STARRING: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, Gloria Foster, Jada Pinkett Smith, Nona Gaye, Harry Lennix, Harold Perrineau, Monica Bellucci

2003, 138 Minutes, Directed by: Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski

The Matrix Overloaded would be a better title . . .

Everything the first Matrix movie did back in 1999, this much-anticipated sequel tries to do more of and better than.

Inventive computer-generated fight scenes featuring lots of slow motion? Check. Extensive action sequences? Check. Angsty nü metal songs? Check. Pseudo-philosophical ramblings and over-important dialogue? Check, alas.

The Matrix Reloaded suffers to a degree from the same self-important portentousness and bloatedness that nearly sank the first Lord of the Rings installment. However, some extensive and rather impressive action set pieces save Matrix Reloaded; the best of them being a car chase that practically reinvents the rules of that old cinematic cliché. This is a car chase to rank with the best of them: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Road Warrior, French Connection and Bullitt.

Naysayers be damned, but despite its faults The Matrix Reloaded is still fun. I sat through many scenes with a goofy grin that no doubt would have annoyed my fellow cinemagoers. Yes, some of the fight scenes are overlong. But I loved them nonetheless, not because I still marvel at the technical prowess behind making them happen, but because they can still think up some new kung fu moves in the first place! Their sheer inventiveness – they’re like some strangely choreographed dance sequence – still amazes me.

"It feels as if you're stuck in Philosophy 101 again!"

The naysayers are right about many things about this movie.

Yes, it is overlong. Some sequences (like a superfluous futuristic rave!) could simply have been dropped, while others could have been slightly shortened. The plot and dialogue are too clever by half and if it feels as if you’re stuck in Philosophy 101 class again - you are not alone!

Some bits are difficult to follow, maybe perhaps because of plot holes and inconsistencies. For somebody who could fly, why stick to old-fashioned kung fu fighting? Why not some heat vision or . . . oh, that would be a different movie then, but you get my drift. (Who else out there was thinking about how the Wachowski brothers would be ideal candidates for any new Superman movie?)

However, where the naysayers get it wrong is by insisting that Matrix Reloaded is an unworthy sequel to the original. If you are a fan of the original movie, then you will like this one. After all, it offers more of the same, and while its impact isn’t the same as the original one should keep in mind that the 1999 movie had the shock of the new on its side. Since then, the film’s concepts have been either mercilessly ripped off (The One, Charlie’s Angels) or parodied (Scary Movie, Shrek, etc.)

Much like the recent X2 and Two Towers, Matrix Reloaded jumps right into the action without any explanation. If you haven’t seen the original film, you must be the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen it. Just kidding: if you haven’t seen the first movie, there’s no point to seeing this sequel. Checking out the original movie on DVD the evening before might also be a good idea. Without giving too much away, there are some unexpected plot twists in store and the movie ends abruptly with “To be concluded” flashing across the screen. (When last did you experience this? Or an old-fashioned “The End” for that matter?)

Followed by a bewildering and disappointing sequel The Matrix Revolutions, also in 2003.



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