HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:73
“Keanu” is the first feature length film for sketch comedians Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele (at least a film that they’ve starred in and written themselves, as Keegan Michael Key has been a bit part character in several films over the years). It’s full of pop culture references, geeky humor, plenty of stupidity and is thoroughly entertaining. The movie can be a bit uneven at times and stretches out for too long (a good 20 minutes could have been shaved off in my opinion), but it is still a fun little ride featuring one of the most adorable kittens I have ever seen.
The premise of the movie allows the two comedians to ham it up as a pair of uptight wannabe’s who are trying to get their cat back. Rell (Jordan Peele) is a weed smoking, depressed man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend when he is saved by the appearance of an adorable little ball of fluff that has just made its way from a giant shootout between drug dealers. With Keanu (the name of the cat), Rell has found himself a new purpose and is utterly devoted to the little animal (creepily so in fact). However that changes when his house is burgled one night and the only thing missing is the little cat. Completely livid and seeing a connection, Rell and his stuffy cousin Clarence (Keegan Michael Key) uncovers the truth. His drug dealing neighbor, Hulka (Will Forte with dreadlocks and a beard) was the intended target, but for some reason these gangsters switched up the two houses and robbed Rell instead. Now Clarence and Rell have to go track down this monstrous gangster (a thug named “Cheddar”, played by rapper “Method Man) and get their kitty back.
Only problem is, to get in they kind of have to play the gangster role and are mistaken for the Allentown boys (also played by Keegan and Peele), a pair of vicious killers who just so happened to be the same criminals who shot up Keanu’s drug dealing owner. Nicknaming themselves Shark Tank (Clarence) and Tectonic (Rell), the duo are forced into acting as the shock collars for Cheddar’s men while they distribute a brand new drug that is just hitting the streets. The problem is that both Clarence and Rell are big talkers, but they’re not the gangster type, so they have to get in the zone and play the part as best they can before their cover is blown and so is their head (unless the REAL Allentown boys get there first, which poses a whole nother problem).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75921[/img]“Keanu” is a mixture of hits and misses, but luckily a few more hits than actual misses. The film tends to use the same jokes over and over again (kind of like the actual “Key & Peele” show) and has a blast doing so. For example we get to see Keegan and Peele play their “gangsta” roles that they have made so famous in their sketch comedy show, with Keegan once again taking the lead as the more brash and over the top version of himself, spitting out Ebonics at every turn in an effort to fit into the gang banger world, and Jordan Peele staring blankly into space as the dull sounding “thug” persona that he utilizes on “Keegan & Peele”. Many of the jokes really work, like the adorable Keanu jumping from dangerous situation to dangerous situation, dodging bullets and debris while George Michaels plays in the background. Others, like the ACTUAL George Michaels bits in the club, or Clarence/Shark Tank’s obsession with the singer gets worn out WAAAAAAAAAY too quickly (and over utilized by a good bit).
The movie tends to work mostly because of the chemistry between the two comedians. They have been playing off of each other for years and that really shows here, as their jokes just feel organic and natural, even when they don’t always gain traction. Will Forte hams it up as a white boy wannabe gangster, who uses every bit of gangster cultural jargon while doing so with embarrassing ease. However, the movie plays it a little bit too safe, as it tugs at the strings of a few deeper subjects, but never really delves into them. The main ones being the racial politics and stereotypes uses, such as the Ebonics that the two try to adopt to fit into the underworld, as well as Will Forte’s wannabe poser persona that could have TOTALLY been exploited, but was rather played for a few laughs and then left along. Humor is spot on in parts, and other times you just move on, but the inclusion of a few bigger name stars add their yucks in there for good measure. Ana Faris as a drug craved version of herself is absolutely hysterical, and Luis Guzman is always good in whatever he does (even if his choice of films is not always the best.
Rated R for violence, language throughout, drug use and sexuality/nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75929[/img]“Keanu” comes to Blu-ray with a nice looking 2.39:1 AVC encode that looks a bit glossy, but never overly digital. Shot on the Arri Alexa XT cameras the film looks clean and crisp, with impressive fine detail across the board. Colors tend to be very natural, although there is a lot of dimly lit scenes as the two wannabe gangster go undercover. Daylight scenes are brightened a bit harshly though, creating some blooming white levels that give the film an almost “heavenly” glow if you know what I mean. However the detailing on the clothing and facial details remains strong (although a little compromised due to the blooming whites) and black levels look surprisingly good. I only noticed banding twice in the entire film (the main one being in the club scene where Shark Tank gets a bit toasty). Otherwise the transfer looks great with no major artifacting anywhere to be seen.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75937[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless audio track is actually surprisingly robust and dynamic for what I originally assumed was just a basic comedy track. The film starts out a bit quiet with your standard front heavy mix, but once the two boys get in over their heads with the Blips things heat up real quick. The soundtrack tends to be the most powerful and surround heavy, with pounding hip hop music as well as Clarence/Shark Tank blaring George Michael as loud as he can get it. Still there are plenty of more robust sequences throughout the movie, such as Hi-C shooting up Ana Farris’ house and the gun battle at the beginning of the movie. LFE is tight and powerful, adding some serious chest thumb during the club scene as well as adding some serious boost to the low end during the battles. Surrounds are used mildly at first but soon get more and more material to work with and they get quite a workout during the afore mentioned club scenes and gun battle.
• Keanu: My First Movie (Featurette)
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
“Keanu” plays a bit like a “Key & Peele” extended episode, but Jordan Peele does a great job at writing what might have been a 20 minute sketch into something quite a bit more. It’s not going to win giant accolades for best comedy of the year, but “Keanu” is a surprisingly adept and well written flick for the duo’s first full length feature film together. For those of you who are already fans of Key and Peele this is a no brainer, as it feels like one of their sketches come to life, and for those who aren’t familiar with the pair, it makes a good introduction to their style of humor. Audio and video are impressive although there is sadly less than 25 minutes of special features, which is a tad disappointing. Recommended for a watch.
Starring: Keegan Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Tiffany Haddish
Directed by: Peter Atencio
Written by: Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 2nd 2016
Buy Keanu On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Recommended for a Watch
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