Tuesday, May 20, 2003


A Film Review of "The Matrix Reloaded"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

Those incapable of the simple task of suspension of disbelief will hate the sequel to The Matrix and The Matrix itself as well for that matter. That also goes for those of you who fancy yourselves film fanatics –you know who you are. You know that Cool Hand Luke and The Day the Earth Stood Still are both allegories about Jesus, you know that Dinosaur is really The Ten Commandments and Barb Wire is really Casablanca. You write reviews while you’re still watching the movie. You – you are not going to like anything about any of The Matrix Reloaded. My advice to you is to relax, watch the movie and enjoy the ride. You’ll live longer and be happier.

It’s also a middle part of a trilogy. The Matrix Reloaded is The Empire Strikes Back or Back to the Future Part 2 for a new generation. Don’t expect a resolution this time around – it’s to be concluded. If you get pissed off at these type of endings – be pre-warned.

This is a fun movie. It is an okay action flick and an okay sci-fi flick but what makes this movie is the style. Plot, acting and pacing aside The Matrix Reloaded is 80% style and that style is sooo cool. It succeeds in what it set out to do – just be cool.

The Matrix Reloaded is eye candy in a whole new universe of eye candy. As much as the original film raised the bar for special effects, the sequel doubles the ante. The action sequences will leave you breathless. Neo’s fight against the multiple Agent Smiths in the park is what fight scenes in the Batman films should have been all along. The freeway chase scene that culminates in a fight atop a moving truck is so intense it’s unlikely to be duplicated or improved any time soon. As I said, breathless.

It does what a sequel should. Bigger, better, more more more. We get more character development, we meet new characters and explore more of the established universe, we get more of what made the original good (in this case the action) but turned up a notch or two and we get explanation of what has happened so far and why. The Matrix Reloaded delivers all required and more. We see the city of Zion, the relationship between Trinity and Neo and we get an idea of Neo’s powers as The One.

The sequel to The Matrix is not perfect however. The dialogue is stiff and slow at points. The acting sometimes is just as wooden. The clothes worn by the residents of Zion is strangely reminiscent of "Battlestar Galactica" or Logan’s Run, it’s a difficult comparison that distracts more than decorates. The council concept too reminds one of "Galactica" where it should perhaps bring to mind the Jedi Council of Star Wars. Regardless the bad is overwhelmed by the good in this film.

The Matrix Reloaded also did something for me that I respect from sequels. I hate superhero movies (no non-sequitor, folks, make no mistake this is a superhero movie) that spend half the movie setting up and telling the origin of the hero. Damn it, give me a ten second throwaway line of dialogue for an origin or set-up and then get to the action and the story. That’s the way they did it in the good old days of the movie serials. Here’s the hero, just accept it and get over it and get on with it.

The Matrix is a serial and the sequel picks up the action immediately, no explanations for the latecomers – get with the program (pun intended) and enjoy the ride. And what a ride it is. As Keanu Reeves in his former role as Theodore Logan Esq. might have said himself, "Whoa!"

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