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Philosophical action! I'm gonna tell you the meaning of life and then kick your ass! And you'll know how serious I am because the expression on my face never changes! Got that, punk?
THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, the third installment in the Matrix storyline, was written and directed once again by Andy and Larry Wachowski (THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX RELOADED). It picks up moments after RELOADED left off, with Neo (Keanu Reeves: DRACULA, JOHNNY MNEMONIC, THE MATRIX, THE WATCHER, THE MATRIX RELOADED) in a coma after having used his mysterious powers to disable attacking robot sentinels. The problem is he's only supposed to have these powers while inside the Matrix and yet we saw him use them in the "real" world.
Also in a coma is Bane (Ian Bliss: BOUND, THE MATRIX RELOADED), a minor character who betrayed the group in the last film because he's "infected" with the Smith virus. Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving: THE MATRIX movies, THE LORD OF THE RINGS movies) is a renegade program in the machine world who has learned to duplicate himself by taking over other programs. He's one of several threats facing Neo and the last remaining free humans in the underground city of Zion.
All the other major characters are here, including Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, EVENT HORIZON, THE MATRIX movies), Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith: TALES FROM THE CRYPT: THE DEMON KNIGHT, THE MATRIX RELOADED, SCREAM 2) and Neo's true love, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss: THE MATRIX movies, MEMENTO). They have to rescue Neo from his coma, which is not a coma. In fact his mind is still in the Matrix even though he's not "jacked in" (connected by a wire to the brain), something that'd be fatal for anyone else.
Rescuing Neo is just one of several things on the good guys' to do list. There is also the matter of the millions of robot monsters that are tunneling their way down to Zion and will breach the outer defenses in less than 24 hours. Everyone is focused on how to win that hopeless battle, but Neo wants to follow a different path. He goes to see the Oracle (as do several others). Actress Gloria Foster played the Oracle in the last two movies, but she died last year. Mary Alice plays the role here and does a great job but I missed the edge of sardonic humor Gloria Foster gave to the character.
The kung fu special effects are present but sparse compared to the previous films.
Most of the CGI is reserved for the huge battle between the forces of
Zion and the invading robots. It was pretty cool but the logical part
of my mind kept popping up with questions like, "If the machines
just want to kill all the people, why not nuke Zion? Once they've
drilled down to it a single H-bomb would do the trick."
The robotic walkers that Zion's soldiers use are like armed versions of the robot loader that Ripley used in ALIENS to fight off the Alien Queen. Perhaps what was well portrayed in ALIENS as a futuristic cargo mover wasn't the best inspiration for a piece of military hardware. The soldiers are essentially unprotected so all you'd have to do to disable the robots is shoot the human driving it.
Logic aside, you will enjoy the battle sequence. It's by far the most intense part of the movie. The rest has its ups and downs and mixes in a lot of philosophy which can be good or bad depending on how you feel about that kind of thing. I mostly like it, except when wise elders answer every damn question with a parable of some kind. Yoda was far more direct than the Oracle, and that's saying something. It got a little exasperating at times.
But what's never exasperating is a
Continued at THE SCIENCE MOMENT: MATRIX REVOLUTIONS
I must mention one more exasperation: Ian Bliss, the actor who plays Bane, does a wonderful Agent Smith impression. Once he wakes from his coma, completely transformed mentally into one more copy of Agent Smith, he starts talking like him in that weird but cool over-pronunciation of every word that Hugo Weaving does. So in other words it's incredibly obvious that this guy is channeling Agent Smith. It's obvious to everyone in the audience but Neo takes FOREVER to get it. Bane keeps saying things like, "You don't recognize me, Mr. Anderson?", giving Neo every possible hint until you want to scream at the screen, "It's Smith you moron! How stupid are you?"
It would be a mistake to think of THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS as the "conclusion" of the Matrix saga. I don't know if the Wachowski brothers plan to keep going but there is more a "the end of this chapter" rather than a "the end of the story" feel to this movie. There are interesting characters, cool effects, heroic battles and terrible villains. There are also still a lot of unanswered questions*. Adding it all up results in three shriek girls. I wish it was more, but here we are.
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