The Wachowski Brothers
Running Time: 2:20
as Thomas A. Anderson/Neo
Jada Pinkett Smith
Nona M. Gaye
Randall Duk Kim
Harry J. Lennix
Harold Perrineau Jr.
Although there were slow spots, the majority of The Matrix Reloaded was take-your-breath-away amazing. If the original set the special-effects standard for all movies made in the last 4 years, the second part of the trilogy has raised the bar once again.
Reloaded picks up six months after The Matrix. The machines are getting closer to the last human outpost, Zion, and the powers that be in Zion are getting ready for a fight. But Morpheus still believes that Neo is The One who will destroy the machines, so his plans are slightly different from everyone else's. He wants to listen to the Oracle, and see what advice she has to give. So while the rest of Zion prepares for battle, Morpheus, Neo, Trinity, newcomer Link and two other ships head back into the matrix in order to try and destroy the machines from the inside. It seems the key to beating the machines is to get to the center of it all. In order to do that, they need to get the Keymaker. Only he knows how to get inside. Once inside, The One will be able to find the right door and take down the central server. Everything is going to plan until Neo has to make a choice. That choice will determine if he can fulfill his destiny, or if Zion is doomed. And as widely reported, the movie ends in mid-scene, setting up an all out battle for the future of mankind in The Matrix Revolutions in November.
First off, some of the scenes in this movie literally had me holding my breath. The freeway chase scene was easily one of the most spectacular scenes in movie history. A full 15 minutes of in-your-face action with martial arts fighting, motorcycles, explosions and anything else you can think of. Combine that with some impressive fight sequences that must have taken months to choreograph and you have the makings of one action-packed movie. In the first film, you had some amazing special effects and a fairly simple idea: that humans are being controlled by machines and that everything you see and hear and feel isn't real; it's just a program. You take that premise and add never-before-seen effects and you have the makings of a mainstream cult classic. No other movie in recent history has been as copied as The Matrix was, especially with its groundbreaking 'bullet time' effect. So the second part of the trilogy had to take it up a notch, both with story and with visuals.
With the first one, you didn't need to give people much more than the premise because the idea itself was different and simple to understand. Humans are enslaved by machines and want to take back control. But the second and third parts of the trilogy need to give you more of the how and why of that story. The problems is, when you have a movie with cutting edge special effects that leave people wanting more, when you actually go into the plot, the movies seems to slow down a lot. And to be honest, a lot of the explanations are going to go right over peoples heads. Some of it sounded like doubletalk; talk that sounded like people knew what they were talking about when really they were just putting fancy words together. Hopefully the final act will shed more light on what was going on. From what I gathered, the Oracle herself was a renegade program and that there had been others before Neo who were supposed to be The One. And that The One was really a part of the entire program and had no control over what eventually happened. Frankly, this is the kind of thing where I'll need to go back and see the movie again to figure out what people were talking about. Luckily the action sequences were more than good enough to make it worthwhile going back for seconds.
Those groundbreaking special effects. The movie starts with a bang. As with the first one, it starts with Trinity kicking some ass and getting into a cool looking gunfight. Neo gets into a few kick-ass fight scenes. One in particular was tremendous; a scene known as the 'Burly Brawl' that pit Neo against an army of Agent Smiths. The scene must have lasted a good 7-8 minutes and was seamless combining live action and special effects. Agent Smith was an interesting character this time around. He was no longer an Agent and seemed to be apart from the computer program yet he was still hanging around for reasons that weren't totally clear. From what I understood, he wanted power over the matrix and just as importantly, wanted Neo dead. The other cool scene involved Neo fighting with a bunch of weapons in the foyer of a restaurant somewhere. The best part of that sequence however involved the Twins. Bad guys in the matrix who had the ability to turn themselves into ghosts. It gave them the ability to fly from place to place without being seen, but also heal themselves when injured. They, along with Nightcrawler from X2, are easily the coolest characters of the summer. And then there was that freeway scene that is too unbelievable to put into words. It has to be seen on a big screen to be appreciated.
Like I said earlier, there were some down times in the film. I thought the sex scene, intercut with some serious dancing, went on a little long. And some of the speeches people gave, speeches that were trying to explain the story a bit more, also dragged on. I don't think the speeches themselves were bad or unnecessary, just that again, when you're flying along at 100mph and suddenly slow down, it can be a little jarring. But like I said earlier, the movie is strong enough that if you miss the inside story of how and why, it's worth it to go back a second time and see it again.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Reloaded lives up to the hype as arguably the most anticipated movie since The Phantom Menace from four years ago. It has set the standard once again not only for sci-fi films, but for action/adventure films of all kinds. It's definitely something you need to see in the theaters. And whatever you do, DO NOT leave the theater once the movie is over! After the credits finish rolling you will see a preview of Revolutions, so sit tight and enjoy the ride!
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