(By Gerry Wang)
(Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fisburne; directed by the
by Gerry Wang
"F- me in the *bleep*, THE MATRIX was
an awesome movie!"
___________________________________-- Gerry Wang
_____There, that's the
quote I want the LA Times to put on the THE MATRIX
advertisement. It was so good that I am willing to incur
Rice's wrath to express how much I liked it. And I bet if
you go watch it, you'll be going "*bleep* me!"
in awe and wonderment. Before the censorship gods blast
lightning down on my stupid ass, let me tell you why I
felt THE MATRIX was so good that only my foul mouth can
put into words how cool it was.
_____Actually, I think
Harry Knowles of Ain't-It-Cool-News said it best: "I
wanted some time before I wrote my review [of THE MATRIX]
to digest it, because when I came out of the theater I
was a blithering idiot frothing at the mouth striving for
the orgasmic language with which to describe the
movie." Classic Harry, whom you can check out at
_____Don't get me
wrong, I'm usually not a fan of sci-fi movies unless
there is the word "Star" in the title, and
either the name "Lucas" or
"Roddenberry" is attached. Remember all those
horrific cyber/sci-fi movies that came out recently?
JOHNNY MNEMONIC (starring Keanu Reeves, btw), HACKERS,
EVENT HORIZON (starring Laurence Fisburne, btw), SPHERE,
SOLDIER..... all those movies sucked ass. And although
I'm a geek-dweeb, I'm just not inclined to spend money
watching a sci-fi flick just to see f/x. I still need a
good story and some good acting and especially a good
script. Fortunately, THE MATRIX had all these qualities,
and I believe this movie single-handedly revived the
_____I was skeptical of
watching THE MATRIX at first. The trailer was very
ambiguous, and I never really dug anything Keanu did
since SPEED. But positive reviews and good word-of-mouth
finally convinced me to give it a try. As of now,
04/05/99, THE MATRIX was the number one box office draw.
It seems a lot of people are like me. They went to watch
it because of all the buzz surrounding it. But hot-damn
it was sure worth my 5 bucks.
_____THE MATRIX was
written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers, who also
made the lesbo-heist movie BOUND, which I enjoyed. The
Wachowskis have a real flair w/ the camera. And w/ THE
MATRIX, it came out in full force. THE MATRIX was
deliriously frenetic in its pacing, dynamically visual in
its special effects, and dizzyingly spectacular in its
scope. You can't ask for anything more in a movie.
_____It combines all
the aspects of an epic: mythology, hero's quest,
fulfillment of prophecy, final battle between good and
evil, omnipotent villain.... It also has a delicious
blend of martial arts mixed w/ gun-fighting, reminiscent
of John Woo and other Hong Kong movies. THE MATRIX is
like a tribute to the Asian kung fu action flicks.
There's lots of flying-through-the-air Street Fighter
kicks, gravity-defying climbing on the walls, super-high
jumps, ultra-quick punching and kicking and dodging....
in fact, if I didn't know otherwise, I would've thought
THE MATRIX was an Asian movie.
_____THE MATRIX takes
place in what we think is 1999, but is really 2199. By
the 23nd Century, the human race will have lost a war
with the AI (Artificial Intelligence) machines they
created. As a measure to cut off the energy supply the
human Resistance has blocked out the sun. The AI machines
decide harvest humans as a source of energy instead, and
to keep them unconscious, all the humans are hooked up to
a vast virtual reality system called the Matrix. There,
they live ordinary lives like you and me. All the while
the AI machines rule the Earth in the 22nd Century, which
looks like a barren wasteland with only remnants of
cities remaining. The last of the human Resistance has
retreated underground to the last remaning haven, called
Zion. Imagine that, what we think is our real lives in
fact is all fake and made up. And this could actually be
happening to us. How would we know? We could be living in
a virtual dimension, oblivious to reality. History as we
know it could could in fact all be fabricated. Pretty
_____This realization falls upon Neo
(Keanu Reeves), a hacker within the virtual universe. Neo
leads a regular life working for a software company, but
one day he is contacted by an enigma named Morpheus
(Laurence Fisburne). All of a sudden, Neo's world as he
knows it comes crashing down, as Morpheus reveals the
truth to him. Morpheus tells Neo that he is the
_____Neo is the Savior
of a Prophecy that foretells the end of the AI dominion.
Back in the real world, that is, the world where the
humans are kept in capsules that harvest generated energy
in endless fields mined by spider-like AI monsters,
Morpheus is an outlaw being hunted down by the AI Matrix.
Morpheus is basically the leader of the Rebellion, and a
very important figure. He heads a team of crusaders and
captains a ship, the Nebuchadnezzar, where they live
since the sun's been blocked and the surface is too cold.
Oh man, those jelly-fish Sentinel machines assigned to
hunt down the Nebuchadnezzar are freakin' menacing as
hell. They have all these tentacles and many glowing red
eyes. Terrifying. I was gonna sh-t my pants.
_____In the virtual
world, the Matrix has these super-human agents that are
meant to squash any potential candidates of the Chosen
One position. These agents are the villains, these
virtual-reality "Men in Black" that just drip
with venom. There is a main villain/agent named Agent
Smith that looks like Scott Brosius. All of the agents
are awesome at hand to hand combat, and cannot be killed
my regular humans. No one can match their speed and
strength, not even Morpheus. The only one who can face
these agents is the Chosen One.
