Reviewed by: Travis Carl
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett-Smith | Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski | Produced by: Joel Silver | Written by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski | Distributor: Warner Brothers
Perhaps the Wachowski Brothers should have titled the second film in their trilogy, “The Matrix: Overloaded” as this movie takes all the positive elements of the first and reuses them to absolute excess. And in this case, more is definitely not better. Lampooning the philosophical doublespeak that runs rampant through the film, I heard a comedian tell his host to ask him what “The Matrix: Reloaded” was like…
Host: Okay what was it like?
Comedian: Look for the question within yourself and you shall know what it was like.
That summed it up pretty well. The intriguing mystery that drew us into the first “Matrix” kicks into high gear, leaving us lost in the program and searching for a solid plot point to hold on to. Similarly, since watching Neo fight one Agent Smith looked cool the first time around, this time he fights 50 Agent Smiths. Of course, if you get bored watching such visually stunning, but incredibly long action sequences, they’ve also thrown in one abjectly offensive orgy to entertain you. In a scene that is completely irrelevant, ridiculous and, frankly, not at all sexy, the screenwriters manage to undermine their hero and cheapen their film all at the same time. It really is too bad; whereas the first movie was a great sci-fi flick to discuss with teens, I wouldn’t recommend taking them—especially boys—to this one.
All that is not to say the film isn’t entertaining. As we cruise into the underground world of Zion—the last human city—we are treated to a cinematic landscape that fires the imagination in a way not experienced since the first “Star Wars” trilogy. Keanu Reeves is back as Neo, the pretty but constantly-confused hacker who is hailed as a savior by a small group of humans who have unplugged from the Matrix. The Matrix, in case you’ve forgotten, is a simulated-reality created by machines to enslave mankind so they can harvest the energy from their comatose human bodies. At this point in the trilogy, the final war to decide Zion’s fate is about to take place, and our heroes make a desperate journey into the Matrix to solicit the advice of the Oracle before heading into battle.
For those who enjoyed the Christian symbolism of the first film, prepare to be disappointed. Though the spiritual parallels (such as free will versus predestination and the way materialism blinds us to reality) are revisited, this Messiah bears no resemblance to our own. Besides his sexual relationship with Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss), he accomplishes all of his missions through brute force and seems swayed by any mystical wind blowing his way. Don’t search too hard to find Scripture here—there’s just as much Hinduism and Buddhism running through this story as there is Christianity. A couple other problems include some very obvious computer-generated images (for goodness sake, in some scenes the CGI Keanu Reeves only resembles the real one in that he has light skin and dark hair) and the film poses many questions it doesn’t even begin to answer. Still, they’ve definitely got our attention. Let’s just hope the Wachowski Brothers find the answers to our questions and work out the bugs in the system before releasing The Matrix 3.0.
Violence: Heavy to extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy