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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Keanu Reeves
Laurence Fishburne
Carrie-Anne Moss
Hugo Weaving.
Directors
Larry Wachowski
Andy Wachowski.
Screenwriters
Larry Wachowski
Andy Wachowski.
Running Time
140 minutes

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The Matrix Reloaded
Astonishing action sequences abound in the Wachowski Brothers' first Matrix sequel.


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Plot
With Zion under threat from an army of robot sentinels, Morpheus disobeys orders to defend the last human city so that Neo might await word from the missing Oracle. Neo needs to know many things, not least, why does he keep dreaming about his lover Trinity


Review
The Matrix (1999) was a stealth fighter, a secret weapon that utterly outfoxed its jumbo-sized near-contemporary, The Phantom Menace. The Matrix Reloaded, the first part of an epic single sequel, thunders into town minus that critical element of surprise. Indeed, trailing close behind Reloaded is the creeping suspicion that the torpedo is now bloated to the point where it has become everything it was once designed to detonate...

If the only outstanding issues with The Matrix Reloaded were that it was too cumbersome to be cool, too obvious to be sexy; if all it failed to live up to was the attendant hype, then we could simply scoff at the non-believers. But, truth be told, Reloaded labours in places, and once or twice the juggernaut actually comes close to stalling. Overwritten exposition, often pretentious rather than profound, weighs heavily on a plot that is actually resoundingly linear. (No Cypher-style twist, here.) Underwritten new characters, meanwhile, distract attention from the core group. True obsessives might dedicate internet shrines to the wisdom of The Oracle or the architecture of the Matrix, but the rest of us will doubtless lament the fact that Neo's struggle with superpowers cannot possibly resonate as deeply as his first tumble down the rabbit hole. Not least because, by the credits roll, his journey has barely begun.

There's more: the disorienting Zion-set opening barely feels like a sequel to The Matrix at all, so keen are the Wachoskis to explore their underground city. The rather rushed climax is also confusing, with the episode where Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) infiltrates the power-station so fleeting you might think it was little more than a set-up for a computer game. Oh, it is. The middle hour, however, is the Matrix to the max, and it rocks like a mutha.

Once Neo seeks the Oracle, Reloaded lurches into action and it quickly generates unstoppable momentum. It is not as sleek anymore perhaps, but it is a hulking brute that grips you by the throat and shakes you out of your seat. Where once there was a sly, Sergio Leone-influenced showdown between Agent Smith and Neo, now there is the 'Burly Brawl', a truly lethal combination of special effects and stunt work that unleashes 100 Agent Smiths on an amped-up Neo. (Total photo-realism? Not quite yet. But this is far too much fun to quibble.)

Add the Burly Brawl to a dazzling freeway free-for-all, throw in the Merovignian chateau sword-clash and a half dozen other bits of hand-to-hand business, and you have more than enough five-star thrills for mandatory repeat viewings. Praise for another quantum leap in action should be split between the Wachowskis, Yuen Wo-Ping's wire-team, John Gaeta's effects wizards and a thousand others, but let's not forget the four principal actors. Reeves et al were convincing enough in The Matrix, but the second time around, with the benefit of continuous training, they all kick serious, serious, grade-A ass. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.


Verdict
An unqualified triumph for the many artisans who brought to life some of the most audacious and astonishing action sequences you are likely to see for a decade. A qualified thumbs-up for the auteur siblings, who, at times, seem confused as to what made the first movie so special. A five star experience, though perhaps not a five star film.


Reviewed by Colin Kennedy


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Matrix Reloaded
Empire Star Rating

Quality and exciting sequel..

Matrix reloaded is the 2nd best Matrix film because unlike its sequel its fast paced and pure exciting entertainment from start to finish. Sure the script suffers, could be a little less cliche and characters are reduced as a result as Neo's emphasis but who cares when its this much of a ride ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 10:24, 02 May 2012 | Report This Post


Special mention...

