There's no doubt the world is going through a bit of a Keanu Reeves thing. And by thing, we mean full-blown love fest.

Thanks to a trifecta of new releases — John Wick 3: Parabellum, Always Be My Maybe and Toy Story 4 — there's been an explosion of Keanu-ness and all the profiles that come with it.

He's also, apparently, one of the nicest people on Earth.

While he's often copped flak for not having a huge range when it comes to being a world-class actor, Keanu has usually had the instinct to pick roles that were right for him and his talents.

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Here, we pick the nine essential Keanu Reeves movies you need to have seen to call yourself a true fan. Is your favourite here?

SPEED

Keanu is just such a goddamn hero as LAPD bomb squad officer Jack Travan — gutsy, taciturn, kind and the target of a madman who's strapped a bomb on a public bus which will blow when it drops below 50 miles an hour.

You have to think Dennis Hopper's Howard Payne subconsciously wanted to fail because there was no scenario where Jack doesn't save the day, with help from Sandra Bullock's Annie Porter, a commuter who's lost her licence for speeding.

Their chemistry is sizzling with both revealing on Ellen recently that they secretly had crushes on each other during filming.

Speed is dumb, 90s action thrills and it's both better and worse than you remember it. But this is peak Keanu and you'll love every single moment (except maybe for that unnecessary final act on the train).

POINT BREAK

That slicked back wet hair, it's enough to make you blush and swoon. As a young FBI rookie in Kathryn Bigelow's surfing/bank robber thriller, Keanu's stupidly named Johnny Utah is an agent with shades of cool.

When he's tasked with learning to surf (which the real-life Keanu still does today) to infiltrate a surfer community, he quickly befriends Patrick Swayze's Bodhi, who happens to lead a gang of bank robbers that use ex-presidents' face masks in their spree.

Johnny discovers an affinity for the waves as well as surfer chick Tyler (Lori Petty) but is seduced by Bodhi's free-living lifestyle and weirdo philosophy, but he's also sworn to bring in the bad guys. What a dilemma.

Bigelow's classic boasts incredible shots of big wave surfers and a dazzling skydiving sequence, but it's the push-and-pull of Keanu and Swayze's performances that make Point Break such a cult favourite. Skip the remake, ohmigod, you have to skip the remake.

MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO

Just after he finished filming Point Break, Keanu started production on Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho, an arthouse drama with his friend River Phoenix.

The story about street hustlers, inspired by John Rechy's book City of Night and Shakespeare's Henrys, was boundary-pushing material at the time of its release and is now considered one of the seminal works of queer cinema.

It was also a risk for two pin-up actors at the peak of their fame. When asked by Interview magazine at the time whether he feared playing a male prostitute would hurt his image, he shot back, "Who am I — a politician?"

Keanu and Phoenix played two friends on the streets, Scott and Mike. Mike, a narcoleptic who fell into a stupor at inopportune times, is on the search for his mother, while Scott is a rich kid who ran away from his father to prove something, maybe to himself, maybe to his dad, maybe nothing for no reason at all — essentially, Shakespeare's Prince Hal.

The movie won plaudits for its rich characterisation and performances, especially a campfire scene in which Mike confesses his love for Scott.

JOHN WICK

After meandering in the land of B-grade movies for some years, along came the role that would catapult Keanu back into the limelight: John Wick. Keanu got the script first and took it to his Matrix stunt double Chad Stahelski, who was looking for a directing project.

Stahelski teamed up with David Leitch, another famed Hollywood stuntman, and the two of them crafted a thrilling, stylish action movie that took full advantage of Keanu's low-key acting instincts and his talent for stunt work.

John Wick is a simple revenge thriller — a former assassin comes out of retirement when the son of a Russian crime boss steals his vintage car and kills the puppy his recently deceased wife bequeathed him.

