Keanu’s need for speed
Keanu Reeves’ ascent to action stardom in the ’90s had the enigmatic actor parrying baddies’ blows in films like “Speed” and “The Matrix.”
While “Siberia” satisfies the 53-year-old star’s need for speed, the film itself is in dire need of speeding up.
Moreover, it could use less distractions—in this case, a needless romantic angle whose narrative relevance or thematic perspicacity is neither here nor there—that further dilute the sense of urgency it sorely lacks.
In his latest film, Keanu portrays 51-year-old American diamond trader Lucas Hill, who travels to Russia when his business partner in the former Soviet territory goes missing.
As he peddles his rare blue diamonds to Boris Volkov (Pasha D. Lychnikoff) and his sneering cohorts, he makes a “strategic” miscalculation.
Lucas, despite being married to Gabby (Molly Ringwald), finds himself enmeshed in a romantic entanglement with café owner Katya (Ana Ularu) in cool but cold Siberia, a region in Russia known for its prisons, labor camps and harsh winters (average January temperature: -25 degrees Celsius).
The film comes packaged with a fair deal of bleak and blood-soaked violence, which is par for the course in actioners like this—but, director Matthew Ross was probably going for something more noirish, hoping that dragging Katya’s compromised well-being into the story could help sustain the film’s viewability.
It doesn’t, unfortunately.
As a result, the production looks dull, dreary and narratively dismal.
It banks on Keanu’s dashing but stoic countenance to buoy up snooze-worthy action sequences that only end up magnifying its filmmaker’s yawn-worthy disability to make a by-the-numbers story more eventful.
Plus, it features a WTF finale that had the row of noisy moviegoing geriatrics behind us mumbling in unfiltered annoyance: “’Yan na ’yun? Pinagloloko tayo ni Keanu!”
As an action star, Keanu is an age-defying doozy—and we welcome his active return to acting in an exciting array of film/TV genres: action (“John Wick 3: Parabellum,” “Rally Car,” “Rain”), comedy (“Bill & Ted Face the Music”), drama (“The Starling”), suspense-thriller (“Replicas”), and rom-com (“Destination Wedding,” with Winona Ryder).
He even has a cameo in Netflix’s gay-themed rom-com, “SPF-18,” with “Siberia” costar Ringwald.
We have a feeling it didn’t take Keanu long to realize he’s better off making baddies look bad as John Wick, than kowtowing to the whims of sharp-shooting Russian goons as Lucas Hill.
When you’re done appreciating how well the Hollywood star has “preserved” his youthful movie-star looks, the novelty quickly overstays its welcome—then, you’ll realize it’s way past your siesta.
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