Movie Review By Alex Lau
"The Matrix" is an eye-catching sci-fi thriller, with special effects up the wazoo and an appealing cast featuring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie-Anne Moss.
But, anyone can spend $80 million and load up an eye-catching sci-fi thriller with cool effects. We've come to expect that almost anything can be done by computers, and "The Matrix" goes a long way in proving that right. The big question is, can it be smart, too?
The answer, thanks to the imaginative Wachowski brothers, is a qualified "yes". Andy and Larry Wachowski, who previously did "Bound", create a wild, futuristic, bleak, and usually confusing cyberpunk world where, in the great noir tradition, nothing is quite what it seems.
Most of the coolest scenes are not due to just the special effects, but rather the effects in combination with the martial arts fight choreography, by Hong Kong film veteran Yuen Wo-Ping.
I don't want to give much of the plot away, but suffice to say that there are references and homages to films like "Alice in Wonderland," "The Terminator," and "Total Recall," among others. Maybe I'm giving a little too much away here, but there's also a striking visual and thematic similarity to last year's "Dark City".
As usual, Reeves has the look, but you have to try to ignore the actual acting most of the time. Fishburne, on the other hand, pulls off both the look and the character. His ability to exude both power and calm lends a great deal of needed credibility to "The Matrix".
There are a few quibbles, including a less-than-satisfying ending, but "The Matrix" remains a solid, entertaining, and ever-so-slightly thought-provoking action flick. To quote Fishburne's character, no one can explain what the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself.
© 1999 - Alex Lau - Air Date: 03/31/99
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