The Matrix Revolutions
2 out of 5 stars
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The final chapter in the Matrix trilogy gets off to a slow start and only livens up a couple of times in its two-plus hours. But those action sequences are seriously impressive! Pity the rest of the film is so limp and vacuous. As we begin, Neo (Reeves) is in a coma, his mind in a train station limbo between the worlds of the matrix and the machines; while our intrepid warriors, led by Morpheus (Fishburne) and Niobe (Pinkett Smith), are regrouping. Meanwhile in the underground enclave of Zion, the residents are bracing for the machines to tunnel in ... and kill them all! Morpheus and Niobe must consult both the Oracle (Alice) and the Merovingian (Wilson) to rescue Neo, then the action splinters into four strands: As Morpheus, Niobe and crews head to rescue Zion; the fighters of Zion, led by the stubborn Lock (Lennix), prepare for the onslaught; the villainous Agent Smith (Weaving, channelling a demon-possessed Clint Eastwood) continues to bend the matrix for his own purposes; and Neo and his main squeeze Trinity (Moss) head above ground to confront the machines.

Yes it's an epic battle for survival! And the plot itself is good--much more in the quest-for-peace action genre than the earlier examination of identity and purpose. It's intriguing to have most of the film's action take place outside the matrix itself. But the Wachowskis take their universe even more seriously here than they did in the last film, if that's possible. The dialog is a curious mix of mind-numbing self-importance and jaw-dropping banality ("You did it!" ... "No, we did it."). There's virtually no humour at all; the only distractions are Smith's gleeful arrogance and Bellucci's heaving bossoms. All the over-serious talk about love, peace and karma is so shallow that it wears us down long before the first action scene kicks in. And that's so derivative that it almost feels like a parody--yet another gunfight in gravity-free, plaster-chipping, super slo-mo Wachowskiland.

Things do liven up as main characters are forced into corners, allowing for some decent acting (Pinkett Smith is the standout) and hilariously contrived plotting. Then about halfway in, the driller machines hit Zion and the film finally rockets out of the starting gate! This scene is a breathtaking stunner--both the massive effects and the character drama--that shifts levels as it goes, maintaining the excitement brilliantly until the next moody and muted stretch of fake philosophy, portentous pronouncements and extremely dragged-out death scenes. Finally we arrive at the moment we've been waiting for: The climactic Neo vs Smith battle, which seriously delivers on every conceivable front. It's like a do-or-die fight between two indestructible superheroes, and it looks absolutely amazing on screen. But two impressive sequences do not a movie make, and the endless stream of meaningless mumbo jumbo, phoney emotion and galling religious imagery conclude the saga on a seriously sour note. We feel like we've been force-fed a gigantic feast ... but everything tasted rancid. And we're still hungry.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 3.Nov.03

dir-scr The Wachowski Brothers
with Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Laurence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary Alice, Nona Gaye, Harold Perrineau Jr, Harry J Lennix, Clayton Watson, Collin Chou, Tanveer Atwal, Ian Bliss, Bruce Spence, Lambert Wilson, Monica Bellucci
release UK/US 5.Nov.03
Warners
03/US 2h09

Climactic showdown: Reeves confronts Weaving (above); Fishburne and Moss (below)

reeves moss fishburne
See also: THE MATRIX (1999)
THE ANIMATRIX (2003/DVD)
THE MATRIX RELOADED (2003)

everything that has a beginning has an end

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Matrix Revolutions The Matrix Revolutions The Matrix Revolutions MerrieBeth, Washington: 4 out of 5 stars "I loved the movie. I absolutely hated the ending; I felt it didn't close like it should have but I thought it was awesome. The actions were the best but all in all I think it was awesome, and I think the critics who keep on whining about it and saying it's crap need to get their heads examined because it's not, and most the movies they think are awesome suck!" (10.Nov.03)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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