Action movie fans - believe the hype - seeing the fifteen minute freeway chase of special effects driven craziness from "The Matrix Reloaded" on the big screen is worth it, but at least forty minutes of "The Matrix" sequel could have been left on the cutting room floor.
It seems in Hollywood when a small feature film becomes a phenomenon, the studios lick their chops and pour money down the throat of its sequel, fattening it up for the prime feast of box office bank and licensing opportunities. Unfortunately when this happens, the raw energy of the original is smothered and any edge the story may have had gets smoothed out in executive conference rooms who add enough traditional cliché's to ensure that its as palatable for as wide an audience as possible. Such is the case with "The Matrix Reloaded".
The first "Matrix" movie released in 1999 took its audience on a mind warp that is nowhere to be found in its sequel replaced with obvious exposition and this ongoing prattle about how everything is meant to be.
Perhaps its because fans of the original already get the dual universe "Matrix" premise, and the initial thrill of having your perception played with is what's missing, but "The Matrix Reloaded" settles into a self parodying formula that let this fan down. And while it has its moments of rock-em sock-em fun, "the Matrix Reloaded" doesn't carry the fresh plot twist punches that made the original so engaging.
Besides the obvious man versus machine story similarities, "The Matrix" and "the Terminator" movies are a litmus test for each other. If you saw both "Terminator" movies and liked the second one, or even thought it was better than the first, then seeing this "Matrix" sequel will be fun for you. But if you're like me, and thought that despite some fun action sequences, "T2" was an over bloated pig compared to the lean and mean, edge of your seat thrill ride that the original provided, then this "Matrix" sequel will sit with you like a day old donut on hot summer day.
The cheesiest score music in recent memory is played throughout the film cramming the harder edge rock and techno soundtracks into an epic length credits medley allowing enough time to justify Dave Matthews having a "Matrix" themed MTV video and sell some CD units at retail.
Die-hard fans should be sure to stick it out till the very end as a trailer for the third and hopefully final "Matrix" movie is tacked on after the final credits scroll. But if you miss it, don't worry because you'll only have to wait until November when number 3 gets released and "the Matrix" takes another ten bucks from your wallet to go see. But man that freeway chase is cool!
For movie magazine this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 5/14/03
The Matrix Reloaded
USA - 2003