The Matrix: Revolutions

As “The Matrix: Revolutions” parades through theaters, it now becomes apparent that creators, Andy and Larry Wachowski, the Emperors of Gucci trench coats and bullet time, have no clothes. They’re working from the same blueprint, perhaps believing that with enough money and visual razzle dazzle they’ll be able to obscure the fact that they’re basically telling the same story.

How distressing to put your everything you have, heart and soul, blood, sweat and tears and the last original frame of imagination in your gray matter, into a project, only to be told it’s not enough. When asked to repeat the success of the original “Matrix,” Andy and Larry fooled everyone into believing they had more, much more, to offer. Who else would take on not one but two sequels when they barely had enough good material for one film? Con men, that’s who.

Hey, even I can set a crappy magician on fire. He might be performing the same old dull tricks but all the audience sees is the smoke and flames. That’s pretty much what you get with “The Matrix: Revolutions,” the final and weakest film in the series. The story has become so supercilious all that’s left is the light show, and with a little Jack Daniels and a bong hit, those computer- generated critters try hard to make up for a lack of clear vision, character development or any degree of common sense.

More of a fashion show for Goth’s looking for this year’s mass murder wardrobe, “Revolutions” looks sharp and expensive, but like a car, it is what’s under the hood that counts. This film has no get up, but it does have plenty of go. Even though it’s shorter than the first two films, “Revolutions” goes on forever. Why? Because writers Andy and Larry have nothing new to say. They keep repeating themselves, and after a while it becomes tiresome. I eventually got to a point where I just wanted these characters to die to put them and us out their misery.

Back when the Wachowski’s still had vision (I was never a fan of “The Matrix,” but at least it held my interest), their characters were as important as the world they inhabited. Now they act as human bridges to that make-believe world, soulless, lifeless conduits.

Pre “Matrix,” The Wachowski’s made an impressive debut with a brilliant slice of film noir called “Bound,” a small, skillfully etched character study that demanded that we like (even root for) the bad guys (gals). As writers, how the brothers were able to differentiate between the varying cross sections of bad guys was a master stroke of great plotting.

They’re not nearly as clever or resourceful with “The Matrix” films, where they paint an obvious line between good and evil. Machines bad, people good. Got it the first time, when computer hacker Neo (Keanu Reeves) was recruited as “The One,” the only person who can defend what remains of humanity against “The Matrix,” an alliance of machines that have enslaved and are powered by the souls of humans. The machine’s lines of defense include sentinels, sent out to uncover the last pockets of civilization (which according to “Reloaded,” still included all-night Raves), and a computer generated agent named Smith (Hugo Weaving).

One sign that the Wachowski’s were digging at the bottom of their creative well is when they cloned Agent Smith in “Reloaded.” Hey, if one Agent Smith is bad, then 1,000 must be 1,000 times as menacing? Try 1,000 times more boring. The script for “Revolutions” has about as much surprise as a sixth season episode of “Married with Children.”

In their defense, the actors look tired and confused. There’s a complete lack of conviction, as if the actor’s have resigned themselves to performing against a green screen rather than an original or challenging idea. What was once cool is now colder than an Eskimo’s toilet seat. Even the once groundbreaking visual effects look like yesterday’s news, and yesterday was a bad day for visual effects.

Gone is the “Alice Through the Looking Glass” sensibilities of the first film, where Neo, like the audience, was a stranger in a strange land, and it was all about discovery and loss of innocence. Like “Reloaded,” “Revolutions” is mostly about people chasing other people, stopping every ten minutes or so to make a speech. Like “Reloaded,” it’s all just pseudo-nonsense, an excuse to spend wads of money and sell video games.


“Matrix” Emperors have no clothes


Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary Alice, Monica Bellucci. Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski. Rated R. 129 Minutes.


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