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The Matrix Reloaded

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  • Noel Vera
    The Matrix O erloaded (Please note: plot discussed in close detail) I never thought the original Matrix was the hottest thing since pancakes; this sequel
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2003
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      The Matrix O'erloaded

      (Please note: plot discussed in close detail)

      I never thought the original "Matrix" was the hottest thing since
      pancakes; this sequel isn't much better, only the flaws are clearer
      to see. Reeves, Fishburne and Carrie Ann Moss don't have the
      flexibility and the Wachowski brothers' camera doesn't have the
      fluidity to keep up with Yuen Woo Ping's fight choreography; the
      stylistic tics--that 'bullet time' effect and the slow motion--are
      merely that; stylistic tics (and now tiresomely familiar from
      overuse). When Hong Kong action filmmakers use slow motion, it's to
      make a difficult bit of motion easier to follow, and, above all, to
      give the action a rhythm--action, pause; action pause. When the
      Wachowskis do it, it's often to preen: "Look ma! No wires!" The
      brothers use mainly two kinds of camera angles in an action
      sequence: sideways and from above. Filmmakers like John Woo, Tsui
      Hark, even Yuen himself (who's an accomplished action filmmaker--
      "Drunken Master," "Iron Monkey") can teach these two a thing or two
      about shooting fight scenes properly.

      Beyond that, there's all the talk. Fishburne has his share of long
      speeches, same with someone called The Architect. Gloria Foster was
      amusing the first time she appeared, as a dowdy old lady; now that
      we know she's a dowdy lady with special powers, the charm's gone.

      At least Fishburne has presence; same with Hugo Weaving as Agent
      Smith (perhaps the funniest moment in the picture for me was when
      Reeves went 'Superman' on all those Agent Smiths, leaving them
      staring malignantly at each other, making you wonder what they'd do
      next--fight each other, or maybe play a kick-ass version of
      badminton?).

      Zion needed more introducing; same with all these new characters.
      The charm of the original Matrix--what little it had, anyway--was
      the conceit that Reeves was an ordinary geek trapped in a dreary,
      ordinary world, and that this was actually a hideous fantasy foisted
      on him (and the rest of us) by some vast, evil intelligence; maybe
      I'm less than enchanted since Philip Dick has been giving us endless
      variations of the same paranoid nightmare (but more intense, more
      inventive) since the '60s. Now that they introduce the new reality
      of the future, it has no emotional heft to it; Zion looks like an
      endless dance club in a giant cavern, only you don't see any
      drugs.

      That's it, except for this one scene late in the film, where the
      gorgeous Monica Belluci (wasted, as is the rest of the cast) demands
      that Reeves give her some of what she believes he's been giving
      Carrie Ann-Moss. Now that got a laugh out of me, because the key to
      Reeves' attraction, I believe, what makes him sexy at all, isn't his
      passion, but his passivity. What made him cool in the climax of the
      first "Matrix" was that he achieved a new level of passivity, a
      chance to be uber Zen and super cool. The Wachowski's have to cut
      to a closeup of the lips and some loud romantic music to indicate
      that anything sexy was going on.

      Oh, and the scene where Reeves tries to revive Ann-Moss looked
      amusingly like a digitized version of one of those 'psychic surgery'
      sessions Filipino faith healers pull on gullible foreigners.
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