The Matrix Resurrections 'a bit of a rehash'
FILM REVIEW: THE MATRIX: RESURRECTIONS (15) SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: KEANU REEVES, CARRIE ANNE-MOSS, JESSICA HENWICK, YAHYA ABDUL-MATEEN II, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS, JADA PINKETT SMITH, JONATHAN GROFF, PRIYANKA CHOPRA JONAS, TOBY ONWUMERE, MAX RIEMELT, BRIAN J SMITH, ERENDIRA IBARRA, LAMBERT WILSON, CHAD STAHELSKI & CHRISTINA RICCI
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 28 MINS DIRECTOR: LANA WACHOWSKI
The best way to sum up this semi-reboot of the iconic Matrix franchise is that it starts out as the original, turns into Reloaded in the middle – then ends up more like Revolutions.
From that you can probably ascertain it commences promisingly and ends up being a bit, well, meh – pretty much like the original trilogy.
This fourth instalment – after an eighteen-year hiatus – sees Lana (the former Larry) Wachowski return to the directing chair without her sister Lilly (formerly Andy), and the first hour or so really does set an intriguing premise, and introduces some charismatic new characters/actors to the series.
Keanu Reeves returns as Thomas Anderson, a successful video game developer of The Matrix – based on his faint lingering memories of his time as Neo. In this seemingly ‘normal’ world he continues to cross paths with Tiffany (the also returning Carrie-Anne Moss) – a married mum of two with no recollection of her past endeavours – in which Thomas has subconsciously based his lead character of Trinity on.
He’s also continuing to take ‘blue’ pills prescribed by his therapist – the movie-stealing Neil Patrick Harris – as he struggles to separate the perceived reality from dreams portraying his previous exploits.
But when his ‘sandbox’ world (called a modal) in his gaming creation starts running an old code – depicting when Trinity first found Neo in the Matrix – a girl named ‘Bugs’ (a noteworthy Jessica Henwick) discovers a program embodying Neo’s mentor Morpheus (Candyman’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II replacing Laurence Fishburne), and they combine forces to try and extract Thomas ‘Neo’ Anderson from the Matrix before a new version of Agent Smith (Jonathan Groff) can erase the modal.
Enter the ‘red’ pill, and Neo – the legendary prophesised ‘One’ – returns to the ‘real’ world where sixty years has passed since the end of the Machine War where he sacrificed himself.
With human survivors and ‘defected’ machines in somewhat harmony among the new home metropolis of Io – led by the returning Jada Pinkett Smith’s now elderly Niobe – Neo soon discovers his re-emergence threatens the fabric of the current world with exiled programs (such as Agent Smith) looking to restore the Matrix to its former glory.
But the main plot thread is based around Neo’s attempts to rescue Trinity – who were both resurrected for research by human-psyche-studying The Analyst – which basically sees Neo (who is slowly regaining his superpowers) trying to convince her Tiffany iteration that she really is his former love.
Sadly, this is where the film is at its weakest – in the final third – after all the hard work put into its initially mouth-watering set-up, and ends up being a bit of a re-hash. There’s only so many times Neo can keep deflecting bullets.
And despite earlier high spots – mainly from messrs Patrick Harris and Henwick – Resurrections ends up feeling a little bit of a hollow exercise as we go from initial exhilaration to repetitive ho-hum. Which leaves this fourth instalment ‘revolving’ the Matrix instead of ‘evolving’ it – even though it’s still a credible attempt at a resurrection.
By Gavin Miller