The makers of one of the most surprising successes in the futuristic action
category are now satisfying the legion of fans who have been awaiting the
promised sequel. Rarely has a sequel been so intensely anticipated and
regarded as so big an event, which magnifies the challenges for
writer-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski and producer Joel Silver to come up
with a storyline and digital effects that are clearly on the WOW-scale.
Gravity and dimension defying tricks are no longer a surprise, so to meet
expectations, the sequel needs to step them up a notch for the franchise to
continue its trend-setting ways.
In the second chapter of the Matrix trilogy, freedom fighters Neo (Keanu
Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne)
continue to lead the people of Zion in defending against the approaching army
of Machine destroyers, a seemingly indestructible force programmed into the
Matrix. The task for our team is nothing less than to save the human race
from extinction. In order to do so, they must gain understanding of the
Matrix's purpose and Neo's pivotal role in altering its encoding.
The movie starts with a teaser in which an exceptionally well toned Trinity
(Carrie-Anne Moss) in tight black leathers, attacks an enemy headquarters
then escapes a pursuing agent by catapulting into space and taking a bullet.
This, it turns out, is a futuristic vision dreamed up by Neo -- one he's most
The people assemble in the city of Zion, the last outpost for humans on Earth
as they consider the methods of defense against the tentacled soldiers of the
machine. Morpheus addresses the congregants with the zeal of a preacher,
rousing them and instilling hope that they will prevail. But the strategy is
under some controversy as the general who would attempt to defeat them with
the limited number of ships under his command wants to deny Morpheus and his
team the use of his ship. He doesn't believe the coming war can be one by
That One is Neo (Keanu Reeves) who, on the emotional side is feeling the
intensity of new love with Trinity and, on side of personal fulfillment, has
acquired a number of superhuman abilities, though he doesn't yet know how to
make use of them in combating the Matrix. "I wish I knew what I was supposed
to do," he declares. His quest for that answer brings him to an important
consultation with the Oracle who doesn't exactly shed a lot of light on the
Among his many enemies he encounters Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) who has the
fascinating ability to make perfect clones of himself. This results in a
spatial ballet of Martial Arts between 100 Agent Smiths and Neo, who has a
few tricks of his own. Neo comes up against Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), a
snobbish boor who refuses to help, but whose stunning wife Persephone (Monica
Belluci) helps Neo's and his team, at the cost of a deep kiss (in front of
Trinity) to remind her of emotions she once felt for a man. Satisfied by it,
she leads Neo's trio to the Keymaker, a tiny Asian (Randall Duk Kim) who has a
magical key to everything and understands his role and destiny within the
Matrix better than Neo does.
Which makes him, and now Neo, the target of the evil forces, including some
very bad shape-shifting albinos. In the grand chase that follow, digital
freedom from physical laws unleashes all manner of action dynamics,
exhilarating to the max -- a mesmerizing action choreographer's
Neo's quest takes him, ultimately, to the Architect (Helmut Bakaitis), who is
no less than the programmer of the Matrix. Nothing here can escape the
destiny written into the code, though it has had its bugs and revisions.
When he gives Neo a choice of destinies, Neo takes the one that is most
human... and most suicidal. Even with greater understanding, will Neo be
able to change or affect the inexorability of the program? We'll find that
out in chapter 3.
Through a more conventional plotline than in the first session, and
hyper-extended speeches by principal characters, there seems to be an attempt
to better unveil the mystery of the matrix. This sequel also shows a
determination to exceed the level of effects creativity introduced before.
For the extended car and truck chase sequence a production freeway was built
(at a cost of $2.5 Million) in order to stage it without killing actors
or technicians. ($2 Million worth of cars were destroyed).
All departments participate in the hyper-reality. Composer Don Davis (of the
first "Matrix") fuses different styles of music from minimalist to tribal
dance for his techno-futuristic aural environment. Bill Pope performed the
Gross receipts has reached $730 million worldwide, making this the
highest-grossing film of 2003 and the highest-grossing R-rated film in
history. It is the 12th highest grossing pic worldwide and the first film in
history to surpass $100 million in a single weekend internationally. In its
collection of records in the U.S., it had the largest single week ever with
~~ Daily Variety
And... this is our 2nd most read review, registering nearly 11,000 hits
Writer-directors Andy and Larry Wachowski have given us some stylish,
jaw-dropping action, extra-dimensional effects and a certain sensitivity
factor among our heroes. In addition to those mentioned, Jada Pinkett Smith,
at last in a highly conspicuous role, exploits her moment as Niobe, the woman
who comes between Commander Lock (Harry J. Lennix) and Neo. In beautiful
company, she shines. Monica Bellucci shows she's more than physically
ravishing, as this splendid Italian actress has done in all her roles ("Irreversible", "Malena").
Besides the action fans, The Matrix will be best understood by the programming
geniuses of all ages who will hook into the scope of the concept and
most appreciate the power of the machine. The boring speeches, such as the
Merovingian's diatribe, might limit repeat viewings, but there's enough here
to amaze and entertain filmgoers of all ages and temperaments... so long as
they properly appreciate freedom from gravity.
As Morpheus says, "Free your mind."
See the review of the conclusion,
~~ Jules Brenner