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The Matrix Reloaded 



Directed by: Andy & Larry Wachowski

Written by: Andy & Larry Wachowski

Main Cast:

Keanu Reeves - Neo  
Laurence Fishburne - Morpheus 
Carrie-Anne Moss - Trinity
Hugo Weaving - Agent Smith
Gloria Foster - The Oracle
Helmut Bakaitis - The Architect
Randall Duk Kim - The Keymaker
Harry J. Lennix - Commander Lock
Harold Perrineau Jr. - Link
Jada Pinkett Smith - Niobe 
Adrian Rayment - Twin #2 
Neil Rayment - Twin #1
Lambert Wilson - Merovingian 
Anthony Zerbe - Councillor Hamann

Rated R  

“If you're the one, what number am I thinking of?” 
“69, dude!!”


To sum up: It's the return to the world of the Matrix where some people believe that Neo is The One, not The One, or could be The One. A world where there is cool, gravity defying Kung-Fu action, the heroes wear the hottest leather fashions, and the sunglasses stay on no matter how dark it is.

     Anomaly. Mark that word my friends cause you'll be hearing it a lot during the course of this film. Is it a person, place, or state of being? Well, even on that not a lot of people can agree. Of course, no one can be told what the anomaly is. They have to see it for themselves. So, get ready to shell out nine bucks cause the sequel to the hit smash "The Matrix" is finally here. At first it will just seem to be an ordinary action film. More of the same. But a few hours after you see it, you'll find yourself reviewing the film in your head, going over the ideas and questions that are raised, and probably become intrigued enough that you'd very likely want to see it again.

     All of the commanders have been ordered to return to the last human outpost, the underground city Zion. The machines that have enslaved humanity are sending an incredible number of Sentinels (the funny-looking octopus machines from the first film) to dig through to the city and wipe out this last bastion of human resistance. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is against this move, as he believes that it is only through the prophecy of The One coming that the machines will be overthrown. Problem. Not everyone believes in this little prophecy. To make matters worse for those who do, no one seems to know what course of action to take now that The One has been found. Not even Neo (Keanu Reeves), The One himself, knows what he's supposed to do. They need to talk to the Oracle (Gloria Foster), the source of wisdom from the original. So they're searching for her. They've looked everywhere but Delphi and she's not to be found. Until they find her, our heroes are stuck in the dark.

     Keanu Reeves returns as Neo to show the world that there isn't an actor alive who can say "Whoa" like he can. At the end of the last film it became clear that he was indeed The One of the prophecy and seems to have to ability to rewrite the code of the Matrix as he sees fit. In this film, it is clear that, although he is all-powerful he is not all-knowing. Indeed, he has not even taken on a leadership position and is still under the wing of his mentor, Morpheus. Say what you will of Keanu's acting range, but once again he shows here that he is very capable when in the correct element. Let's face it. This isn't Shakespeare (although we've seen how "good" he can be at that) but in this I found him to be very good. The main thing required of our heroes in this film is coolness. Keanu gives us the coolness that a hero is to have and yet is vulnerable when he needs to be.

     Laurence Fishburne is back as the larger than life Morpheus. He can still enter a room and produce awe in his peers. He's a butt-kicking mystic whose total faith in the prophecy may be his ultimate undoing.

     Carrie Ann Moss is also back as Trinity, the sexiest action star to ever grace the screen. Watching her I marvel that once upon a time the preferred role of female stars in adventure films was to cower in the corner and bite their knuckles out of fear. It seems clear to me that a butt-kicking woman is far more appealing and if she happens to be wearing black leather? Well! And for all those women who happen to be reading this. Don't worry, your boyfriend/husband loves you anyway. Trinity's role is that of a catalyst. Neo loves her and it is that love for her that will prove to be the focal point for the ultimate decisions that he makes. If anything, it is Trinity who suffers the most as a character, for her only function is to be the a catalyst.

     Even Agent Smith, the returning Hugo Weaving, seems to be playing a part in the overall design of the film. It appears that he is just a random virus, working independently of the Matrix and able to replicate at will thanks to Neo's actions in the previous film. Although he seems to be in this film because he was popular in the last one and only is there to provide a fight scene or two, I am going on faith that his role will be more defined and essential to the resolution to the plot in the next film.

     The action is for the most part very exciting particularly the fabulous, frenetic freeway chase that is the action centerpiece of the film. There is also a lot of Kung-Fu action which mainly revolves around Neo fighting agents, Neo fighting Smiths, Neo fighting the Admin. Assistant to the Oracle, and Neo fighting a group of "Yes" men for a rogue program with a French accent. The main problem is that the fight scenes, though visually exciting, go on too long and after the first or second fight it becomes clear that there is nothing too new to see. Also one wonders if Neo he can stop bullets in mid-flight and cause things to fly through the air to his hands, why doesn't he use this power to send the bullets back at his opponents or more interesting, grab the opponents and cause them to fly into each other.

     Matrix Reloaded stands as one of the few action films that I've seen that proves to be more intriguing on an intellectual level than on a visual level. It is loaded with themes and ideas about the nature of man, the universe, levels of existence, free will, and destiny. Almost every character plays a different role in representing some type of existence or point of view. It raises more questions than it answers and one assumes that these will be answered in the last film (coming this fall to a theater near you!). Who is Neo really? Does he have free will? Can he control his own destiny? Who really controls the Matrix? Who is the Oracle really? What is the truth of the Prophecy? Why does Morpheus have a cheesy speech? Why does the last human city of Zion look like a great big Rave? These are important questions. It's packed with references to history, literature, and the great myths of man. 

     Is it a perfect movie? Not at all. It's riddled with slow pacing, clunky dialogue, and may sink if the interesting ideas that it raised are not satisfactorily dealt with when the third film comes out this fall.

     But, in the end, The Matrix Reloaded is something that is largely absent from movies today: compelling science fiction. It produced discussion and analysis among my friends that I haven't done since Babylon 5 was on the air. Any film that can do that I have to recommend.

Must go and Reload it.

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