. When the two return to Rell's house, they find the place has been ransacked and Keanu is missing. A distraught Rell drags Clarence along to the next-door residence of his weed dealer Hulka (Will Forte), who reluctantly reveals that the 17th St. Blips, a local gang, may have raided Rell's house instead of his. Hulka directs them to a downtown strip club; Rell and Clarence go there, where Rell convinces Clarence to adopt a "gangsta" persona in order to infiltrate the gang, calling themselves "Tectonic" and "Shark Tank". The two meet Hi-C (Tiffany Haddish), who initially is skeptical of them, but nonetheless takes them to meet the gang's leader Cheddar (Method Man), who mistakes them for the Allentown Boys. Cheddar has Keanu (having renamed him New Jack and fitted him with a do-rag), and they ask for the cat. He will only return the cat to them if they come along as expert advisors for the Blips on a run to sell a new drug called "Holy Shit"; both reluctantly agree.

After taking their team through a team-building exercise, Rell, Clarence, Hi-C, and three other gang members drive to their delivery spot. While Clarence stays behind and introduces the young men to the music of George Michael (whom he describes as if he were black, to overcome their skepticism), Rell and Hi-C go to make the sale. The buyer turns out to be Anna Faris, who is partying with two friends. Faris invites them to play Truth or Dare, and dares Hi-C to shoot Rell. When Hi-C refuses, a fight ensues in which Faris and her two guests are both shot and killed by Hi-C, frightening Rell. At the strip club after the run, Clarence accidentally smokes some Holy Shit, and experiences a drug trip in which he appears in the music video for "Faith" by George Michael, and Keanu speaks to him in the voice of Keanu Reeves. Rell begins to worry about his cousin and convinces him to just take Keanu and leave. The two do so, but are abducted on their way to their car by the actual Allentown Boys.

Rell and Clarence are tied to chairs and as the Allentown Boys prepare to torture them, Keanu claws through Rell's ropes, allowing him to free himself and Clarence, and they grab the Allentown Boys' guns. The Allentown boys continue to approach them, but Clarence and Rell completely unload the guns into them, seemingly killing them. On their way out of the building searching for Keanu, Rell and Clarence run into the Blips; Cheddar has discovered their real identities when they refuse to shoot a kidnapped Hulka, and forces them to come along to a meeting with the Mexican drug cartel at its mansion in the morning. At the meeting, the Blips meet with King Diaz's cousin Bacon (Luis Guzmán), offering Clarence and Rell as the supposed Allentown Boys, but when Bacon also demands "Iglesias", Cheddar refuses and starts a gunfight between the two gangs. Clarence and Rell realize that the team-building exercise the two took the gang through has improved their communication; they pick up guns and shoot their way out of the mansion in pursuit of Bacon, who has taken Keanu, only for Rell to be shot in the leg and Clarence shot in the hand.

Rell - who never learned to drive - hijacks Bacon's escape car with Bacon and Keanu in the back; Clarence gives chase in a car that belongs to Bacon's son. The chase ends at Clarence's house, where Rell crashes into the front yard, sending Bacon flying through where the windshield of the car would have been, had it not been removed in the chase. Bacon gets up and attempts to shoot Rell, but Clarence runs him over. Bacon gets up again, but is shot and killed by Cheddar and the Blips. The Blips threaten Rell and Clarence, but Hi-C - secretly a police officer - breaks her cover and forces the Blips to drop their guns. When Cheddar attempts to shoot her, she kills him. The police arrive, and Hi-C reveals that Faris and her party guests were in on the whole operation and are all still alive, but Rell and Clarence will still have to go to jail for the activities they've taken part in, including the killing of the Allentown Boys. She promises to testify for leniency and agrees to go on a date with Rell after they get out of jail.

Six months later, Rell and Clarence have only three weeks left on their jail sentences, but have commanded respect among the inmates - including the remaining Blips - for killing the Allentown Boys. Hi-C, who has been taking care of Keanu, speaks with Rell through a visitation phone, where she reveals that she's just been to the veterinarian and discovered that Keanu has a rare disease: he will remain a kitten permanently.

In a post-credits scene, the Allentown Boys are revealed to have survived the shooting and get back into their car.



The film was officially announced by New Line Cinema in October 2014, with Peter Atencio directing.[4] Many sites reporting on the film initially believed it to be a parody of the then recently released John Wick but according to Atencio the two films were developed independently of each other, and the team was initially unaware of Wick until work on Keanu was already underway.[13]Keanu Reeves himself, who starred in Wick, did eventually get in touch with the production and subsequently a dream sequence in the film was modified with Reeves providing the voice of the titular kitten.[14]

In May 2015, Method Man and Will Forte joined the cast, with Darrell Britt-Gibson being added the following month.[7][10][9] Filming began on June 1, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana,[15][16][17] and concluded on July 10. Seven tabby cats were used for the shoot.[18] Since Key is allergic to cats, he had to take a medication in order to interact with them.[18]


A work-in-progress print was screened at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas on March 13, 2016.[19]

Warner Bros. originally scheduled the film to release on April 22, 2016,[20] but in January 2016 the film was moved back a week to April 29, 2016.[21]


Posters for the film spoofed The Martian, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Big Short, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Bad Boys II, Scarface, Captain America: Civil War, Speed, The Matrix and Deadpool.


