The Matrix

A futuristic kung-fu fantasy with terrific stunts and a stunted scripteanu Reeves plays Neo, a computer hacker who thinks he's living in the twentieth century but is really a pawn in a giant virtual-reality game controlled by twenty-second-century programmers. Dude! Damned if I can explain more about this muddled mind-bender, except to say that Neo is recruited by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) to join her leader, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), in a rebellion against those who would enslave them. If fashion dictates choosing sides, it's a lock for the kinky rebels who wear black leather and cool shades.

Mucho bucks have been spent on this silliness courtesy of Die Hard producer Joel Silver, who had the wit to hire Larry and Andy Wachowski — the prankster brothers behind the indie hit Bound — to write and direct. Silver also had the nerve to put his stars through four months of training under Hong Kong wire-stunt expert Yuen Wo Ping, the mentor of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, who turns Keanu and company into high-flying kung-fu krazies. The Matrix soars with its feet in the air — the rest crash-lands.

From The Archives Issue 811: April 29, 1999