In a summer that has brought us an onslaught of movies that have dealt with what is real and what isn't, the Matrix is by far the flashiest and most violent. It's also probably the dumbest, but not because it's bad (which it isn't), but because the others are so much better. Other movies like Open Your Eyes, eXistenZ, Run Lola Run, and Twice Upon A Yesterday all have similar themes of the characters messing with reality, and all are done much better. But the Matrix probably isn't meant to be cerebral, just to be a big bad shoot em up, with lots of computer generated special effects on the side.

Keanu Reeves is a computer programmer, who also is a hacker who goes by the name of Neo. One day, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) contacts him, and tells him that the world we live in is not real at all. It is much further in the future than Neo thought, and the world has been overrun. Morpheus thinks that Neo is the person destined to be the one to save humanity. Carrie Anne Moss is Trinity, another member of Morpheus' group of freedom fighters. The ending of the movie seems abrupt, but that's because this is the first movie of a planned trilogy. The second installment is getting ready to be filmed in Australia.

This is the second movie from the Wachowski brothers, who brought us Bound a couple of years ago. This movie is extremely different from that one. They took their love of comic books and crafted it into the Matrix, which has all the elements necessary. Big strong hero, allies, powerful enemies, and lots of fighting. The martial arts effects here are spectacular. They combine the use of wire harnesses (commonly used for years in Asian cinema) together with the multiple camera panning effects present in GAP commercials to make some truly breathtaking fight scenes. Reeves seemes to be suspened in the air, ready to kick the hell out of Fishburne. Reeves is usually mocked for his staccato delivery of lines, but it serves him well as Neo.

This movie would be better, but it seems to mirror Dark City, a movie released a couple of years ago starring Rufus Sewell and Jennifer Connelly. Thus, any originality Matrix may have had seems not so original. It makes you wonder whether or not the Wachowski brothers saw the film or not before they wrote the Matrix. The theme of both movies are very similar. Someone discovers that the world that they live in is not quite what it seems. Both Reeves and Sewell are unique, and are the only ones who can make things right. The character development of both is also remarkably similar, with endings that seem to mimic each other. Dark City has special effects, but the Matrix definitely blows it out of the water in that department. But Dark City is smarter, keeping you in the dark for a while before slowing unveiling its true story before you.

Haro rates it: Okay
2 hours, 30 minutes, Rated R for violence and language.

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