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6 Nov 2003

the matrix revolutions

Fridae's movie buff, Alvin Tan, catches the worldwide premiere of The Matrix Revolutions and delivers his verdict on the concluding chapter to the mind-bending Matrix trilogy.

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the plot.

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."
- Fortune cookie hookie from The Matrix Revolutions.

From the top: Keanu Reeves as Neo, Carrie Anne Moss as Trinity, Reeves and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith, and Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus and Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe.
Welcome back to the world of the Matrix - a world where everyone speaks in riddles, fights with signature flourishes and walks around in impeccable style.

Picking up from where The Matrix: Reloaded left off, The Matrix Revolutions opens with Neo (Keanu Reeves) in a comatose state (I am not referring to the actor's wooden acting) - suspended between the Machine World and the Matrix, and trapped in a state of limbo represented by an unnaturally clean subway station with an over-talkative Indian family for company.

Coming to the rescue of The One are, of course, Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) who re-enter the Matrix to seek the help of the chain-smoking, fortune cookie baking and mystical gobbledygook sprouting Oracle (played by Mary Alice replacing the late Gloria Foster).

With the aid of the Oracle's bodyguard Seraph (Collin Chou or Ngai Sing), Trinity and Morpheus infiltrate a bondage fetish nightclub called Club Hell in order to "convince" the olive-obsessed Merovingian and his wife Persephone (played by Monica Bellucci and her heaving bosom) to order his henchman, The Trainman, to free Neo.

At Club Hell, our heroic trio gets involved in a fight with the world's toughest Coat Check crew who does a "Dancing On The Ceiling" act a la Lionel Richie before they are soundly dispatched by the bullet-excessive antics of Morpheus and Seraph, and an impressive Trinity using her Scorpion Kick (whoa!) and her signature suspended-in-the-air Double Eagle Kick (double whoa!).

With Neo back in the Machine World, the plot picks up speed faster than Devon Aoki's pink racer in Too Fast Too Furious and splinters into two. The first plotline involves the crew of the hovercraft Hammer as they race against time to reach Zion and aid the underground city in its fight against the invading machines.

Deserving special mention is the character of Niobe (played by Jada Pinkett Smith) who, hailing from the school of ball-busting women drivers from hell, successfully "pilots" the Hammer through a narrow and hazardous mechanical sewer line while trying to shake off an onslaught of marauding Sentinels.
The second plotline involves Neo and Trinity on another ship, the Logos, heading in the opposite direction for the Machine City. In the course of the journey, the lovers barely survived a brutal assault from the Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) possessed crewmember Bane (the creepy Ian Bliss) which left Neo looking like the X-Men's Cyclops sans ruby visor.

From the top: Keanu Reeves as Neo, Carrie Anne Moss as Trinity, Reeves and Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith, and Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus and Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe.
At the Machine City, Neo channels Ms Universe hopefuls everywhere and brokers for "world peace" - in order to ensure the survival of Zion - on the condition that he acts as the Matrix-equivalent of a Norton Anti-Virus programme and eliminates the powerful self-replicating rogue programme Agent Smith.

The fate of both worlds thus hangs in the balance as Neo faces off Agent Smith in a rain-soaked duel (dubbed the Super Burly Brawl) where punches land with the force of an atomic bomb and combatants fly through the sky, crash through skyscrapers and engage in a bit of kinky mud-wrestling in a crater.

Despite the special effects overload, the piece-de-resistance in The Matrix Revolutions surely belongs to be the apocalyptic battle which pits the Zion rebels and their Armored Personal Units (APUs) against the Machines' relentless army of octopus-like Sentinels and Diggers.

Led by military commander Lock (Harry J. Lennix), the Zion rebels' battle against overwhelming odds is played out in a series of jaw-dropping CGI-aided action sequences. More importantly, other formerly peripheral characters such as The Kid (Clayton Watson) and Link's wife Zee (Nona M. Gaye) with her G. I. Jane butch companion finally get to do something useful other than serving as a Zion bellhop (in the case of The Kid) or playing the "stay-at-home-and-wait-for-your-return" wife (in the case of Zee).

With its expensive special effects and furious action sequences, The Matrix Revolutions is undoubtedly an enjoyable cinematic ride. However, it fails to match the standards of visual innovation and multi-layered plotting laid down by the very first movie and is thus unable to move the audience who has been-there and seen-that since The Matrix exploded in theaters way back in 1999.

Having said that, you don't have to the Oracle to know that The Matrix Revolutions will take the box office by storm - but for a truly awe-inspiring and satisfying triple movie whammy, I will place my bet on the concluding arc of The Lord of The Rings saga and wait for The Return of The King.

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