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Just 19 minutes of your old pal Keanu Reeves training with an assault rifle

Keanu Reeves, charming and nice as he may be, is also very good at playing exceptionally skilled murderers. Nowhere is this clearer than in the John Wick series, which feature Reeves as a bereaved assassin who enacts vengeance on everyone who’s wronged him by shooting them all in the head—sometimes twice in a row.

In order to convincingly portray a vicious gunfighter (yet again) in the upcoming third Wick movie, Reeves played some deadly serious pretend with instructor Shawn Ryan, the former SEAL behind the terrifyingly named Vigilance Elite. A clip of this training process, shared on Ryan’s channel, sees the actor ready for battle in baseball cap and jeans. Ryan walks him through how to not only accurately handle an assault rifle, but to learn how a trained soldier would approach the kind of chaotic shootouts shown in John Wick. It’s less this fast-paced, (hilariously DMX-scored) video from his Wick 2 training than it is a hands-on study session from the surreal Hollywood practice of actors learning how to fake-kill really well by real soldiers.


Reeves seems to take the whole thing very seriously, which is good in that it demonstrates an admirable commitment to his work but bad as it means he’s mostly just watching, nodding, and seeking explanation about different points rather than allowing himself one-word comments for our entertainment. Would it be too much to hope for a single “whoa” when he understands something particularly interesting?

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.