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Director: Lana Wachowski
Writers: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell and Aleksander Hemon
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Christina Ricci, Telma Hopkins, Eréndira Ibarra, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Brian J. Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith
3.5 out of 5 stars
Runtime: 148 mins
Release date: 22 December in Singapore and Malaysia
I can't even fathom that the first Matrix film was made almost 22 years ago and changed our assumptions of what an action film should be like. It has influenced many big blockbusters since then, with sequences filmed around elaborate fight scenes.
Now, after serving us three films – The Matrix (1999), The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (also in 2003) – director Lana Wachowski dives back into the realm that made her and co-director Lily famous.
Like any other reboots, do we need to go down another rabbit hole? Warner Bros. thinks so and even takes a jab at themselves unabashedly.
We're also well aware that rebooting a well-loved film has its risks; we may even lose sight of what made the characters fascinating in the first place.
But as a fan, this movie was made for me in mind. Resurrections is unapologetically romantic, and has a handful of action scenes to keep me at the edge of my seat.
Minor spoilers ahead
In Resurrections, Thomas Anderson (played by Keanu Reeves) is a famous programmer and a suicide survivor trapped in the vicious cycle of the daily grind in a world that doesn't make sense to him. He bumps into a mum of two played by Carrie-Anne Moss in a cafe, and they instantly felt a collection. Bugs, played by a new-gen runner Jessica Henwick (who chose Resurrections over Shang-chi), finds him and plucks Anderson out of his supposed reality with the help of Morpheus, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Anderson then has to make a choice: the red pill or the blue pill, and the show takes off from there.
As the film trods on, viewers are served with flashbacks and nostalgia from the previous Matrix films in a warmer hue setting, a stark difference from the original films' dark green-toned colour palette. It lacked the grittiness of its predecessors, but it worked to the film's core love story.
"Nothing comforts anxiety like a little nostalgia," Abdul-Mateen II's Morpheus says in the film. However, this choice may have worked against its thematic resonance as it starts to get tired. We are reminded constantly with clips from previous films, with one set that reminds us of a 90's MTV music video clip. Give us more action scenes pronto!
Thank goodness for Reeves' and Moss' chemistry on screen as Neo and Trinity, and the new actors that shine through with an enigma. Hendrick's character exudes a sense of hope that ties the film perfectly. At the same time, Agent Smith (played by Jonathan Groff) delivers punchy lines and kick-ass fight scenes in an abandoned building with Neo. Even Abdul Mateen II's impression of Morpheus is perfect to a T (although Lawrence Fishburne is deeply missed here).
Reeves, who has cemented his status as the bonafide leading actor and Internet's Best Boyfriend, navigates us into the second half of the film. This is where we see the arc of Neo's and Trinity's romance fleshed out in Resurrections. Can the human spirit and love overcome doubt? Truth to be told, this is Wachowski's love letter to Neo and Trinity, and we're all here to watch the possibilities of love unfold.
Overall, The Matrix Resurrections may feel like a familiar premise with a clunky start, but Wachowski is not here to create a sequel cash-grab; she intends to tell one story, and one story indeed, by stepping away from Hollywood's constant need of regurgitating the same stories, whilst attracting Gen Z fans who may resonate with the film's themes.
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