The Matrix Reloaded (2003) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

After the head-spinning sci-fi epic The Matrix, directors Andy & Lana Wachowski set the creative bar so impossibly high that expectations for a sequel couldn’t have possibly been met. The Matrix Reloaded is a glossy follow-up with all the bells and whistles that modern technology and loads of cash can buy. Unfortunately the script from the directing duo, is stilted and at times nearly incomprehensible. The story is straight forward but the dialogue runs circles around itself until the audience just gives up and waits for the next thrilling action set piece. There are a couple of doozies in the follow-up, including a brilliantly designed freeway chase sequence that serves as the film’s highpoint and centerpiece.

Picking up where the first film left off, Neo has now fully realized his potential as prophesied by ‘The Oracle’. Neo is a remarkable man able to accomplish feats unseen by other humans, while also bringing hope as the savior of a rebel fortress known as, Zion. The machines are aware of this hide-away and are making a military strike against the last vestige of the human race. While Neo has grown more powerful inside the virtual reality Matrix, he is haunted by horrifying visions that his love, Trinity, will be killed. Armed with new and revelatory information from the Oracle, Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus take the fight to the Matrix in hopes of saving humanity and ending their enslavement to the machines.

As with the original film, The Matrix Reload is graced with top-notch production design, fight choreography and special effects that push the envelope. However, this outing is far too self important which gives the whole endeavor a weight that diminishes the pure entertainment aspect. This second film in the planned trilogy isn’t given a definitive ending, the clumsy last few minutes lead directly into the set-up for part 3, aided by a title card reading: To be concluded. In stretching the material across 5 hours, the filmmakers are forced to stray into areas that serve only to fill time, not to propel the story to its natural conclusion.

I don’t want to be too hard on the film though either, there are wondrous sights and appealing new villains. I particularly liked the pair of twins that sport white suits and dreadlocks, also the rave in Zion cut against Neo and Trinity making love is a captivating sequence. As you can probably tell by reading, I’m split down the middle on the film. The action is worth the price of admission, but the heavy-handed script threatens to ruin the good-times at every turn.

Director: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

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