Who would win in a fight? Tom Cruise vs. Keanu Reeves

Cruise vs Reeves

Ah, the most serious of youthful pastimes - who would win in a fight? I recall many passionate arguments with friends, usually involving fictional characters, athletes, and/or movie stars, such as:

  • Hulk vs. Superman
  • Bruce Lee vs. Muhammad Ali
  • Godzilla vs. King Kong

Oddly enough, we did get that last one recently, even if it was a bit disappointing (I had money on Kong). Anyways, you get the picture. Two titans squaring off in a fight to the death. Who would WIN and why? In these sometimes heated conversations, myself or my friend would have a clear favorite to rally behind. Conventional logic as well as reality would fly right out the bus window as we’d break down the fight like color commentators.

These conversations were infinitely more fun than a game of pencil break. I wonder why we outgrew them in favor of complaining about work. In the spirit of that imaginary exercise, I’ve decided to have a who would win in a fight argument with myself. Next to enter the ring are well-known to all moviegoers:

  • Tom Cruise vs. Keanu Reeves

That’s the real-life humans, mind you - not Jack Reacher vs. Neo, nor Ethan Hunt vs. John Wick - etc. etc. What would it be like for these two actors to be forced into a real fight with no stunt choreography? But what, pray tell, would make these two men fight to the death? To my knowledge, they don’t dislike one another. Despite having long film careers going back to the ‘80s, they’ve never worked together. Weird, huh? Keanu has stated in an interview that he respects Tom’s work, complimenting his insane stunts in particular. No such comment from Tom regarding Keanu’s work, however.

So what would make these Hollywood heroes engage in fisticuffs? Let’s pretend, for the sake of this article, that aliens have enslaved Earth, and our ticket to freedom lies in our ability to entertain them. They’ve promised to release their icy stranglehold on our fair planet if, and only if, Keanu and Tom will enter the space equivalent of an octagon and beat the shit out of one another. Perhaps one of the Alien commanders had seen Gladiator one too many times on the long journey to our solar system.

And so, Keanu and Tom have surrendered themselves to the fight for the good of all mankind. As the ringing of the bell grows near, let’s examine our contenders, shall we?

Keanu Reeves commits to performing his own stunts, showcasing many forms of martial arts. He’s proven himself on screen as a legit badass, earning praise from the film industry and audiences, but also from the stunt coordinators behind the scenes. His fighting styles primarily include Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Additionally, he’s trained with many forms of weapons to bring Gun Fu to life. With the demands of his stunts, he maintains a high level of physical fitness through weight training and martial arts.

Given these amazing feats of strength, it’s easy to imagine that Keanu is very in-tune with his mind and body. He projects the humble presence of a man who is at peace.

Then there’s Tom Cruise, who was once described by Rob Lowe as such: “He’s open, friendly, funny, and has an almost robotic, bloodless focus and an intensity that I’ve never encountered before… he’s zeroed in like a laser.” I don’t think another quote more accurately sums the man up. You’ve seen his insane stunts that would kill most people. He seems to have a near-psychotic drive to push himself beyond the limits of mortal men. While he doesn’t have as much hand-to-hand combat training as Reeves, he did study Krav Maga for the Mission Impossible films. The main thing to consider about Cruise as your opponent is this - the man prepares. For Top Gun, he learned to fly fighter jets. He can ride a motorcycle off the side of a cliff and parachute to safety. He regularly spends time hanging from the exterior of planes while they’re in flight. This level of focus and preparation has kept him alive. I find it highly terrifying. We need not mention all of the Scientology stuff, but that’s also a contributing, equally terrifying factor.

This fight’s outcome - like all fights - is determined by a mix of skill, strength, and perhaps most importantly - psychology. It really comes down to:

The Bloodless Robot (Cruise) vs. The Zen Master (Reeves)

Who would win? What would transpire? How long would it last before a victor emerged? A lot of this, of course, depends on the preparation. How long would Cruise and Reeves have to prepare? If they’re made aware of the fight beforehand, I have no doubt that Tom Cruise would begin a rigorous training regimen that would turn him into a no-nonsense killing machine. What kind of monster would a man with that mindset turn himself into if need be? I shudder to imagine the possibilities.

That said, if the aforementioned alien overlords just snatched them out of their Hollywood mansions unannounced - I have no doubt that Reeves would quickly gain the upper hand over Cruise. He just has more physical combat training, plain and simple. I believe Reeves also has more reach, given their proportions.

Ultimately, it could go a lot of different ways. I’d be pulling and arguing for Reeves, purely based on the difference in mindset. I much prefer his mindful approach to life and work as opposed to Tom’s “laser focus.” In the end, I’d pick Reeves to win, but I’d imagine it’d be a hard-fought victory with Cruise pulling out all the stops to hurt him. Likely Reeves would be caught off guard by Cruise’s intensity. Things would get bloody, fast.

But I’m calling it, Reeves all the way. That’s my champion. What do you think? This is the point of the article, after all. You have to form your own opinion based on the stats. Who you got, and do you want to put five on it?

Reeves all the way, suck it, Cruise!