Wick is a one-man vengeance machine, but what's really impressive about John Wick, and the two sequels it spawned, is its practical effects. What you see — the elaborately choreographed and shot action sequences — are real and not CGI. And it's jaw-droppingly good.

BILL & TED

It was the ultimate dumb buddy comedy well before Dumb and Dumber or Wayne's World — but with added time travel!

Bill and Ted are two dimwitted teenagers from California, chasing their dreams of musical superstardom. They just have to ace their history test first, and if they don't then their band, Wyld Stallyns, will never achieve success and create a utopian society through their jams.

Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves pose for a still to promote the movie
Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves pose for a still to promote the movie "Bill & Ted 2". Photo / File

So an emissary from the future, Rufus (George Carlin), takes the boys on a time-travelling adventure to teach them a little something about history. In turn, they get to meet the likes of Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc and Honest Abe.

Keanu is super-adorbs as Ted, simple and well-intentioned, and constantly astounded. And he's going to do it all over again with the Bill & Ted sequel slated for a 2020 release. Excellent.

THE MATRIX

When the Wachowskis debuted The Matrix, it was an imaginative sci-fi extravaganza that blew our minds and had us all questioning the validity of our reality. Be honest, for a year afterwards, I bet you thought every black cat you saw flickered, just a little.

As Neo, or the chosen one, Keanu's Zen energy was perfect for a character who could stand in for any one of us, which kind of dials up our own paranoia. The action sequences were astounding and fresh, giving audiences something they'd never seen before in live action and outside of Japanese anime.

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Photo / File
Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Photo / File

You didn't get higher concept than The Matrix with its ambitious storytelling, but it may have believed its own hype just a tad too much, because the sequels were confusing, pseudo-philosophical movies that were more pretentious than innovative.

But Keanu reportedly made $100 million across the trilogy, so that's nice.

CONSTANTINE

When recently asked in an interview with Variety which character he would like to play again, Keanu said "Constantine", adding that he had a blast with the role and the world created in Francis Lawrence's supernatural comic book movie.

Constantine is a damned soul, trying to buy his way into heaven by banishing rogue demons back to hell. He becomes involved in trying to stop an End of Days plot after Rachel Weisz's Angela asks for his help to investigate the apparent suicide of her twin sister.

Constantine sounds like an oddball, not-for-everyone premise, what with its angels, demons and exorcists, but's visually very impressive with its hyper-stylised aesthetics. It also has a great cast with Tilda Swinton, Peter Stormare, Gavin Rossdale and a young, cherubic Shia LaBeouf.

Who knows, now that Keanu has publicly expressed an interest in a sequel, and with his enormous goodwill at the moment, we may finally get a Constantine 2.

A SCANNER DARKLY

You haven't seen Keanu Reeves until you've seen him rotoscoped. Richard Linklater took Philip K. Dick's semi-autobiographical novel, filmed Keanu, Robert Downey Jr, Woody Harrelson and Winona Ryder and then animated their performances.

As its title suggests, there is a darkness that runs through A Scanner Darkly, which is par for the course for a Dick story, especially one that is mined from his own experiences with drugs.

A scene from the animated film A Scanner Darkly. Photo / File
A scene from the animated film A Scanner Darkly. Photo / File

Keanu's character is another undercover cop going gonzo in his assignment, this time in a drug den house with his roomies. The men spend most of the day engaged in paranoid conversations about the nightmarish world in which 20 per cent of the population are addicted.

Despite the subject and the source material, it's a comparatively subtle movie, but it does require you to pay attention.

RIVER'S EDGE

River's Edge was Keanu's fourth movie but it was his breakout. Only 21 years old when it came out, it's clear from this early performance that we were in the presence of a star.

The casting director said she knew he had presence from the moment Keanu walked through her door.

The movie starred indie darling Ione Skye as well as Crispin Glover and Daniel Roebuck as a group of teens trying to cover up a murder one of them committed. It's a moody piece that traffics in the fallout of a crime on a close group of friends.