Movie review

The Matrix Reloaded
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne,
Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Directors :
Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski

The Matrix ReloadedThe Matrix may not have been the best science fiction movie of all time, but it had moments that were truly awe-inspiring. Having had the pleasure of sitting through it again on a big screen just before catching The Matrix Reloaded, I can confirm that the outrageous lobby gunfight scene is still absolutely jaw dropping. Expectations were going to be sky-high for Reloaded, and even your usually jaded and cynical reviewer was buying into the hype for a change.
    Y'see, this was going to be something unique: Two sequels opening mere months apart, a videogame released at the same time as Reloaded and a series of animated shorts under the Animatrix banner to push every self-respecting fanboy into a quasi-religious fervour.

This multi-genre cross-pollination is marketing genius, no doubt about it, but it's also the cause of some of The Matrix Reloaded's many cracks. Who is this guy in the early scenes of the movie who thanks Keanu Reeves' Neo for saving his life? How come Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) and team can just walk right into a nuclear power plant to blow it up? Unfortunately the answers are elsewhere, and not in The Matrix Reloaded. Taken in isolation, it's a lesser film because of it.
    In fact early signs are that The Matrix Reloaded is going to be a bit of a turkey, because the first 40 minutes or so are yawn-inducing; introducing characters such as replacement Nebuchadnezzar pilot Link (Harold Perinneau) and the aforementioned Niobe - a former Morpheus conquest, so cue hammy sexual tension - just isn't enough to hold my interest, and the mythical city of Zion is a big cave . . .

It isn't until Neo takes on the split personalities of Agent Smith - Hugo Weaving is fabulous in the role once again - that things get moving. The plaza combat is frighteningly complex, and if you can suspend your disbelief of something so obviously computer generated, it is massively entertaining - particularly the agents' reaction to Neo's eventual escape. The fight has little impact on a minimal plot, but is one of The Matrix Reloaded's pivotal set-pieces.
    And from here on in it's set-piece fight after set-piece fight, with only minor breaks for nuggets of Matrix-patented pseudo-philosophy. Bad guys are wheeled on and dispatched in treacly chop socky style with alarming frequency; a cavalcade of stunning CGI work papering over the tenuous explanations of either who the hell they are or, in the case of the supposedly brick-hard agents, why they no longer hold any fear for the good guys.
    Don't get me wrong; The Matrix Reloaded is a good movie, and I'll be first in line for the upcoming The Matrix Revolutions. However there's no edgy Joey Pantoliano, there's no Neo going, "Whoa" and there are not enough guns or blood. It had to be said. Mr Wizard, get me the hell out of here . . .

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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