“THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS”
Rated R. In AMC Boston Common, Regal Fenway, AMC South Bay and suburban theaters.
“The Matrix Resurrections” is an unholy mess. Was there a reason to make another “Matrix” movie after the failures of “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (both 2003)? Perhaps a reboot with a new cast and creative team could have been warranted over 20 years after the original. But this sequel directed by original trilogy co-director Lana Wachowski and written by her and her “Sense8” co-writers David Mitchel and Aleksander Hemon is nothing short of abysmal.
In this iteration, Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a computer game designer from San Francisco, whose boss (Jonathan Groff) tells him that – meta alert – Warner Brothers, their corporate overlord, wants a sequel to the “trilogy of computer games” “The Matrix” or other. The audience at the screening I attended laughed it off. The next thing you know, a group of men in suits, wearing sunglasses, open fire on a ragtag team led by blue-haired Bugs (Englishman Jessica Henwick of “Sense8”), who has a tattoo white rabbit on his arm. She meets a younger version of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).
Meanwhile, Anderson, whose therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) keeps him supplied with blue pills, meets a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss), who is a Trinity lookalike. When Morpheus offers Anderson a red pill to open his mind to The Matrix, the real action begins. But what is this action if not a constant and pointless retelling of the plot of the original film, found in short clips, on an endless loop of insignificant and poorly put fight scenes on stage ?
“The Matrix Resurrections,” like the much better “No Time to Die,” is a series of fight and chase sequences tied together by a familiar plot and characters. Cinema is now chasing its own tail. In “The Matrix Resurrections”, hundreds of bullets are fired without reaching their target. This immediately becomes the movie’s biggest joke.
Henwick swallows half of her dialogue, leaving you wondering what she’s talking about. Well, whatever. Neo, as Anderson is known in The Matrix, keeps talking about his “module”. He might as well talk about his mojo, which is non-existent.
While getting shot, Bugs and his cohorts run up the walls, as if they couldn’t be shot while doing so. The black cat from “The Matrix” is back, as are “bullet time” and “wire-fu.” There are trademark portals through mirrors (hail Lewis Carroll), windows and doors, and montages of action taking place in different areas simultaneously. At one point, it rains bodies.
Jada Pinkett Smith returns in old age makeup as Niobe. Priyanka Chopra Jonas appears as the adult Sati (okay?). Reeves and Moss don’t have much to add to their previous incarnations. The Machines remain the secret enemy in “The Matrix Resurrections”, and the image of Neo in his pod, where he is awakened to the truth of his pathetic existence, still holds power.
Just in time for that other “Dune” white savior movie comes this new “Matrix.” In 1999, “The” Matrix “was a real cyberpunk sensation. Although its ideas were mostly drawn from the work of visionary Philip K. Dick, the original film was revolutionary in its own way. This new “Matrix” is a sub- product of the corporate status quo. The film industry has been taken over by the Machines, and this new “Matrix” is a film made by and for their benefit. Get back to your pods.
(“The Matrix Resurrections” contains violence and profanity.)