A large, heavyweight black vault sits in the middle of a room. The walls are made of 5ft thick concrete and red laser beams sway around its opening, scouring the floor, just waiting for someone to trigger the alarm. This is probably the place where the scripts for The Matrix Revolutions were kept. What I knew about the movie prior to seeing the final instalment would take up less than the back of a stamp, so with a large feeling of excitement, and admittedly a small division of doubt and worry, I took my seat . . .
The start of the film is a little slow to say the least; the blue and grey eye-staining surroundings of Captain Rowland's (David Roberts) ship makes for tedious viewing. But once Neo has found a way out of the seemingly inescapable train station between The Matrix and the real world, things start to pick up. What follows is one ridiculously long and expensive - but certainly engrossing - battle scene between man and machine.
While it is an above average piece of cinema, it seems the balance has been lost in certain aspects of the movie. While in The Matrix Reloaded there weren't enough guns and too much martial arts, this time it's completely the opposite way, tilted towards rat-a-tat-tat every time - excusable only if you look at Reloaded and Revolutions as one film broken in two, which they invariably are.
There is also a large abundance of trademark bullet-time sequences that arguably defined The Matrix. I can only remember one part during the entire film; but watching Neo's hang glide through individual droplets of rain in slow motion to connect with Agent Smith's scowling face is so stunning you have no choice but to forgive the Wachowski brothers.
In Reloaded we were introduced to Zion, this time around we are treated to the Machine City, as Neo travels on a less-than-safe mission with Trinity where he is asked to destroy Smith by the machines themselves.
The final showdown between Neo and Smith is certainly the most memorable part of The Matrix Revolutions. Thousands of black suit-clad Smith's line the street like a national parade of authority, and rain bounces off the tarmac from the despondent black sky as the anti-hero looks up: "Welcome back, Mr Anderson ... we missed you," he utters with his brilliant dead pan charm. It's a real fight this time, no interference from his personality-vacuumed clones; it's just one on one, bringing back a huge sense of nostalgia from the original. Oh yeah, and now Smith can fly too.
A film full of biblical references, mind overloading philosophy, blazing guns and a battle of continent sized proportions that will no doubt please Matrix fans and casual cinema goers alike.
Leaving the cinema, I actually felt disheartened, not at The Matrix Revolutions' slow start or lack of martial arts, but at the thought that this really is the end of an epic saga.
:: Graham Drummond