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Effects have little effect on ‘Matrix’ sequel’s critics

PURE EYE CANDY

Gary Moskowitz is the education reporter for the News-Press, the

Leader’s sister publication.

I always get the same reaction when I tell people I hated “The

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Matrix.”

“What? Are you crazy? Why? How could you hate that movie?”

And I always tell them the same thing -- “The Matrix” and its

newly released sequel, “The Matrix Reloaded” are high-tech,

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well-polished, new and improved, sexier versions of the same idea

behind John Carpenter’s 1988 flop, “They Live.” That awful but

hilarious movie stars “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who learns that

skeleton-faced aliens are controlling the city of Los Angeles

through subliminal advertising. He learns this when he stumbles upon

a special pair of sunglasses that allows him to see what’s really

going on.

To me, it’s the same premise, just with less attractive actors,

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horrible special affects and some of the worst fight scenes captured

on celluloid.

“Matrix Reloaded” is what I like to call “over the top” and “out

of control” moviemaking. Nearly every scene is crammed full of

computer-generated images of buildings and cars exploding, or actors

like Keanu Reeves flying through the air or fighting off several

hundred enemies at once.

The thing to remember is that “Matrix Reloaded” is not a movie

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about real characters we can connect to, and it’s not a story that

has depth of emotion or real human drama. The movie is two hours of

pure eye candy and visual and audio stimuli that completely takes you

out of reality from the minute the opening credits roll.

The sequel has some of the most amazing chase scenes and fight

scenes I have ever seen. People fight on top of moving vehicles on

the freeway as cars explode and launch into the air all around them.

I’ll admit, I found myself driving faster and more aggressively in

traffic after I left the theater.

Oddly enough, the movie also features an erotic party scene during

which hundreds of sweaty, tan-skinned, scantily-clad people dance in

an underground cavern to the sounds of loud, electronic dance- club

music. I can’t figure out why this scene was in the movie, but I’m

not complaining.

I’m glad I saw “Matrix Reloaded,” and I’m even more glad I caught

it at a matinee price.

COOL MARTIAL-ARTS ACTION

Ryan Carter is the business and politics reporter for the

News-Press, the Leader’s sister publication.

I left the theater Saturday night after “The Matrix Reloaded” with

two questions: If the title refers to a gun barrel, was the gun ever

empty? And if the title refers instead to reloading a computer

program, did the program ever need to be changed?

I kind of liked the original program. This one had a few glitches.

I give the sequel a B-minus.

Indeed, “Reloaded” has been reloaded with a lot of stunning action

that makes the first one -- with more of a cerebral emphasis on the

tension between humanity and its slave relationship with a computer

program -- seem like there were no bullets in the barrel, if you go

by special effects.

This film, with its big scenes of the masses of a city on the

brink of extinction and super-hero- epic tendencies, was in danger of

falling into the too-big-for-itself basket from the get-go.

What saved it from a C? It came down to Laurence Fishburne’s

acting and salvaging the vital elements of the original “Matrix,”

cool martial-arts action, a great style, and a waning but still-alive

ability to make us question our conceptions of human liberation and

freedom.

Neo, played adequately by Keanu Reeves, might be the superhero of

our age, but Fishburne’s honesty, and the passion in his role as

Morpheus, kept it real.

He’s not “The One,” but he sure acts like it. I won’t be rushing

out to see this “Matrix” again, but it was worth the admission.

The Matrix Reloaded” is rated R for sci-fi violence and some

sexuality.

* If you would like to see a movie on the newspaper’s tab, become

a Reel Critic by calling entertainment editor Joyce Rudolph at

637-3241.


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