Main cast: Keanu Reeves (Neo), Lawrence Fishburne (Morpheus), Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity), Harlod Perrineau (Link), Jada Pinkett Smith (Niobe), Gloria Foster (Oracle), Randall Duk Kim (The Keymaker), Monica Belluci (Persephone), Lambert Wilson (Merovingian), and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith)
Directors: Andy and Larry Wachowski
While I really enjoyed the first instalment, the simply titled The Matrix, the sequel is such a disappointment. Do Andy and Larry Wachowski ever care to stop and listen to the lines in this movie? Apparently somewhere in between the original movie and the sequel, the once hip Wachowski brothers have been rigorously studying the brilliant scriptwriting skills of the incomparable George Lucas. Ergo, the overuse of running sentences filled with meaningless paradoxes. Brilliant lines like "Some things have changed... and some things don't" and my favorite, "I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I have been waiting for you. You have many questions and although the process has altered your consciousness you remain irrevocably human, ergo some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question maybe the most pertinent you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant." I dare anyone to listen to the Architect for more than five seconds without wanting to commit murder or at least a few hundred bitchslaps.
The Matrix Reloaded continues from where The Matrix left off. If you haven't watched the first movie, chances are you won't understand a thing in this movie. I won't even bother to try to enlighten newbies in this review. Just go watch the original movie. Unlike this one, it's worth the time and money.
Keanu Reeves, full no-emote mode on, is Neo, the Monotone Prophet With Only One Expression destined to save the world from the robots and the programs that conquered us human beings. Now he's back, and while he's able to bounce off the ground and fly from Zurich to Munich without breaking a sweat, he's more concerned with having sex with Trinity.
The first half of the movie deals with Neo and his hangers-on Morpheus (who can really kick ass on his own right), Trinity, and the new pilot Link meeting other rebels, spend forty-five minutes in gratuitous fight scenes, searching for the Oracle, more fight scenes, before going home to Zion where we are all treated with a beautiful wet orgy sequence in a temple. That orgy sequence is really well-done and captures the hedonism of the ceremony beautifully. Alas, I have to listen to Morpheus' awkwardly scripted lousy evangelist act before we get to the sweaty erecty nipply hippy rubby fun. Also, interspersed with this scene is Neo and Trinity finally getting it on - and Keanu's orgasm face resembles that of a robot short-ciruiting. Which he probably is. Because Carrie-Anne Moss' Trinity is really one kick-ass babe, and a mere wimpy robot like Neo definitely can't take the heat.
Then the Oracle summons them, they learn that the Keymaster holds the secret to the destruction of the Matrix, but the Keymaster is held captive by the true star of this show, the really roguish Merovingian, who says that cursing in French is like rubbing one's ass with silk and who makes women orgasm with a purr of his voice (with the help of a chocolate cake, of course). His wife Persephone is there to provide fanservice to the fanboys in the audience.
Then we have another long fight scene, the best highway chase scene ever involving Morpheus and Trinity truly kicking asses like no tomorrow (memo to Wachowski: kill Neo, promote Morpheus and Trinity), and then, more fight scene, and the end. Until the next movie, that is.
Unlike, say, The Empire Strikes Back or Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, The Matrix Reloaded as a bridge between movies is a complete failure. It adds only a little to the mythology: Agent Smith is now a fast spreading cancer in the Matrix, and it will be interesting to see if he will be Neo's ally or friend. The twist to the Prophecy towards the end is good, but it comes out of nowhere and all the activities leading up to this moment are superfluous. If anything, this movie feels like a loosely stringed-together flashy sequences of exciting pyrotechnics. I come away from this movie remembering scenes, not the story.
I don't find this story as confusing as many claimed, despite having watched the movie only once, but I am disappointed that the Wachowskis' script is filled with long-winded jargons, high school phrasings, and really bad corny lines that rival the hokeyness in the new George Lucas Star Wars self-destruction saga. So many words, so little things said. Likewise, Trinity and Morpheus prove more than anything that they are the true heroes here. Neo is just a freaking wimp whose powers come to him by default, while Trinity and Morpheus work hard to get theirs. Since Neo is the most boring character in this movie (and Keanu Reeves' blockheaded acting doesn't help matters), I can't see why these two are so intent on following him.
It is also worth noting that this movie boasts a truly diverse cast of Asians, African Americans, Hispanics, as well as Caucasians. There are as many men and women of all races playing important roles in this movie, there is no "token minority" feel to the casting. George Lucas, in this aspect, could do well to study a page from the Wachowskis.
The choreography of the fight scenes of this series has since been copied, lampooned, and parodied in countless movies that came out after The Matrix, hence this movie's reliance on expensive and meticulously CGI-enhanced special effects to retain an edge over its imitators. But with the weak script, once, the parallels of the computers' mindwarp of human beings to any organized religion seems intriguing, now they are starting to come off like some half-baked delusions of grandeur. Unless the Wachowskis manage to engage the intellect instead of merely flipping the thesaurus and picking up the longest words to string a sentence together, this series is in danger of fizzling out into being nothing more than an expensive fireworks display.
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