The Matrix Revolutions

At the risk of understatement, The Matrix Revolutions sucks. It's not that the final chapter in the trilogy doesn't have stunts and visual wizardry to drop your jaw. It's just that it all adds up to a supersize nothing: "the big bubkis," to lift a bit of Yiddish from the script by Andy and Larry Wachowski.

You don't have to be an Oracle to know Revolutions will make a pile, as did the bloated Reloaded, the first sequel, released in May. Who doesn't want to see what happens to Neo (Keanu Reeves), the One chosen to liberate men from machines? To all but fanatics, though, the disappointment is crushing. Cliched, repetitive, recycled from other movies and high on its own grandiosity, Revolutions picks up with Neo as he's caught between the real world and the Matrix. It's up to Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who shares Neo's thing for kinky latex, to rescue him. To do so, she and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) scorpion-kick the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson), the French Little Nicky. Then Neo is off to see the Oracle (the wonderful Mary Alice, replacing the late Gloria Foster).

Back in Zion, the humans climb into mechanical contraptions, like the one Sigourney Weaver used in Aliens, to face the attack of the clones (I mean, sentinels). It's a fourteen-minute scene and the highlight of the movie. But would you believe this? Neo sits it out. That's right, he and Trinity fly to Machine City to talk to the big giant head about a truce. Only Morpheus and Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith), his ex-lover, are more out of it. They're piloting a tin-can hovercraft through a sewer line, shaking their bodies to mimic a bumpy ride in a scene that would shame Ed Wood.

Everything leads up to the Super Burly Brawl in the rain between Neo and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), who has replicated himself enough to populate a small city. I stand firm in my admiration for Weaving. Just to hear him say "Mr. Anderssssson" is a creepy thrill. But I think I've seen one Smith too many. Even a classic shot of Neo's fist connecting to Smith's face feels like an echo. Poor Keanu. As tragedies pile up — one is straight out of The English Patient — Neo sobs with body-wracking emotion. To put it kindly, this is not playing to Reeves' strengths.

As for the big-payoff ending — the equivalent of a Viking funeral — it reduces the Wachowskis' take on the Judeo-Christian ethic to Hollywood gloss. Cueing the music, the sunshine and the hint of another sequel can't distract us from the fact that nothing is revealed. Neo, dude, you blew it.

From The Archives Issue 389: February 17, 1983