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2003, dir. Andy & Larry Wachowski
138 min. Rated R.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Review by Chad Shonk


"Talkie, talkie. No more talkie. You got a lighter in here?" - BILLY MADISON

First thing's first. I do not believe that our good buddy Noel here is the proper person to review The Matrix: Reloaded. Don't get me wrong. I love the goofy bastard like a brother, but I knew he wouldn't like this movie. We all knew he wouldn't like this movie. He didn't like the first one. And, in the four years it's been since, it seems that he has pretty much grown to hate it. So, while it's fun to read his near-homicidal ramblings about the latest film, he's not the most reliable of critics when it comes to this. So I'm here to present another point of view.

But don't worry. The movie still sucks.

But I'm going to tell you why it sucks from the point of view of someone who liked the first film. I didn't LOVE it, so I'm not going to become an apologist for the new one. I didn't HATE it, so I didn't go into the theater that night with an axe to grind. I LIKED it, was mildly looking forward to the next chapter, and was hoping to see a really good movie. After X2, I once again believed in the idea that a sequel could surpass the original, and, so, I went in, fingers crossed, looking to at least have a good time.

I disagree with our gracious webmaster on two points.

One: That the first movie was mindless action. I'll be the first one to agree that the Wach. brothers think they're smarter than they really are. That is the major flaw of the entire series. But I thought the original Matrix was a well done, old-fashioned, by the numbers, well thought out, Science Fiction film. On top of that, add thinly veiled Christ figure stuff to Plato's Parable of the Cave to Alice in Wonderland references. Plus, as gravy, some great masturbatory action and groundbreaking special effects. I think it's a good film. Not a great film. A good film.

Two: I think the original was DYING for a sequel. I thought the end of the first Matrix was a perfect set-up for future films and stories.

Therein, lies my biggest problem with this film: they made the wrong sequel.

More on that in a minute.

Noel has already hit on many of the faults of this film, so I'm going to look at some of the bigger picture stuff that bugged the fuck out of me.

1. The structure. The Matrix: Reloaded is structured like a video game. Maybe this comes from the fact that while they were writing and shooting two movies, they were also writing and shooting their multi-platform video game (as well as the Animatrix films). Spreading yourselves thin a little bit? George Lucas has been doing this multi-media-onslaught thing for a lot longer than these guys have, and he still only does one film at a time, and has someone else do the video games and other products. I simply think the Wach brothers were just doing way too much at once. So many things, in fact, they weren't able to make any of them worth a damn.

But I digress.

See, the structure of the Matrix: Reloaded, can be summed up thusly. Our heroes go to see someone. That person talks a lot (and boy do they, more on that later.) At the end of the conversation, they are told that the next thing they must do is go see someone else. They do. But, before they get there, there must be a fight. Like the boss of the level. Like in Zelda or something. Then they get to the next talkie-talkie guy and the whole fucking thing repeats itself. In order to talk to the oracle, Neo must fight Un-named Asian dude. She tells him to go see Frenchy. At Frenchy's, another fight, and, oooh, ahhh, a chase scene. They meet the Keymaker (The only time I got excited in the movie was when I thought we'd be seeing a cameo from Rick "The Keymaster" Moranis, but then I realized I heard it wrong.). Keymaker says, you must go to this room. BUT, before you get to room, you must fight the boss of this level. It plays like a bad video game. And worse, that's the entire plot! That's the structure of the film!!!!

2. Yak, Yak, Yak. I mean, will these people just shut the fuck up? And I don't mean, "Shut up and shoot something," I mean "Shut up and DO something." The first one had a lot of talking, but, at least I got the impression that we were learning something new about the world of the film. In Reloaded, NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING. The Oracle talks for at least six hours before finally telling Neo about the Keymaster.I mean Gatekeeper.I mean Keymaker. Frenchy fuck dude gives us a nine hour lecture on "Causality." Gee. Only nine hours? On such a complex subject? FOR FUCK'S SAKE, FROG BOY, I UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF CAUSE AND EFFECT. YOU'RE GONNA MAKE ME SIT THROUGH THIS, AND, IN A SCENE OF HORRIBLE MISCALCULATION, THE CAKE-ORGASM-CROTCH EXPLOSION SCENE, JUST TO TELL OUR HEROES "NO"? I mean, he gives no new info that we care about. At least in a video game you can press a button or hit the space bar to skip over all the inane talking. He just talks and talks and talks. And what about Morpheus? FUCK ME, I mean, well, that leads us to the next point, brought to you by the number.

