Over the last two decades, The Wachowskis have revolutionized action films with their MATRIX trilogy. With the opening of JUPITER ASCENDING this weekend, we could be seeing yet another influential visual blockbuster or another missed opportunity from the filmmakers. Even in their movies that don't quite work as a whole, The Wachowskis have given us some truly spectacular and memorable movie moments. Here is our ranking of the ten best from their career. If you disagree or have something that didn't make our cut, feel free to add it to the talk backs below.
A collaboration between Tom Tykwer and The Wachowskis, CLOUD ATLAS impressed us with a powerful six minute trailer. Coupled with an explanatory intro from Lana and Andy Wachowski, this is one of the most unique trailers you will ever see. Many didn't like the film but you cannot deny it was an utterly fascinating experiment.
Harkening back to the origins of the SPEED RACER cartoon, The Wachowskis included this brief sequence that perfectly captures the style and pop of anime. SPEED RACER may not have clicked at the box office but remains a fun diversion for kids of all ages.
While The Wachowskis didn't direct V FOR VENDETTA, their trademark style pervades the entire film. This sequence in particular owes a lot to THE MATRIX from a choreography standpoint. Plus, the great Hugo Weaving is solid as the masked avenger.
I could have picked a ton of moments from the original MATRIX, but this scene features the immortal line as delivered by Keanu Reeves and took us all down the rabbit hole together. The entirely original world envisioned here begins to come together in this sequence and the training scenario that follows.
As cool at THE MATRIX is at the beginning, THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS closes completely over the top and massively out of control. The two sequels to THE MATRIX may have their faults, but the purely cinematic and unabashedly insane final fight between Neo and Agent Smith is a thing of action beauty.
As intricately as CLOUD ATLAS is for the majority of it's running time, all of the stories converge beautifully in the ending minutes, bringing closure to the various timeframes and character incarnations all set to one of the most haunting songs in recent film memory.
Few action scenes in the last twenty years have been as well done as this highway fight. Exploding vehicles, acrobatic fights, and cutting edge special effects make this scene one that can be rewatched a thousand times and never lose it's luster and excitement.
Once THE MATRIX blew audiences away, fans went back to the debut film from The Wachowskis and found a very different movie. Very sexual but with the same visual style as their scifi epic, BOUND is a great throwback to noir films of yesteryear coupled with what could be one of the sexiest scenes of all time.
SPEED RACER did what many likely thought could never be done and succesfully brought the crazy animated race scenes from the old cartoon to life. Looking like the old Nintendo game F-ZERO crossed with candy-colored visuals, SPEED RACER may be lacking for some in the narrative areas but is absolutely stunning in every other sense.
The effect that launched The Wachowskis into the Hollywood elite, this has been copied so many times it has almost become a cliche, but what they achieved here in THE MATRIX is beyond cool and works over a decade after it first hit theaters. This is the lasting achievement of The Wachowskis but hopefully not the last.