Anything before the 20th century turns Keanu Reeves into a hopeless slab of wood scrabbling for an accent. There was a time in 1990s Hollywood when Shakespeare adaptations were all the rage; basically, it was a great time for an up-and-coming star to shore up some "serious actor" cred by appearing in whatever Kenneth Branagh was doing at the time. Reeves tried to get in on that in Much Ado About Nothing with ... aggressively terrible results. Here's him attempting a sinister, angry monologue:
A canker in a hedge indeed, Ted.
Shakespeare is all about emoting; it was written for the stage, and requires an ability to project feelings and nuance through stilted language. Frankly, even modern English frequently sounds stilted coming from Reeves, let alone this. And it really doesn't help that he completely stopped even attempting the accent at 1:10 in that clip. Go on, listen to it again. They couldn't have tried for another take? Which raises a worse possibility: They did try over and over again to get a better take, and at a certain point each time, the part of Reeves' brain that controls his accents went from "Shakespearean" to "Can I get medium fries, please?"
But it's not just Shakespeare. Transport Reeves out of the comforting confines of the turn of the millennium, and he inherits all of the dramatic chops of a waffle. In the otherwise largely solid Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, a terrible decision was made to put him up against Gary Oldman, and not just any Gary Oldman -- weird Transylvanian Gary Oldman: