NICE GUYS FINISH LAST | Nov 3, 2003
In Theatres Nov 7, 2003
Well, it’s finally here. The Matrix Revolutions. The title in and of itself refers to the circuitous nature of the matrix, as well as bringing things around full circle to a satisfying closure. The film does this fairly well, though it ignores, and outright dismisses, many of the amazingly mind bending ideas introduced in the second film. In fact, with the conclusion we do receive, much of the second film could have been completely eliminated without affecting the overall story. It’s as if the Wachowski’s realized they had opened a can of worms they could never get back under control in one final film and sought to merely to wrap it up as quickly and neatly as possible. Oh well. It was still pretty fun.
Matrix Revolutions starts off where Reloaded and Enter the Matrix left off. Neo is in a “coma” and Niobe and Ghost are missing. It turns out Neo is stuck in a sort of information (subway) tunnel between the machine world and the Matrix. Taking cues from William Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive and Virtual Light, Neo has gained the ability to partially jack into the communication lines/matrix info without hookups. His implants receive wi-fi upgrades and he’s broadcasting gameshark goodness to all the machines that choose to fuck with him.
But, yah, Neo’s stuck in this subway tunnel run by a guy called the Train Man who won’t let him out until Merovingian says so. Meanwhile Trinity, Morpheus, and Seraph go to confront Merovingian at a rockin BDSM club filled with psycho-sexual gimpettes and cenobite wannabes (aka. Friday night at Larry Wachowski’s). You’d think Merovingian would be a formidable opponent but they’re able to spring Neo faster than Johnny Cochran at a sexual harassment hearing. The whole thing reeks of coolness, but utterly serves no purpose advancing the story.
After Neo is freed, preparation for the battle for Zion begins, and Smith antagonizes people in the real world. I guess Smith corrupted the wetworks of his human host and was merely acting as a virus. No layers to the matrix here. Just a ripoff of sci-fi fodder such as Virtuosity and Ghost in the Machine. Oh well, it’s still pretty cool.
To make a long story short, Neo has to face off with Smith in the real world as well as figure out how to stop the war and rid the Matrix of the Smith infection. It’s a lot of stuff to accomplish in just 129 minutes, but he does a pretty good job. Some cool ideas are brought forth to the table: Neo has a dialogue with a program in the subway straight out of Do androids Dream of Electric Sheep?/ Blade Runner regarding a computer’s ability to “feel” and the oracle speaks of balance and choices while wearing jade Yin Yang earrings, but that’s about as deep as it gets. Let’s just say it’s a lot less intellect intensive than the previous two films.
Since most of the film takes place in Zion, the brothers are forced to finally understand that it is not sexy for a grown woman with the body of an anorexic pre-pubescent boy to spend the entire film in skin-tight pleather. It is completely repulsive. Thankfully once back in the real world Trinity slips on her trade mark gunny sack from the Zion Gap. If only Ms Skeletor wore such baggy clothes in the Matrix.
The film wisely stays away from wire fu on the most part. One of the coolest fights involving Smith and Neo in the real world actually uses a more down and dirty street brawling style. It’s brutal as fuck, and my favorite fight scene in the movie. For those who waited, you have some sick Mech Warrior meets Centipede action in battle for Zion and the Kid plays an important part. The special effects are a lot better than the second film, yet when I saw the sentinels attacking with tentacles and the long tubules of snaking plugs sneaking up on Neo I thought to myself, “These brothers sure watch a helluva lot of Hentai.” As for the final battle between Neo and Smith in the rain; it’s pretty cool. It uses bullet time to create one of the coolest punches seen on screen, but at the same time feels slightly empty.
I’m going to leave it at that. Despite my small gripes I totally loved this film. It's time for the other Kris' review.
Well, I duhnno man, even though I was sitting there with a massive crick in my neck, imagining ways to assassinate the editor and score composer of this film, for the most part, I enjoyed it. At those said moments where I was slapping my face to stay alert, “think like a comic book writer/sci-fi action movie enthusiast would” became my mantra. And it worked! Almost completely devoid of dialogue (compared to Reloaded), this one gets mondo trigger-happy.
However, the film did not completely escape the classic Wachowski nursery rhyme dialogue with: “we have to get the ‘dickers’ (diggers) in the dock” and Trinity’s soliloquy sounding more like insincere sincerity hints like: “you don’t want the last brownie, do you?” / ”you couldn’t possibly rescue me, could you?” Plus the fact that everyone else has flowery names, yet the military commander is still just “Jason”. Cracks me up.
But dammit, Hugo Weaving is incredible, all 54 of him. The Oracle gets herself a new shell and I didn’t think that her character could get any more endearing. The Cookie Lady makes me smile, even when she says things like "even cookies need Love". The battles are excellent, all 54 of ‘em. Plus, you’ll also be happy to know that there is a culmination of the friggen “choices” theme (from Reloaded) not once, but _twice (and one of them is not made by Neo).
While I agree with Chris that this is not the most cerebral of the lot, I disagree with the statement: "The whole thing reeks of coolness, but utterly serves no purpose advancing the story." While some scenes have been stretched out to their capacity and my patience, they are all ultimately trying to explain that well, at the very core of trying to explain or trying to rationalize, we push ourselves farther from the Truth, and farther from the inevitable. Just because we understand something and pick it apart does not mean we can cease its cycle (nor does it give us the permission to try). In all its corny glory: Faith, Love and Hope will outlast anything. And yes, even mechanical programs built on logic and reason, can love.
Also, realism drops in for a quick discriminant visit. Ships and people get thoroughly banged up, squads are thrashed, the machines are relentless. There's a great line where someone questions the integrity and credibility of the Architect, to which he retorts, "what do you think I am..? A Human??". In some scenes, the struggle of Good vs. Evil smacks you on the behind, reminding you that nice guys finish last... or DO they?!