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The Matrix Revolutions

01/12/2003. Contributed by Frank Ochieng

Buy The Matrix Revolutions in the USA - or Buy The Matrix Revolutions in the UK

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Franks asks: 'is The Matrix Revolutions the ideal finishing touch to an awestruck sci-fi film trilogy that captivated moviegoers since its hedonistic conception back in 1999?' The succinct answer: Hardly.

Warner Brothers 2003. Directed by: Andy and Larry Wachowski. Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Mary Alice, Harold Perrineau, Lambert Wilson

Well what a difference a few months make, right? It was merely a handful of months ago that the co-writing/co-directing tandem of the Wachowski Brothers unleashed upon giddy movie audiences the awesome spectacle that was the ultimate summer joyride in the flashy and frenzied The Matrix Reloaded.

So now with the fall arrival of the third and final installment of The Matrix Revolutions, die-hard fans can welcome in the conclusion of this glossy high-wire act accented by the mythical machinations of the fraternal filmmakers and their soaring energizing imaginations. The question still remains: is The Matrix Revolutions the ideal finishing touch to an awestruck sci-fi film trilogy that captivated moviegoers since its hedonistic conception back in 1999? The succinct answer: Hardly.

Matrix Revolutions Movie Review

The bottom line is that the Wachowskis have all but exhausted the unique novelty of their action-packed utopia where fists of fury and philosophizing came together so easily much like swallowing a familiar yet tasty tuna fish sandwich.

No doubt that the technological tactics behind the Matrix franchise was incredibly innovative and gave film fans a surge of moviemaking momentum rarely experienced in science fiction-oriented motion pictures. But with all the well deserving credit set aside in reference to the Wachowskis’ cinematic visual wonderment, they don’t leave much to the mindset with the hearty yet scatterbrained action sequences that are relentless in execution but oddly repetitive and tiring.

This needs to be coupled with the fact that the absurd storyline doesn’t bother to compliment any of the redundant slow motion kung fu fights or justify the soul-searching growth of our black leather clad and shade-wearing pouncing protagonist Neo. Simply put…The Matrix Revolutions goes through the same old overwrought motions and really doesn’t fulfill the expectations for a worthy final chapter that’s supposed to convincingly dot its I’s and cross its T’s.

Everything that was affiliated with The Matrix sensibilities had that distinctive coolness that defined the chaotic universe created by the ambitious cinema siblings. However, Revolutions doesn’t seem to invite the freshness and vigor that it once managed to ooze with effortless abundance. The previous two Matrix entries demonstrated a sturdy showcase that was controlled by the passionate barrage of special effects and the funky undercurrent of religious rhetoric that proudly painted this supercharged and surreal movie saga.

However, the Wachowskis now decide to inexplicably take the proceedings down a notch by bogging Revolutions with distracting corny dialogue, copycat technical touches that now appear somewhat empty-minded and aimlessly excessive plus the erratic pacing and plotting of the excitable choppy story. All in all, The Matrix Revolutions spoils its hyped built-in “main event” status by coughing up an elaborate but unfulfilling ending to one of sci-fi’s prominently engaging and transfixing movie staples.

It should be mentioned that Revolutions continues the plight of Neo (Keanu Reeves) where Reloaded left off in that our adventure-seeking hero is comatose. Standing in his corner and mulling over his suspended state of mind is his fellow curvy avenger and cozy companion Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).

In the meanwhile, the duo’s tagalong partner Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) is left to figure out a scheme to discourage the dastardly yet persistent machines from reaching Zion and spreading the disastrous carnage.

The festive battle scenes that are set between the Zion residents and the enforcing ominous mechanical menaces are fascinating up to a certain point. As the colorful confrontation rolls on, a handful of minutes later into the fray one starts to feel antsy and numb because the conflict taking place comes off as laborious and stagy.

In fact, the other main showdown involving the stoic Neo and his arch rival Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) can be dismissed as something in terms of the rudimentary runaround of good versus evil as the twosome tangle with freewheeling fists in the pouring rain.

Surprisingly, their square off is so uneventful and obvious that the inspiration behind their rumble falls more flat than Reeves’ utterance of his trademark monosyllabic “whoa”. Suffice to say, the involvement concerning any of the Matrix players have no purpose or punch for existing other than to hastily wrap up their celebrated participation in this trilogy and look good aesthetically as they shamelessly posture in each frame while doing it in a distracting run-of-the-mill fashion.

What may be infuriating to the majority of Matrix fanatics is the way this flick is carelessly assembled and slapped together so haphazardly. For a cherished sci-fi series embarking on its last swan song, the Wachowskis certainly haven’t instilled anything in this feisty final chapter that could be considered concrete and conclusive by the reasonable standards of devoted Matrix enthusiasts.

For starters, some may feel cheated by the glaring oversight such as the following observations: Why isn’t there any quality screen time amongst our tangy trio of Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus?

When the threesome are working in unison we can relate to the precarious predicament and feel more connected to their involvement and sense of danger. Yet the minimal exposure of them working as their own well-oiled machine downplays the movie’s urgency for cohesive suspense. Major secondary roles such as Captain Niobi (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and The Oracle (played by Mary Alice who replaces the late Gloria Foster) are noticeably brushed over therefore leaving no memorable impact whatsoever.

As for the steady flow of action-packed sequences that are tediously strung together, the Wachowskis don't necessarily disappoint in this department as far as the showy landscape of glorious stunts and crackerjack explosive mayhem is concerned.

The dependable diet of frenetic fight vignettes and the promising firepower that came with the polished package definitely defined The Matrix mantra as a meditation of movement to the cinematic sensory nerves. This is fine from the standpoint of the two previous editions of Matrix mania. But in Revolutions this practice feels rather strained and contrived.

Hence, the Wachowskis’ motive for perpetuating such an eyeballing project without rhyme or rhythm can be perceived as blindly overindulgent if not blatant pandering. When all fails from the perspective of decent narration then the next desperate step is to incorporate eye candy with a rabid rambunctious overtone. In this case, the third time is not the charm for the flimsy artistic flexibility of the Wachowskis’ arbitrary and mindless overzealous style of moviemaking.

It’s a crying shame that The Matrix Revolutions is a frantic and ponderous piece that is content enough to go through its wooden stage and whimper out with a deadening bang. It’s hard to tell what it was that wore out its welcome mighty fast in this conclusive segment.

Maybe it was it the radical leather trenchcoat that had more personality than the leading man that featured it on his back? Or was the remarkable sheen of the filmmaking techno-trickery that gave this trilogy its legendary legs?

Whatever the sentiment, all the furious and flowery CGI in the world cannot compensate for the mind-bending misguided mess that is The Matrix Revolutions.

This is one loud and ridiculously expensive shebang that could have been gracefully silenced with a creative screenplay that would have gave credence and comfort to this particular Revolution.

Frank Ochieng

(c) Frank Ochieng 2003

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