Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Harold Perrineau Jr.
Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Written By: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 18 min
Reloaded catches up with our heroes some time after the events shown in The Matrix. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) now reside together in Zion*, and the Nebuchadnezzar** has a new controller, Link (Harold Perrineau Jr.). After a quick reunion, and introduction of some new characters, we’re finally shown Zion in all its glory. A mightily impressive place it is to. Even beautiful in its own chunky mechanical way, and a testament to the fine work done by the production design team working on the film.
Reloaded though is weighed down by its own ambitions. A good first sequel should flesh out the ideas presented in the first film, as this does. But I don’t think the Wachowski’s know how to apply the creative brakes, and on a number of occasions, their desires exceeded the technical possibilities available to them. I speak mainly of the huge battle between Neo, and several hundred copies of the character Smith (Hugo Weaving). It starts out impressively enough – Neo v about 10 Smiths. It’s actually pretty well done. But then as the physical limitations of orchestrating a fight scene of this magnitude become apparent the CGI is turned up to eleven, and it’s just painfully obvious. Suddenly the film becomes a video game, and any emotional connection you might have had with the story or the characters gets completely cut off.
Those sky-high ambitions aren’t limited to the action either. The script too is bogged down with bloated inefficient dialog. Why communicate an idea with one or two lines of dialog when six or seven will do. Initially it all sounds quite clever, but you tune into it pretty quickly and start to wonder why people don’t just get to the point.
Despite the films problems, there’s still a lot to enjoy here. The action for the most part is well staged, and thumps along to some excellent music choices. The story too has some interesting elements, and the concept of ‘The One’ is broadened in a very unique way.
This movie has a completely different feel than The Matrix. So much so I wouldn’t be willing to bet that you’ll like the sequel if you loved the first film. If you’re into your high concept science fiction, then Reloaded won’t be a complete waste of time for you. Also, don’t take this film on until you’ve seen the first film.
The production design is excellent so a nice digital theater screen would bring out the best in Reloaded. At home a HD showing for sure.
Best scene for me:
Got to be the freeway chase! Carrie-Anne Moss, again resplendent in her leathers racing a Ducati motorcycle at high-speed – against the flow of traffic! Amazing!
* Zion. The last human city. Located deep underground near the Earth’s core. A sewer basically.
** The ship captained by Morpheus. Large fish-shaped craft apparently powered by continually short circuiting Roombas.