Welcome to the Machines
Matrix Reloaded
Review by Ross Anthony

Firstly, "Wow!" Secondly, everything I wrote in my review for the original Matrix still applies, save for one thing, there's no smashing climax this time. Reloaded is an in-betweener, an Episode 5 (in "Star Wars" terminology), a To-Be-Continued.

If the oft-made assertion 'special effects do not make the movie' is true, then this MATRIX tale just may be the anomaly. Heady, philosophic language fills the empty spaces between absolutely mind-blowing, call-your-mother, shout-out-the-window, eyes-wide-open special effects. It doesn't really Matrix Reloadedmatter if you understand 20% or 100% of the intellectualizing or if there's any sense at all in fighting software with military hardware and good old fashion butt-whoopin' Kung Fu -- because this film is simply a marvel to watch. Simply a marvel.

Two sequences dominate the production and in my opinion are beautiful works of art. They will no doubt set new standards for action special effects (as did the graphics in the first film). The first scene begins patiently quietly with one Mr. Smith (a human looking program sent to destroy 'The One'). The dialogue is terse, curt, quite, while strangely playful. Of course, the verbal gives way to some hand to hand between Smith and (Keanu)'The One'. Smith spreads himself like a computer virus and Keanu finds himself fighting two Smiths, then three, until the entire urban courtyard is teaming with Smiths. The camera spins around the street fight as if it was a rock at the end of a string. The graphics are awesome, the choreography artful, and the build in intensity worthy of being likened to Ravel's Bolero. Bravo! Bravo!

The second sequence takes place on the 101 freeway. (For the rest of the world -- the 101 extends from downtown LA to Warner Brothers in Burbank.) Cars, trucks, motorcycles -- awesome. I just love the moment where Trinity spins her motorcycle around and speeds directly into oncoming traffic. She dodges moving vehicles as the camera (or virtual camera) rushes around her -- traversing the underside of trucks just to keep her in frame. Breathtaking.

During these moments, you will be glued, not amused, not impressed, but glued to the screen! I certainly was. However, during the lighter moments, it occurred to me -- what irony. Here I am watching humans fighting programs that look like humans, all in a film that was created by humans using programs. (Oh, and the other irony: myself as well as a couple hundred other reviewers screened this film at Warner Brothers Studios lot where we were subject to security and escorted by a host of black-tie wearing, earphone-donning Agent Smith-like fellows.)

Studio's Synopsis:
In the second chapter of the Matrix trilogy, freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine Army, unleashing their arsenal of extraordinary skills and weaponry against the systematic forces of repression and exploitation. In their quest to save the human race from extinction, they gain greater insight into the construct of The Matrix and Neo's pivotal role in the fate of mankind.

  • Matrix Reloaded. Copyright © 2003. Rated R. 139 minutes.
  • Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gloria Foster, Monica Bellucci, Collin Chou, Nona Gaye, Randall Duk Kim, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Neil Rayment, Adrian Rayment, Lambert Wilson.
  • Screenwriters-directors: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski.
  • Produced by Joel Silver at Warner Bros, Village Roadshow, NPV.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:03:16 PDT