Sunday, August 03, 2003

The Matrix-Reloaded

By the time the events in The Matrix-Reloaded take place (which seems to be a few months after the end of The Matrix), Neo (Keanu Reaves) has freed his mind enough to acquire demi-god abilities – he does his “Superman stuff” a lot! While this would have made his fights against his enemies, namely The Agents of the Matrix, and a few others, highly one-sided, the creators of the movie (The Waschowski brothers) have cleverly designed all his fights to take place against multiple opponents. The most notable, and spectacular, of these is the sequence where Neo takes on one hundred copies of Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), a fight nicknamed The Burly Brawl. Yes, Smith is back and this time he has the ability to replicate himself, like a computer virus!

Also in these few months, the love between Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) and Neo has deepened to such an extent that they are not able to keep their hands of each other, ever! And if Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburn) appeared to be the all-knowing, universally respected figure in The Matrix for his knowledge of, and belief in, the prophesy made by The Oracle (the late Gloria Foster), the very same beliefs lead him to be treated as a madman by many at Zion, the last human city located near the core of the earth (This doesn’t prevent him from being allowed to make a fiery speech in the Zion temple, urging his fellow Zion-ites to show their defiance of the machines by, well, partying!). Notable among his skeptics is Commander Lock, commander of the defense forces of Zion, who is more concerned with the looming attack of 250,000 sentinel machines boring their way down to the city. Neo, meanwhile, is trying to find the path to the source of The Matrix, which according to the Oracle’s prophesy will end the human-machine war. He also keeps having visions of Trinity being killed.

These form the background for one of the most visually stunning movies of the year, the highlights of course being the fights with their dizzying martial arts, stunningly choreographed using the then (during The Matrix) revolutionary bullet-time strategy. There is also a breath-taking fourteen minute highway chase sequence, already being called the best of its kind ever. Also breath-taking (and ravishing and spectacular) is Monica Belluci who plays Persephone who guides the trio of Neo, Morpheus and Trinity on their way to The Keymaker, a program who can get them to the source of the matrix.

For the most part, however, Reloaded is like playing a video game in God mode: Neo is simply too powerful for his enemies, he hardly gets a scratch, well, only one scratch, during the whole movie and his ability to fly, however awesome it looks, is just one ability too many. And when it comes to performances, it is Moss who steals the show: her sleek and sexy Trinity is possibly even more appealing than Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft. Keanu Reaves seems unable to show any expression on his wooden face...in both worlds (there’s one rule even Neo couldn’t break)! Reloaded also has a couple of very silly scenes, the party at Zion being the worst offender. In spite of all these, Reloaded is undeniably ultra-cool, perhaps even more than the first movie, and will definitely live up to the expectations of its hard core fans. With its rather abrupt ending, it’ll also keep these fans on the edge of their seats till November, waiting for the third installation of the trilogy, The Matrix-Revolutions, to answer all the questions posed by Reloaded.

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