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THE MATRIX: RELOADED

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

Review by Noel Wood

Okay, first things first: A Spoiler.

TRINITY FUCKING DIES AT THE END OF THE MATRIX: RELOADED.

Let that clear it all up, because I'm sick and tired of the lifeless fanboys whining that it happens after some websites posted the spoiler. IT DOES, and that's really not important. The real big spoiler were to be if I told you what happens DIRECTLY FUCKING AFTERWARD, but if you've seen the first one, you probably already know.

If you can make it that far. Because, despite the 3 and a half stars Roger fucking Ebert gave it, despite the 8.1/10 rating it currently has on the IMDB, THE MATRIX: RELOADED is the biggest piece of shit I've seen in forever. And I mean forever.

Let's recap the movie, in time segments. the times, of course, are estimates, because, well, while I'm a dork, I'm not that much of a dork.

00:00:01 - 00:30:00: This period of the movie consists of Trinity and Neo looking for a place to have sex. Really. It's like something out of an 80's teen sex comedy, except that even the lowest-budget of those could find a more attractive woman than Carrie-Anne Moss. To quote our good friend JR Gast, occasional contributor to the site, "Upon seeing The Matrix Reloaded II The Wrath Of Khan The Sequel, or whatever it was called, I concluded that Carrie Ann Moss is pretty good looking, for a man."

In the background, we have some other things going on, with some guys dressed up like Star Trek characters meet Zen Buddhists, and Morpheus and some old white dude give a pep talk to the freed people.

Begin Matrix drinking game #1: Take a sip every time Morpheus says the word "Prophecy".

00:30:01 - 00:35:00: This scene, which happens while Neo and Trinity finally get it on, is basically a rave. Crossed with the Ewok celebration.

00:35:01 - 00:50:00: In this scene, KeaNeo speaks to the Oracle for the first time since the last movie. And he keeps talking. And it keeps dragging. And my girlfriend falls asleep for the first time in the movie. Seriously, at this point I glanced down at my watch and realized we weren't even close to an hour in and freaked out knowing that this movie was well over two hours long.

00:50:01 - 01:05:00: Now, almost an hour in, the action finally begins, right? Here comes Agent Smith. And another Agent Smith. and another and another and they all try to turn KeaNeo into yet another Agent Smith. And then he gets kinda upset and starts kicking all their asses so even MORE Agent smiths arrive and he whips out the exact same kung-fu moves he's used thirty thousand times before to defeat them. Now, if I were compiling a list of good things about THE MATRIX: RELOADED before I'd seen it, it would begin as follows:

1. More Hugo Weaving.

But if I were compiling a similair list of things that sucked about the same movie after seeing it, it'd begin as follows:

1. More Hugo Weaving.

Because, well, frankly, this scene sucks. It goes on way too long and there's only like one stunt special effect that even popped my crowd and was remotely original, and it was in the fucking trailers.

01:05:01 - 01:15:00: Okay, now this is where it's supposed to get good, right? KeaNeo and Trinity and Morpheus go talk to a guy who likes to curse in French and makes women have orgasms with cake and has a hot wife named Persephone. He has cool-looking twin sidekicks that have white dreadlocks and turn into demon thingies. He guards the keymaker, who is a pretty well-done character. His wife betrays him. This part starts being kind of cool. It's like, hey, the movie's over half over, let's start making it halfway decent now.

Begin Matrix drinking game #2: Take a sip every time the bad guy says the word "cause".

Oh, and my favorite moment of the entire movie, which had nothing at all to do with the movie at all, came around this point, as some dumbfuck who neglected to turn his or her cell phone off serenades the theater with "The Entertainer" and some guy behind me yelled "Pick up your goddamn phone already!".

01:15:01 - 01:35:00: Cue the longest car chase scene ever. And while it's pretty cool at first, I guess still having some cool points left from the previous segment, the fact that it goes on for way too long starts to put it back in the shitter that still contains the first half of the movie. Oh, pay attention to the cars in the scene: Besides the Mack Trucks and the Ducati bikes, every single car and truck on the road is made by General Motors. Man, must be some kind of world those Matrix architect people came up with, when they can't get Chrysler or Ford to give them any sponsorship. Oh, the one really cool thing about this scene is that it contains a really long stretch without KeaNeo. Definitely a plus.

