|The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Monica Bellucci
Director: Andy Wachowski and David Wachowski
Fans of "The Matrix" will be very pleased. The second installment of the groundbreaking trilogy from the Wachowski brothers lives up to all the hype and sets the stage for the climax later this year with the third and final chapter.
At the end of the original film we learned that Neo (Keanu Reeves) was in fact "the One" who would lead the fight to free the humans from the Matrix and the grip of the machines. In "Reloaded," we see Neo at the height of his powers as he truly becomes the master of the Matrix and a cult hero in the eyes of many in the city of Zion. These new powers lead to some incredible fight scenes that will thrill fans of kung fu flicks and impress everyone else.
Zion is under attack by 250,000 probes leaving the rebels with less than 72 hours to fight off the attack. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburn) believes in the prophecy that only Neo can save Zion and convinces the leaders of Zion to send them back to the Matrix in an effort to save the city from destruction. The storyline is no less mind-bending than the original as Neo is faced with choices that will ultimately impact the fate of the human race.
As expected, the special effects in this film are amazing. With the advent of digital capabilities, so many filmmakers have let their devotion to special effects overtake their efforts to the point that they forget how to tell a good story. The best example is George Lucas and his lame attempts to recapture the magic of the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Along with poor storytelling, Lucas also hasn't figured out how to fully utilize these new great tools. Sure, they're technically amazing and impressive, but his films have placed so much emphasis on the digital effects that the result is a cartoon-like quality that strips the scenes of any connection to reality.
The Wachowskis, on the other hand, have achieved an impressive balance between live action and digital effects. Neo's battle with hundreds of Agent Smiths and the car chase scene blew me away. I'm not a huge fan of car chases as so many directors have relied on these recycled scenes just to add some action to otherwise dull stories. The scene in "Reloaded," however, is unlike any other. Trying to describe it is futile. Just go see it.