3. Ike Turner is a friend of mine, and you, sir, are no Ike Turner. So Keanu is bad. No surprise there. Hugo Weaving is wooden. You can bet your ring of power he is. And I really missed Joey Pants. Yes, I did. But Larry Fishbourne sucks monkey balls in this movie. Sucks monkey balls in a way they were never meant to be sucked. In a wrong way. A strange way. An evil way.

Boy is he bad in this.

If you want evidence, watch his "rousing" speech to the people of Zion. What character is he playing? He sure ain't playing Morpheus. He seems like he's reading it off the teleprompter, badly, and maybe playing it as a gay man. I wasn't quite sure what he was going for, but it was wrong wrong wrong. When Brando did it in the Freshman, it was funny, you know, making fun of your classic character. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO IT IN THE SEQUEL. Oh, and, I guess I'll be the one to say it. Fish, my friend. You are getting paid millions and millions to star in one of the most anticipated films of your career.DROP THE FUCKING BABY-FAT. Hire a trainer. Do some cardio! The truth is out.Morpheus has no chin! Morpheus has no chin!

3.5. Just a note. The Oracle. The Prophecy. The One. These are tools used by people who do not know how to tell a real story. I'm just sayin'.

4. Have you ever witnessed more boring fight scenes in your life? I will submit by saying the car chase was cool, especially the money shot, and some of the Neo vs. a billion Hugo Weavings was kinda neat. But the kung-fu was so fucking boring. To me, it felt like two little black girls playing double dutch, the slaps and blocks and kicks were so choreographed. So much action and no excitement! How is that possible? The worst thing is, I never felt like any of the fights had anything at stake. They were bloodless, balless, soulless, lifeless. With the exception of Trinity's fight at the end, I never felt danger for anyone. Which leads me to my final big point:

5. Why does Neo need to do kung-fu in the first place? Didn't we see him transcend at the end of the first film? He jumps into a fucking agent and de-programs him. At the end of the original film, Neo is enlightened. He has surpassed the physical plane, and is ready to start the kick-ass liberation of human kind. He says so in his now-classic phone call at the end of the first film. We all saw that moment as him challenging the Matrix, saying, that's it motherfucker. It's coming down. Now. Where was that in this movie? We wait four years, pay ten dollars, wait in line a few hours, and we find out that Neo has been sitting on his ass, waiting for the fucking Oracle to call? FUCK THAT!!! Get out there and liberate, Mr. Chosen One. You told us you were gonna. You big fucking liar. You shouldn't have to do Kung-fu! You are THE ONE, you bank-robbin', long-boardin', excellent adventure-havin', dracula-fightin', cloud walkin', trenchcoat-wearin' stud of a man, you! Why are you playing paddy-cake with Marvin Acme when you should be walking up to the Pharaoh and screaming "Let my People Go, dude!"

I'm a fan of the first Matrix. That is why I hated this movie so much. I feel it lived up to 0% of the potential of the first. This was nothing more than a wasted opportunity. Oh, and a wasted chunk of my life.

Oh, and, just because I couldn't find a place to say it before, I must make a joke using the word "whoa." And there I just did.

There are two camps of people defending this movie. Let me counter your arguments are eloquently as I can.

"You just don't get it."

Answer - "I get it! I get it, motherfucker. The problem is, "it' sucks! I took Philosophy 101 in College. But this ain't a smart movie. So, FUCK OFF."

"All will make sense when you see the third one."

Answer - "I paid ten dollars to see THIS FILM. AND IT SUCKED. I don't want the next film to apologize for it. IF I even see it. (I will, of course, because I see everything.) But I should be able to enjoy THIS FILM, as well as care what happens next. See the BACK TO THE FUTURE series on how to do this right. So FUCK OFF.

This is the end of my review. I'd be really interested to hear Bobby's comments on the film, because I know he was looking forward to it the most.

To sum up. I liked the first movie a lot. So if you don't take Noel's word for it, take mine. The sequel sucks. They dropped the ball. The emperor has no clothes. And, more than that, MORPHEUS HAS NO CHIN!

Now, let's see, what movie will disappoint me next? Oh, yeah. The one about the big green guy.


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