The Matrix: Revolutions
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss
Directed By:
Larry and Andy Wachowski

For those that have been eagerly awaiting the final installment in the Matrix Trilogy, Revolutions will be both satisfying and frustrating. For those who have never seen the previous films, this is not the one to start with, as it assumes you are familiar with both The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded, and doesn't offer any explanation for what is going on. This is a good thing however, because it allows the film to start right after Reloaded's cliffhanger ending, without wasting time summing up previous events.

The film opens with Neo (Keanu Reeves) trapped in a place between the Matrix and the real world. How he got there is unknown, but somehow his mind is still connected to the Matrix, yet he is not physically connected to it. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) are now onboard the Hammer, searching for Niobe and her crew on their way back to Zion, to help defend the city against the impending machine attack. Before they can leave though, Morpheus requests one last visit to the Matrix to try and find Neo. With the help of Seraph, Morpheus and Trinity visit the Oracle in her new "shell", her previous body/shell being destroyed as punishment for helping the humans. (An interesting way to explain things, in reality actress Mary Alice took over the role played previously by Gloria Foster, who passed away after Reloaded was filmed). The Oracle tells them that Neo is being held by the Merovingian, so they take a trip to Club Hel, and negotiate Neo's release.

After Neo's rescue, the ships split up; Morpheus and the Hammer crew head for Zion, while Neo and Trinity head to the machine city, as Neo is confident that is where his destiny awaits. Saying more would spoil the story, so I won't give away too many details, but there isn't much more to it. Unlike Reloaded, Revolutions has no long winded, philosophical speeches or stories to tell. Instead, most of the movie is straight action, from the shootout in Club Hel, to the massive fight for Zion, to the all out brawl between Neo and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). And the action doesn't disappoint; the special effects in this movie are second to none. The battle for Zion is the longest continual scene in the film, lasting around 20 minutes, and it is a CGI bonanza. You will need multiple viewings to take in everything that is going on in, but it's well worth it as the scene is spectacular. Thousands of machines swarm the city, while a few dozen APC's (mechs that look like the loaders from Aliens) fight them off with a barrage of bullets. The fight for Zion is so good however, that the final showdown between Neo and Smith feels a bit anticlimactic, we've seen so many kung-fu fights in the previous movies that they've started to get a little old. The filmmakers attempt to break this up a bit with some Superman/Dragon Ball Z-like fighting in the sky, but you can't see much of what's going on as the fight seems shot in either extreme close-ups or long shots. However, the shootout in Club Hel easily rivals the original Matrix's lobby scene, and adds an interesting twist to the scene that I won't spoil here. It's quite interesting, and will make you wonder how they pulled it off; something to look forward to on the inevitable DVD.

The acting in the movie is no better or worse than the previous movies, take that as you will. There is still some corny dialogue, but fortunately we are mostly spared the attempts at philosophy that made Reloaded drag in spots. As mentioned, the special effects are great, and bullet-time is put to an interesting use in the final confrontation between Neo and Smith. However, all this comes with a huge downside, and that is the ending of the film. I won't spoil it, but I will say that it leaves more questions unanswered than one would like, and leaves a huge opening for potential sequels/spin-offs. I normally don't mind when a movie leaves certain things to a viewer's imagination, but in this case there is too much left untold, and as a result you feel a little cheated.

Overall though, if you were a fan of the previous movies, there is a lot to like about The Matrix Revolutions, and it's a (mostly) worthy ending to the Wachowski brothers' tale. If you liked The Matrix, but were disappointed in Reloaded, you may yet enjoy Revolutions, it's much closer to the first film in terms of pacing, story and action. If you've somehow managed to avoid the Matrix phenomenon completely, well, where have you been the last five years? Seriously, see the first two and then go see Revolutions, you'll find a great sci-fi series that will certainly be considered one of the best trilogies of the last 20 years.

- - Darken Rahl

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