Enter The Matrix was a pretty cool game (not the car levels), and one of the reasons Matrix Reloaded existed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by petethejakey at 10:21, 25 January 2012 | Report This Post


Worst of the 3 (part 2)

And then there’s the Keymaker. Pointless, he’s literally there to open doors which could have been accomplished in any other way without the need to create another character. And then there’s the Architect. The shocking discovery that Neo isn’t the first One and Zion has been destroyed and rebuilt several times before (gasp!) is told in the most boring way possible, by an old fart in a chair talking in a monotone voice with a handy thesaurus nearby. The attack on Zion may not feature ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by petethejakey at 10:04, 25 January 2012 | Report This Post


Worst of the 3 (part 1)

Many people (Empire included) feel that Reloaded is better than Revolutions. I disagree with them. Reloaded has fight scenes, yes. But they are mostly inconsequential. For instance during the Neo VS Smiths’ Battle, Neo can fly away at any moment, or at least hover (not to mention the entire scene is marred by terribly obvious CGI for one particularly long period). However the scene remains the main reason to have seen the movie. The car chase scene is okay, but read below for more. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by petethejakey at 09:59, 25 January 2012 | Report This Post


The Matrix Reloaded Review

A worthy sequel even if it is a little heady and less satifying than the first Matrix. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 16:22, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


Not Able To Compete With The First, But What Film Could?

The Matrix Reloaded is, by all accounts, much much better than expected. But when you have a film as iconic and as widely acclaimed as The Matrix, that's really all you can hope for. The story this time is somewhat more graspable, but still very contrived. Performances are great yet again, and Reeves is pitch-perfect as te would-be messiah. Fight scenes are immaculate, as is an awesome car chase that spans the whole length of a freeway. It lacks the originality of the The Matrix, but has infinit... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 10:23, 09 March 2011 | Report This Post


Best car chase of all time!

Ok lets get the few flaws out of the way first. There is alot of philosophical talk that in the first film was thought provoking but this time round just tedious and often confusing. The scenes set in Zion arent great but it is good to see the fabled city. But when the audience are vrought back inside the Matrix itself this is a five star action thrill ride. Neo is now a semi-god and in his first fight scene he slickly and quickly kicks the crap out of THREE agents, a near unthinkable task in ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stevolegendbauer at 13:30, 13 August 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Matrix Reloaded

Thought it was hilariously overblown head up the arse pretentious bullshit firstime I saw it. Like it quite a bit more now. Even the derided Neo and Trinity sex scene, which while slightly excruciating still is a pretty speacial moment for the characters, grabbing a bit of action while they can, and in the context of the story, it's their last ime ever before they both die. So if it the tone of rthe shag seems a bit 'self important' and even slightly smacking of desperation in tone, that'... More

Posted by jobloffski at 22:41, 06 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Matrix Reloaded

L: theoriginalcynic ching the second one and it still doesn't make sense. It's far too complicated, with the keymaster, the architect telling neo that there's been several 'ones' and several matrix's. The first one is a simple, rescuing slaves from the matrix tale. Why did they have to complicate things? e=2] cle still doesn't make sense. If Morpheus, Trinity and Neo ect... are no longer part of the matrix and they are part of the real world, how can she tell them their destiny? Sur... More

Posted by Virgil Brigman at 15:52, 05 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Matrix Reloaded

ching the second one and it still doesn't make sense. It's far too complicated, with the keymaster, the architect telling neo that there's been several 'ones' and several matrix's. The first one is a simple, rescuing slaves from the matrix tale. Why did they have to complicate things? e=2] cle still doesn't make sense. If Morpheus, Trinity and Neo ect... are no longer part of the matrix and they are part of the real world, how can she tell them their destiny? Surely, as no longer part of... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 13:39, 05 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Matrix Reloaded

Pretty rubbish. When even the fight scenes are boring you know you're onto a loser. The main problem for me was that there wasn't really any dramatic tension. Neo couldn't be killed so the fights etc were pointless, made even more so when he flies off at the end of the big Agent Smith set-piece (why didn't he just fly off when the Smiths first turn up and save himself the energy?). Every time Morpheus or The Architect appeared my heart sank as they ripped any sense of pace out of... More

Posted by Hungrymark at 17:34, 16 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Not that bad

Lets be honest it was just a hollywood action film yes it was a fantastic new storyline and was not seen before BUT the matrix reloaded was just an action film because the only thing that people remember from it are the fight scenes and not the scenes that actually matter to the story ... More

Posted by Dante360 at 16:54, 16 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Not that bad

L: Dante360 The matrix reloaded was a fast paced ball of information and fightscenes with spectacular attention to detail and imaginative combat. Good times. Unfortunately it got bad. In true sequal style it didnt live up too the first one. Yes it expanded on the path of the so called 'one' but was it really needed. For me there was no need for the second film to be soley based on Neo. Yes he is the main character i know but for me not the most interesting. I know its not the same but... More

