The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Posted in Reviews by - May 26, 2014
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Filmed back-to-back with the second sequel, Revolutions, and with a combined budget of $300 million, this high-concept follow-up is like looking at the first film through a magnifying glass, or some of those code-seeking sunglasses they’re all wearing. We get to see the widely heralded Zion in all its glory – a cavernous, underground, industrial depot complete with high-tech machinery and thousands of extras. For the uninitiated, Zion is the home of the last remaining humans who have escaped the digital confines of the Matrix and live in fearful seclusion near the Earth’s core, and the location acts as the main centrepiece for this ongoing saga. The sentinels are digging, you see, and soon they will destroy Zion and the rest of humanity along with it – unless the superior Neo can stop them. He has been upgraded with healing capabilities, kung fu powers and speedy flying skills which means he is practically indestructible – which does slightly put a dampener on most of the film’s extravagant set-pieces. When the marvellously deadpan Agent Smith (Weaving) returns from the dead after figuring out a way of cloning himself, we see an especially over-the-top, computer-generated marathon brawl involving thousands of Agent Smiths all bundling on top of an invincible Neo. There is absolutely no sense of jeopardy – and it goes on a bit too. Yuen Woo-ping’s choreography still shines in a weapons-based group battle, a brief encounter with a kung fu oracle played by Collin Chou (a role first offered to Jet Li), and a spectacular highway chase. The bullet-time sequences are back, plus the John Woo-style slow motion, the leather-clad kick-ass Carrie-Anne Moss, the heavy metal soundtrack, and all the other tropes which now look like cliches following the deluge of references and spin-offs that followed the first film. So, it’s not nearly as good as the original, but then that was to be expected – and don’t worry too much about following the plot, all will be revealed (sort of) in the third chapter.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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