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The Matrix Reloaded

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It’s a very good movie. So please. Stop comparing it to the original.

It’s a tall order. But one of the things I cannot stand to hear when I ask somebody if a movie that happens to be a sequel (or 2nd part) is any good is, “I liked the first one better.”

Great. But that is not what I asked you. Was the frigging movie good or not?

Sequels are almost always inferior to their predecessors. In my view, only twice in movie history has a sequel been better than the original. ‘The Godfather II’ was superior to the ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Lethal Weapon II’ was actually better than ‘Lethal Weapon.’ Some sequels should never even have been made (Exorcist 2, Jaws 2, Psycho 2, The Sting 2, Another 48 Hours) and there are times when the audience says, “Enough already!” (Rocky, Rambo, Superman, Lethal Weapon, Batman, Beverly Hills Cop — apparently Sylvester Stallone didn’t get it as he is making another Rocky movie). And finally, some – including The Matrix – are not really sequels at all. The Star Wars saga and The Lord of the Rings trilogy fit into this category. They are merely one bit story broken up into different parts. A true sequel can stand on its’ own. If you didn’t see the original Matrix, you’d undoubtedly be confused watching Reloaded.

That being said, yes, Reloaded doesn’t have the freshness of the original. The bullet-time effect is nothing new and the fight scenes are more intense, but are not much different than before. The scipt is at times, very hokey, and the performances are somewhat wooden, just as they were in the first film. So then why am I saying it’s very good? well, because it is. The fight scenes are still exciting. The bullet time effects are still way cool, and there’s a cast of characters involved that the audience truly cares about, despite their wooden performances. It’s the second part of a 3 prong story, so we’re left wanting of course, with a whole load of questions, but many of the questions we had prior to this installment are answered.

The movie is set some time after everybody realizes the power that Neo (Keanu Reeves) possesses. However, in this installment it is really onlu Morpheus and a couple of others who still believe Neo is ‘The one’ (ie some kind of savior) that is going to rescue the human world from The Matrix. The machines have been digging to get to Zion, an underground city where people who have been freed from The Matrix now live. The Oracle (played wonderfully by Gloria Foster) wants to see Neo again, and tells him that there is a way to get to the core of The Matrix. To do that, he needs to get a hold of The Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim) who is basically a computer program being held by Merovingian (a great villian played by French actor Lambert Wilson – I wish they had more for him to do). This leads to the prospect of a very difficult mission in which Neo asks Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) to stay out of The Matrix. Neo has been having dreams that she is killed. She agrees, but everybody knows it will not happen. The chain of events leads to the climactic highway chase that is worth the price of admission alone. The ending is rather abrupt, but with The Matrix: Revolutions coming out in November, there certainly is not going to be a long wait.

The Matrix: Reloaded has flaws. It is not a perfect movie, and some fans of the original are sure to be disappointed. I enjoyed it. In fact, my only complaint stems from the fact that the ‘R’ rating could have been easily avoided if they had simply removed the ridiculous crowd org-bondage/Neo-Trinity love scene that looked more like something you’d see in an MTV video than in a movie. The love scene itself was tastefully done, but the rest of it was just tacky and totally out of place. Other than that, it is still worth the price of admission.

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