Posted by max314 at 00:38, 16 September 2009 | Report This Post


Not that bad

The matrix reloaded was a fast paced ball of information and fightscenes with spectacular attention to detail and imaginative combat. Good times. Unfortunately it got bad. In true sequal style it didnt live up too the first one. Yes it expanded on the path of the so called 'one' but was it really needed. For me there was no need for the second film to be soley based on Neo. Yes he is the main character i know but for me not the most interesting. I know its not the same but the spin off game... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dante360 at 15:29, 15 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

Yeah, that's basically it. I know no-one likes to be told they didn't understand something - it's a blow to their pride.  But I think if people put that pride to one side for a second and accept the possibility that they may not have got it completely the first few times they saw it (I know ertainly didn't) then maybe they can start to open up to the possibility of re-evaluating the films. The Wachowskis proved they could do solid, run-of-the-mill entertainment with i], rixeir sc... More

Posted by max314 at 01:11, 15 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

L: sanchia L: max314 there's a difference between the Wachowskis having no idea what to do and people having no idea what was going on.ut I'm glad you liked the bit with the crashing cars. ou agree it is poorly presented then in that if people have no idea what is going on then they didn't translate their ideas to the screen very well /quote] lms were never intended for a passive audience. There are enough of those kinds of films being made. We wanted our audience to... More

Posted by sam89 at 23:53, 14 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

The effects were groundbreaking and, while the acting wasn't winning any Oscars in the near future, it certainly wasn't bad.  Some of the most memorable performances I've ever seen are in that trilogy. ... More

Posted by max314 at 19:23, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

"Write clearly and you will have readers. Write obscurely and you will have commentators" - Camus. The latter seemed to happen with the Matrix sequels. Which could also be said of, say, 2001 or Mulholland Drive so it isn't in bad company on that front. But I liked those films on aesthetic, emotional and visual levels too. I can't say I did for the Matrix sequels. The effects and acting were too mediocre. ... More

Posted by hatebox at 15:18, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

L: sanchia So you agree it is poorly presented then in that if people have no idea what is going on then they didn't translate their ideas to the screen very well /quote] The ideas are there on screen, but it didn't seem to click with certain people.  Which has happened with many accomplished films with artistic ambitions over the years. ... More

Posted by max314 at 13:56, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

L: max314 there's a difference between the Wachowskis having no idea what to do and people having no idea what was going on.ut I'm glad you liked the bit with the crashing cars. o you agree it is poorly presented then in that if people have no idea what is going on then they didn't translate their ideas to the screen very well ... More

Posted by sanchia at 11:41, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

L: Drone L: Q.T I'm sorry, but the Wachowski Brothers went in way over their head. They realised they liked anime and then decided to fuck up possibly the best potential movie franchise ever by churning out The Matrix Reloaded. The special effects are far too overwhelming and you really don't believe a single thing, 'bullet time' has been twisted completely out of proportion and the need to start and finish a conversation with a fight sequence is just moronic e.g. "I'm here to see t... More

Posted by max314 at 11:32, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ouch

L: Q.T I'm sorry, but the Wachowski Brothers went in way over their head. They realised they liked anime and then decided to fuck up possibly the best potential movie franchise ever by churning out The Matrix Reloaded. The special effects are far too overwhelming and you really don't believe a single thing, 'bullet time' has been twisted completely out of proportion and the need to start and finish a conversation with a fight sequence is just moronic e.g. "I'm here to see the oracle" <... More

Posted by Drone at 09:36, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: HIM This was the film that made me join the Empire site all those years ago. I watched it 3 times at the cinema and then I went and watched it on iMAX. I remember being dissapointed first time round but then it got better with subsequent viewings, until after coming out of the iMAX viewing I had all these ideas about where it was going and what was going to happen in Revolutions. So I joined Empire Online to discuss these ideas (and read a plethora of new ones) in the old orange Matrix... More

Posted by max314 at 00:35, 13 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

This was the film that made me join the Empire site all those years ago. I watched it 3 times at the cinema and then I went and watched it on iMAX. I remember being dissapointed first time round but then it got better with subsequent viewings, until after coming out of the iMAX viewing I had all these ideas about where it was going and what was going to happen in Revolutions. So I joined Empire Online to discuss these ideas (and read a plethora of new ones) in the old orange Matrix forum (yes, ... More

Posted by HIM at 10:12, 22 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

I have no problem with people who say they think the film is pretentious, pompous, overblown, bloated crap.  I don't agree (I think the artistic ambition on display is thoroughly laudable) but I can at least UNDERSTAND where people are coming from. But when people say the film is "style over substance" and isn't ""too deep", I'm left wondering what movie people were watching.  Because it sure as hell ain't the one ent to. ... More

Posted by max314 at 20:45, 21 August 2009 | Report This Post


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