Movie Malcontent RANT
June 2003

The past few weeks have been very exciting and very confusing for movie-go'ers, what with two action-packed blockbuster sequels - "The Matrix Reloaded" and "X-2: X-Men United" - vying for box-office sales, then quickly losing audience to the comedy "Bruce Almighty", starring Jim Carrey.  I should have known that was a bad sign and yet we attended a showing of The Matrix Reloaded anyway...

First and foremost, please allow me to ruin the ending for you.  After a drawn out blind-faith search for what could only be bad news, The Matrix Reloaded ends with a mediocre cliffhanger and the words "TO BE CONCLUDED."

This is a travesty.

The original movie had an actual ending and yet Warner Brothers still managed to produce a sequel and convince millions of lemm, er, I mean people to stampede the movie theatres to see it.  So you might ask, why should the sequel need such a crass ploy to whet people's appetite for The Matrix Shot to Hell?

That was just a rhetorical question.  The answer is that The Matrix Reloaded sucked pendulous, hairy elephant testicles.  Without the cliffhanger only the most intellectually vacuous, gullible idiots could possibly be convinced to attend yet another sequel to The Matrix.  The movie's non-ending is a desperate ploy to drag back the poor sheep who just can't seem to leave a book half-unread.

Getting to the details, the movie brings back Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving playing Neo, Trinity, Morpheus and Agent Smith, and for some inexplicable reason puts way too much time but not much actual effort into building a story around Link, a new character played half-heartedly by Harold Perrineau.

Keanu Reeves is, well, Keanu Reeves.  He has not changed one iota.  Either you like him or you don't.  He skillfully plays an utterly confused puppet Neo, more so than in the original movie.  Acting well is easy when you act naturally.

Carrie-Anne Moss needs a new make-up artist.  Frankly she's starting to look worn and close-ups on a forty foot high screen are not doing her any favors.  In 1999's The Matrix she was really hot and sexy with a hard-edged look that made her even more alluring to anyone who could appreciate a confident woman.  Now she's beginning to look like someone who's been hanging out with biker gangs since she was fourteen.

Laurence Fishburne's performance in this Matrix sequel seems like a monotonous ripoff of James Earl Jones, and makes it that much more difficult to endure the movie's inane dialogue as he prattles on with obfuscated philosophical platitudes.

Fans of "Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" will enjoy Hugo Weaving's many, many appearances as he clones himself into a one-man Kung-Fu movie, yet sadly somehow he too manages to get entangled in the monotonous philosophizing, somewhat to the detriment of his overall performance.

With all the contrived terminology and characters, the movie felt like a Dungeons and Dragons session without the requisite perpetually asexual participants.  At least we managed to laugh a little when the Keymaker turned out to be a little Korean man (Hawaiian-born Randall Duk Kim) in a tiny key shop with a few key grinding machines and walls full of keys.

We were treated to plenty of eroticism in this movie, most of which was pointless.  The sex scene between Keanu and Carrie-Anne was too long and didn't show enough skin, and while those two got busy, this doomed underground civilization had what basically amounted to a huge rave party following the news of their possibly imminent demise.  If the director really wanted some sweaty wet t-shirt shots I'm sure there were better ways to do it.

The news wasn't all bad actually.  The effects were quite stunning and realistic, there was a fair amount of martial arts fighting (although the slow-motion bits are getting played out) and car chase aficionados will absolutely love the highway scene.  Too bad the story was too lame to make any of it interesting, the editing left a half-hour of footage that should have been left strewn on the floor, and the directing quality couldn't possibly overcome the editing failures.

I give "The Matrix Reloaded" one thumb up my ass.  If you absolutely have to see it before it comes out on DVD (or Kazaa!), spend an extra dollar or two and see it at a Sony Imax theatre to really enjoy the quality of the computer generated goodies, and bring a set of earplugs so you don't get tempted to yell "shut the fuck up already!" at Morpheus.

I just KNEW I should have seen Bruce Almighty instead.


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