ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Matrix Reloaded (2002)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Andy & Larry Wachowski

Starring:
Keanu Reeves/Neo
Laurence Fishburne/ Morpheus
Hugo Weaving/Agent Smith
Carrie-Anne Moss/Trinity
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Hacker Neo (Reeves) is now the flying and indestructible “One” within the Matrix and he must find a way to save Zion (human dive on real earth) from an impending fatal attack at the hands of the machines. Not only that, but he also has to deal with a scary premonition and figure out what the “Prophecy” is really all about. Damn! And I thought my weekend was hectic! You go, Neo! We’re rooting for ya dude!
THE LOWDOWN
"What if the prophecy was true? What if tomorrow the war could be over? Isn't that worth fighting for? Isn't that worth dying for?"-- Morpheus

I loved the original "Matrix" to death (yes, I will review it eventually) and although this sequel wasn’t as fulfilling as the all-around AWESOME original; it still hit the Coca Cola spot while at the same time giving me some Chow Mein for thought.

"The Matrix Reloaded" took two key ingredients found in the original and spiced them up hardcore for better and for worse. First, we have the adrenaline charged and beyond exciting action sequences. HOLY MOLY, BATMAN! We get all kinds of wild happenings here; Trinity’s (Moss) motorcycle stunts were way slick (she’s such a goddess), Neo’s (Reeves) jamboree with Agent Smith (Weaving) and his doppelganger boyz was INSANE and the random to the bone Kung Fu fights spread about had me grinning like a toddler watching Barney get hacked to pieces by a Power Ranger! In my opinion, the technique known as "bullet time" has never been used so effectively on celluloid than here with the highway car demolition party being the highlight of it all. It gave that psychotic derby that extra oomph and to be honest, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat while watching it-- I was blown OUT OF MY SEAT TO THE BACK ROW! OH YEAHHHHHH!

The other element found in the original that was amplified here was the philosophical grape juice. Now I for one appreciated it on some levels in the first Matrix and dug some of it here too. The whole “cause” and “effect” and “action-reaction” angle is a way of life for me in my everyday existence, so it was a trip to see it addressed on screen. It hit home. On the downside, I did feel like the flick over-padded its narrative with the same mumbo-jumbo to the point of becoming redundant. I mean, if you have different things to put out there throughout...fine, keep yapping away, but repeating the same damn thing in different ways all the time gets a bit tiring…a bit tiring FOR ME! Let it go guys, we get it, 10-4 on that…now fight, you bums, fight!!!

On a character level, aaaahh...it was gnarly to see the leather-clad, trendy sunglass-wearing, ass-kickers back again. I love this bunch! Sure, the players didn’t feel as focused on as they did in "The Matrix", due largely to this film’s larger scope and multitude of subplots, but I loved spending time with them nonetheless. Although Morpheus (Fishburne) gained a few pounds and lost of some his enigmatic appeal, he was still the man here and earned a whole new respect from me during the highway sequence. Morpheus doesn’t fuck around! YOU GO BOY! Neo and Trinity simply can do no wrong in on my slab either and that mushy piece of my heart was very glad that the storyline continued to explore their lovey-dovey courtship. Their love scene (i.e. sex scene) was just so freaking beautiful! I could feel the emotion pouring out of that bit. Does true love like that exist in reality? I sure hope so! I also dug that the flick used their relationship as a device to launch an added subplot that upped the stakes of the story. Sure, it was basically a reversal on a turn of events found in the original, but it still worked like a charm and had my thumper in a vice. I love these crazy kids.

Also, other than some lousy “no name” actors polluting the scenery with bad deliveries at times, I found myself mucho enjoying the new peeps in this digital house-- even in their limited screen time. The Twin Baddies who graced the film with its more “horror-inclined” imagery and that French snob (Wilson) who had me on the floor were the highlight of the new crowd for me. I should also mention that Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobe) surprisingly didn’t get on my nerves (like she usually does-- she almost ruined "Welcome to Paradise" for me), in fact, I actually thought she was cute in that red leather boogie shaping outfit and she thankfully underplayed it. I also jived on Link (Perrineau) who came across as a very endearing moochacho; I’d have a beer with the man and maybe a whole Keg with his wife-- but that might be my own shit going on.

On the downside, "Reloaded" did feel like a middle section of a trilogy as opposed to a full film and therefore wasn’t as tight as the original. The pace also lagged at times and The Zion scenes bored me and were just too "Star Trek/Toga party"-like for my taste (why do peeps in the future always wear robes?). I will say this about Zion though; they sure know how to throw a groovy ass rave! DAMN! That looked like "fun times" in a bottle...NOW THAT’S A SHINDIG! Other than that, I wouldn’t vacation in that shit hole.

