To play the role of super-assassin in the past, Reeves undertook intense jujutsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo and tactical shooting training, to fashion as style of fighting that’s come to be known as gun-fu. And it’s safe to assume that this time, his preparation has been just as intense.
Reeves previously worked with the renowned stunt trainers at 87eleven and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners, mixed martial artists and grappler legends the Machado Brothers.
“We kind of just threw away the actor thing and trained him as a stunt guy," director Chad Stahelski says.
"Keanu trains on weekends, he trains four or five months before the movie starts shooting," Producer Basil Iwaynk says. "I don’t mean like once a week I mean every day, four or five hours a day."
He also worked with his personal trainer, Patrick Murphy, who says says they created strength to prevent injury, rather than building bulk.
“Keanu’s body was put through the wringer,” Murphy told Muscle & Fitness. “I had to implement the safest, most effective program possible.”
“There's a lot of stunt and fight training in the John Wick movies, so I had to create ultimate joint stability and tightness. Keanu Reeves, he's in his fifties and his body's been through a lot with all the Matrix movies, it was just a different program. It was more about staying away from injuries.”
Instead of using weights, Murphy opted for resistance bands.
“They can be easier on the joints than free weights,” he explains, “but I also like the negative resistance they present.”
Go-to exercises included unilateral movements like ice skaters and single-leg pistol squat hops.