Movie Reviews: The Matrix: Reloaded




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     Warner Brothers
     The last human city, Zion is threatened by machines who are enslaving the human race, and it's up to Neo, Morpheus and Trinity to save the day.
     Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett-Smith
Bottom Line:
     ** 1/2


Ever since its groundbreaking release four years ago, "The Matrix" slow-motion, high-wire fight sequences have been ripped-off by so many competitors and wanna-be sci-fi/martial arts flicks, that when a friend of mine "unbelievably" confessed that he hadn’t seen the original, I had to insist he had. He just didn’t realize it.

Which brings me to "The Matrix: Reloaded." I was worried that writers/directors the Wachowski brothers wouldn’t be able to come up with anything fresh the second time around. They have. In terms of special-effects and action scenes, "The Matrix Reloaded" manages to keep its own style, despite hundreds of imitations.

However, I’m still trying to digest its convoluted plot which had something to do with everybody’s favorite Matrix hero Neo (Keanu Reeves), fulfilling the prophecy as the "One" to lead the human race against the machines and thus saving the underground city of Zion from the evil computers.

Neo’s mentor/guru Laurence Fishburne and main squeeze Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are along for the roller coaster ride which starts off slow and builds to a palpable 15 minute climatic fight on LA’s Interstate 101 with Mr. Smith, and a couple of dreadlock-wearing albino twins who can walk through walls, causing just as much mayhem as your average LA commuter who’s late for work.

A new twist in this installment is Neo’s superpowers which enable him to leap tall buildings with a single bound and stop a hail of bullets by raising his hand. You know the rest. However, Neo’s new powers are no match for the dapper, sunglass-wearing Mr. Smith (Hugo Weaving) who can now multiply himself into hundreds of copies of himself.

When he’s not fighting Mr. Smith on freeways and atop rooftops, Neo manages to penetrate the Matrix mainframe and confront its creator. But there’s no resolution as the film ends like a 1930 cliffhanger serial, prepping us for the third and final installment this fall. There are some new faces in the Matrix with Nona Gaye, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Harry Lennix in supporting roles, and a subplot with Fishburne, Pinkett-Smith and Lennix in a love triangle that really doesn’t amount to much.

Let's face it, the real stars of this show are the special-effects.



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