01:35:01 - 02:10:00: We prepare for the film's exciting climax and the DEATH OF (spoiler) TRINITY scene and the other stuff that actually is some kind of spoiler for those of you still brave enough to see this piece of shit film after I've said all this about it. Oh,and KeaNeo meets a guy named The Architect who looks frighteningly like Colonel Sanders.

Begin Matrix drinking game #3: Take a sip every time the Architect says "anomaly". Take a shot every time he says "ergo".

01:35:01 - 02:10:00: The now-infamous "Cliffhanger" ending (which got a collective groan from my theater) and credits, but you probably don't want a description of them. good thing, too, because I was too busy laughing my balls off at what was more than likely the funniest comedy I've seen in ages.

Now, longtime readers of this site know that I've never been the biggest fan of THE MATRIX. I mean, I didn't hate it (even going so far as to mention its defense in my Patrick Swayze" article), I just didn't get the people talking like it was some big philosophical masterpiece and/or the second coming of STAR WARS. It was mindless sci-fi nonsense. It looked neat and had some groundbreaking special effects, and rightfully won shitloads of technical oscars for it. But I wasn't really that interested in a sequel, and really thought the previews for it looked pretty blah.

Certainly, it's a pretty film. I mean, don't get me wrong. Sure, I am so goldanged sick of the kung fu nonsense that I could cry, but the shit blowing up looks cool. The scene where the two trucks ram into each other and Morpheus and whatever agent go flying in slow motion is breathtaking. Sure, the effects may be a bit overblown, but that's the real reason why anyone goes to see a MATRIX movie. If anyone tells you they go for the philospohical overtones, call their bluff. They're either lying or too stupid to realize that a puddle on the sidewalk is deeper than the symbolism here. People go to watch the 'splosions. Or to catch a glimpse of Monica Bellucci's cleavage. End of story.

I'm sure the Wachowskis has script doctors out the ass working on this thing, so how can the dialogue be this bad? I mean, I can forgive some of the stuff in STAR WARS, because it's fucking STAR WARS. This is almost criminal, bound and gagged with cliches and characters repeating the same words over and over again like a high school kid who just learned a new vocabulary term and wants to sound smart by using it every chance he gets. I cringed easily a dozen times at bad dialogue.

And the acting. Whoa, the acting. I mean, we really can't come to expect that much from Keanu Reeves, but this is quite honestly one of the most painful performances I've ever had the displeasure of witnessing. But I remember way back in the day, good ol' Larry Fishburne was an actor. Maybe it was the horrible script he was being forced to regurgitate, but I wanted to punch the guy in the mouth every time he opened it. Sure, Hugo Weaving does well with what he has, but what does he have? Agent Smith has become a self-parody of the slick villain from the first one. And really, as a side note, why did he even need to be there? There was the French dude and his albino rastafarian sidekick, Agent Smith was merely an annoyance in the end.

Oh, and I hear Jada Pinkett's in this movie, but I must have blinked, because I think I missed her. Good thing she signed on for this thing, so she could be shoved into the background as some undeveloped long lost love for the first half of the movie and then get used at one single crucial moment in the film and then have the writers forget her character exists yet again.

I had honestly forgotten a lot about the first MATRIX film before I saw this one. As I watched, certain elements from the first film came back to me. For instance, THE MATRIX required a sequel about as much as THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT did. It had closure. In a nutshell, THE MATRIX: RELOADED's entire existence is dubious. While the first one was a basic story of good and evil masked with lots of special effects and The Idiot's Guide to Western Philosophy, this one is lots and lots of convoluted crap masked with even specialer special effects and The Unabridged Idiot's Guide to Western Philosophy.

I would say skip it, but it really has to be experienced. I mean, sadly, it's going to make more money than X2, so you might as well see it for the water cooler conversations.

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