Another big peeve I had was that Reloaded filled in some of the blanks which the first one left unanswered, but I can't say that I was too keen on the responses. That rambling Colonel Sanders wannabee (known as the Architect) didn’t get me excited about the ideas via his motor mouth technical babble that had my brain racing to grasp it all. Easy Colonel! EASY! Talk about being wired on KFC! "The Matrix Revolutions" will tell if I’ll warm up to all the new ideas that were unleashed here. My last beef with the flick would have to be that some of its CGI/blue screen was a tad obvious, which was a bummer taking into account the immense budget of the film. Then again, I was very easily able to let that shit go. Lastly...for all the chop sockey, crashes, explosions, sword fights found here, I didn’t feel as though there was enough gun play. I’m a big pow-wow artillery fan and my craving was not met through "Reloaded". I guess I’ll watch the first one again to get my daily intake of rat-tat-tat damage.

But overall, "The Matrix Reloaded" was a solid ride, at times touching (all about Neo and Trinity), others times hilarious (I loved the Superman reference) and most of the time, one hell of an ass-kicking action fest. Sure, the philosophy was heavy-handed, but what can you do-- it's part of what makes "The Matrix" THE FUCKING MATRIX!! RELOAD AND FIRE MOFOS!
GORE
Not much in terms of gore here. We do get an impaling, light blood and lots of fisticuffs.
ACTING
Keanu Reeves (Neo) looked kool in his black duds, fought like a champ and did okay acting wise. Let's face it, it’s not a very demanding role. Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) trained at McDonalds for the role and that kind of took away from the role’s “slick factor”, but on the whole, did fine, although I didn’t buy his key speech to the crowd. Something in his delivery made me crack up. Not the intended response, I’m sure. Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) had fun with the role and I had fun watching him have fun. Make freaking sense? Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity) has a stillness about her that really appeals to me; she also kicks ass like the best of them and that is such a turn on. Her chemistry with Reeves was also the money! Monica Bellucci (Persephone) played hot and horny with cleavage bobbling out. What else do you need? Lambert Wilson (Merovingian) owned during his main scene and had me laughing hard-- if you understand French you’ll get more out of it as well. Harold Perrineau (Link) was credible in the role and very likeable.
T & A
Trinity and Neo have a nude love scene that reveals nothing in terms of nudity, but that’s okay. The scene was beautifully shot and didn’t need a tit popping out. Fear not though, we get Monica Belluci looking all cleavage and shite and we also get enough chicks on high beams wearing thin tops during the rave scene to please. The ladies also get buff shirtless men during that same rave scene.
DIRECTING
Andy and Larry Wachowski do what they do best, but on a bigger canvas-- slow motion whoring, bullet-time madness and gloomy atmosphere galore. The film did lose its pacing at times, but on the whole, was a badass directing job with high calorie eye-candy in tow. Good stuff guys! NOTE: Again, that love scene rocked; props to the brothers for managing to evoke emotion through images. That’s what good directing is all about!
SOUNDTRACK
The tunes in this club rocked the whorehouse with the likes of POD, Marilyn Manson, Rob “soundtrack man” Zombie, Deftones, Paul Okenfold (GREAT TRACK) and an enthralling score by Don Davis crowding the place. I already own the soundtrack! SOLID!
BOTTOM LINE
"The Matrix Reloaded" was a riot at the theaters and made me a happy boozer. The physical happenings were knee-slapping amusing, the characters were still all mucho razor kool, the directing and the tunes whooped skulls and although the philosophical jargon was too heavy-handed, I was able to digest it and still have a hoot-nanny with the whole affair. Reloaded is a worthy sequel and I’m anticipating "Revolutions" much like Hugh Hefner (great man) is anticipating that eventual “happy” heart attack. BRING IT ON! I’M THERE! Now if only I can meet a leather-clad chick who’s able to display strength and vulnerability while knowing how to kickass and do back flips myself. DO THEY EXIST? ARE YOU OUT THERE? I must enter The Matrix and find her…that’s springtime talking guys! Gotta love spring time.
BULL'S EYE
Actress/Singer Aaliyah was cast in the role of Zee, but died in a plane crash on August 25, 2001.

Gloria Foster (the Oracle) died before the end of shooting "Reloaded". She had done most of her scenes for the film, but never got to shoot the ones for "Revolutions" although her character will be back "in another form".

The film’s highway chase scene took 45 days to shoot.

Stay tuned after the end credits of "Reloaded" for a dark and badass trailer for "The Matrix Revolutions".
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