_____But Neo isn't
ready yet. He is still skeptical of his role, but
proceeds to train for confrontation with the enemy. The
training sequences are really cool. All training is
conducted through virtual reality and computer programs.
This part is so dope. To learn kung fu like Tae Bo, Tae
Kwon Do, and Drunken Boxing, all they have to do is pop
in a disk that loads directly to the brain. Sweet huh?
_____But even though
you have the ability and knowledge, you must still know
how to harness this power and use it correctly. You still
have to believe in yourself. This is what Neo gradually
learns throughout the movie. In the end he KNOWS he is
the Chosen One, and can kick any agent's ass. Neo is the
Savior who will save humankind. He can see through the
Matrix's code. You can actually sense the fear of the AIs
as Keanu deftly dodges bullets and bicycle-kicks the
agents' asses. Once again, I must applaud the use of kung
fu in a sci-fi movie. It totally rocks. THE MATRIX is the
best sci-fi/martial arts movie since BIG TROUBLE IN
_____One aspect of THE
MATRIX I really liked was its characters. The character
of Neo, the hero, undergoes a huge life-changing
transition, and learns that he has the daunting role of
being the Chosen One. We see him fail at first. He can't
leap buildings in a single bound. He can't whup Morpheus'
ass at kung fu. He gets manhandled by the agents, shot by
_____The character of
Morpheus just oozes cool. He has sunglasses that stay on
with just the lenses. In fact, everyone has sunglasses. I
guess in the future everyone wants to look hard. Everyone
also has nice leather suits. Morpheus' leather trench
coat looked very GQ. Anyways, there's this mystery
surrounding Morpheus, but as we get to know him, we see
that he is one tough leader of the humans. It's his faith
in Neo that saves the world.
romantic interest of Neo is a woman named Trinity, who
was also recruited by Morpheus. She falls in love w/ Neo,
and also saves his butt a couple times. She kicks ass
too. Like Jade in Mortal Kombat. But the actress
portraying Trinity does a good job at showing the
restrained anguish of the character who is torn between
the Prophecy and her love. She wasn't that good looking
though. Shoulda had Kelly Hu or Catherine Zeta-Jones, or
any high-kicking bombshell. If you don't know who Kelly
Hu is, she's from MARTIAL LAW and NASH BRIDGES. Check her
out. She's a headbuster.
_____But one of the most intruiging
characters is the Oracle, part of the mythological
aspects of THE MATRIX. I'm expecting some hologram and
monotone voice, but it ends up being a black lady in
ghetto. How original is that? That's one thing I loved
about THE MATRIX. It didn't hesitate to do something
outrageous and daring, yet completely original. Who
woulda thought the mystical Oracle, whom everyone regards
w/ reverence and awe is Aunt Jimima? The Wachowski
Brothers have a nose for cool.
_____I also loved the
over-the-top acting. The actors made you truly believe
that we're in a virtual world. The way Agent Smith hissed
every word like a snake made him sound so vile, so
loathsome. That was a great character. All of the
characters were great. They were all chic, kinda like how
the MOD SQUAD wished they're characters were like.
MATRIX is not w/o its weaknesses. They coulda used
someone besides Keanu Reeves as Neo. When Keanu was doing
his kung fu, he just wasn't that convincing. He had a
"What the hell am I doing" look on his face the
whole time. Plus he looked a little too slight of build.
He needed to beef up those arms. THE MATRIX could've used
an Asian actor, but he woulda messed up the English,
which would totally kill the movie. But imagine seeing
Jet Li doing the ass-kicking. Would be so sweet! Even
Wesley Snipes woulda done a better job, except he's
black, and THE MATRIX already exhausted its black quota
w/ Laurence Fisburne. Brandon Lee would've been
absolutely perfect. Too bad he's deceased; God rest his
_____Another weakness I
saw was the lack of a famous actor as a head badass
agent. We could used someone we'd identify with as a
villain. This would make Neo's triumph more fulfilling.
Instead of Scott Brosius, wouldn't the guy from T2 have
been better? We already view him as a cyberkiller. Oh
well, I'm nitpicking, because the actor being Agent Smith
was pretty good.
_____Overall, I found
THE MATRIX to be one of the best movies of the year. Not
because I'm a guy and I enjoy action films, but THE
MATRIX had the complete package as a movie. The plot was
smart, the acting was good, and the f/x were top notch. I
guarantee THE MATRIX will become a cult-classic on the
level of BLADE RUNNER. I can't wait till the video game
comes out. Imagine that. A Mission Impossible cross-bred
with Street Fighter, Rainbow Six, and X-Com. I believe
I'm also "frothing at the mouth."
***1/2 of out 4
Babe-o-meter: 1- I am limp. (Either I'm impotent, or I
haven't seen any good babe movies in a while. Haven't
seen CRUEL INTENTIONS yet though. Cinematic Viagra,
The scale is as follows:
* 4-- Greek Goddesses (Highest)- Some nice, delicious
honeys; i.e. Jenny McCarthy
* 3-- Lovely- Pretty girls, but not knockouts; i.e.
* 2-- Semi Do-able- Middle of the road type of girls;
i.e. Jennie Garth
* 1-- I am limp (Lowest)- Butt ugly banshees; i.e. my sis
Jennifer Wang =)