The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Monica Bellucci and Jada Pinkett Smith.
After a blistering opening 5 minutes, reminiscent of the original plug-into the Matrix, during which Carrie-Anne Moss’ latex clad ‘Trinity’ once again stylishly despatches generic bad guys with jaw-dropping flexibility, The Matrix Reloaded surprisingly stalls, splutters and all but crashes into a firewall of inexplicable tedium for the best part of an hour of its 2hr 18min runtime.
Now after the brilliance of the previous film, which seemed to hit all the right beats at just the right time – this plodding introduction comes as a hugely disappointing experience, that with the passing of every dull moment has you questioning the need for its existence. What then follows is a whole lot of psycho-babble and exposition until finally some brief visual excitement, as a now all-powerful Neo engages hundreds of rogue Mr Smith’s (Weaving) in a fight that, while impressively shot, looks overly CGI’d and comes nowhere near the tension and excitement of their one-on-one subway duel at the climax of the first film.
Shortly after that, things begin to significantly improve with the introduction of Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) and Persephone (Monica Bellucci) in a well written scene that serves as the catalyst for surely one of the most ambitious action sequences ever put on film. Such is the thrilling complexity of the highway chase scene, in the way it combines physical effects with CGI, that it is almost worth the admission price alone. So, like your average game of soccer, The Matrix Reloaded is very much a game of two halves. One painfully slow, the other patchily exhilarating. The end result doesn’t come close to replicating the joy of seeing the original film for the first time, but thanks to some well imagined action sequences, all is not completely lost. 3/5