Box office

In the United States and Canada, Keanu opened alongside Mother's Day and Ratchet & Clank, and was projected to gross $10-14 million from 2,658 theaters in its opening weekend.[2] The film made $3.5 million on its first day, including $560,000 from Thursday night previews. The film went on to gross $9.5 million in its opening weekend, finishing third at the box office behind The Jungle Book ($43.7 million) and The Huntsman: Winter's War ($9.6 million).[22] In its second weekend the film grossed $3.3 million (a drop of 65.2%), finishing 5th behind Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million), The Jungle Book ($24.5 million), Mother's Day ($11.1 million) and The Huntsman: Winter's War ($3.9 million).[23]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 78%, based on 152 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Keanus absurd premise and compulsively-watchable starring duo add up to an agreeably fast-paced comedy that hits more than enough targets to make up for the misses."[24] On Metacritic the film has a score of 63 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "generally-favorable reviews".[25] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[22]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Golden Trailer Awards Best Comedy "Take It" Won [26]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actor: Comedy Keegan-Michael Key Nominated [27]
Jordan Peele Nominated

Potential sequel

In a March 2017 Reddit AMA, Jordan Peele stated that "if we do a Keanu 2, I promise you we will do twice as many deaths as there are in John Wick 2."[28]

See also


  1. ^ "KEANU (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ a b Berhoeven, Beatrice. "Disney's 'The Jungle Book' to Lead Third Weekend in a Row Ahead of 'Keanu'". TheWrap. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Keanu (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Bowles, Scott (2014-10-20). "Key & Peele's First Feature Film To Start Production Next Spring". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Key and Peele Star in Keanu Movie Red-Band Trailer". Collider. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Callender, Samantha (2016-01-27). "[Interview] Tiffany Haddish Talks Homelessness, Comedy & the Power of Affirmations". The Source. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (2015-05-12). "Method Man Joins Key and Peele Comedy". Variety. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2015-06-16). "Nia Long Cast In Key & Peele Movie 'Keanu'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b Kit, Borys (2015-05-28). "Will Forte to Co-Star With Key and Peele in Comedy 'Keanu' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved .
  10. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (June 3, 2015). "Josh Harto Finds 'Gold'; Raul Castillo Joins 'Special Correspondents' - Film Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2015.
  11. ^ Ford, Rebecca (2015-06-23). "Rob Huebel Joins New Line Comedy 'Keanu'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved .
  13. ^ GHAHREMANI, TANYA. "Is 'Keanu' A Parody Of Keanu Reeves' 'John Wick'? Not If You Ask, Well, Everyone Who Worked On It". Bustle. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ Galuppo, Mia. "Keanu Reeves Lends His Voice to 'Keanu' Kitty". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ "On the Set for 6/1/15: James Gunn Starts Shooting 'The Belko Experiment', Michael Keaton Begins Mcdonald's Biopic 'The Founder' & More". June 1, 2015. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved 2015.
  16. ^ Scott, Mike (May 28, 2015). "Key and Peele's NOLA-shot 'Keanu,' Tom Cruise's 'Mena' get release dates". Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ "Key and Peele's New Movie 'Keanu' Open Casting Call". June 2, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ a b Ford, Rebecca. "'Keanu' Kitten: How a Cat in a Hat Was Trained to Act for Key and Peele's Movie". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (13 March 2016). "SXSW: Key & Peele's Unfinished 'Keanu' Gets Late-Night Screening Complete With Flying Kittens".
  20. ^ Pedersen, Erik (May 27, 2015). "Warner Bros Dates Catnapping Pic 'Keanu' & 'Going In Style' Remake For 2016". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2015.
  21. ^ Pedersen, Erik (January 12, 2016). "Warner Bros Moves Key & Peele Starrer 'Keanu' Back One Week - Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony; Busch, Anita. "'Jungle Book' Still Hot in Third Weekend with $35M-$36M; 'Mother's Day' Has Edge Over 'Keanu'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 8, 2016). "Disney's Spoils Of 'Civil War': $61M+ Saturday As 'Captain America' Heads To $181.8M". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "Keanu (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Keanu reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "The 17th Annual Golden Trailer Award Nominees". Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ Goodman, Jessica (July 31, 2016). "Teen Choice Awards 2016: See the full list of winners". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ "Jordan Peele here. Writer/Director of GET OUT in theaters this month. Let's talk o r/IAmA". reddit.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes