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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Matrix

A great-looking action film

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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April 4, 1999 -- An incredibly powerful and complex computer program operated by artificial intelligence has enslaved the human race. How do we stop this menace? Do we disable the computer system with a virus? Do we attack the computer itself, or its power supply, or those who operate it? No, we use kung fu, of course!

"The Matrix" is a movie with this basic premise, but as silly as it sounds, it is one of the best-looking action movies I have ever seen. It has incredible special effects and wonderfully choreographed fight sequences. The fights were staged by Yuen Wo Ping, a veteran fight coordinator and Hong Kong action film director. He studied at the Peking Opera, and studie kung fu under his father, Yuen Siu Tin, who also taught a guy named Jackie Chan. The fight scenes even include some gestures seemingly included as a small aknowlegement to the contributions Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee made to this genre.

The film stars Keanu Reeves as Thomas "Neo" Anderson. Reeves is probably best known for his starring role in another action film, "Speed." Here, he shows that action hero capability again. Veteran actor Laurence Fishburne ("Othello") anchors this film with a rock solid performance as the rebel leader Morpheus. Reeves' love interest is played by newcomer Carrie-Anne Moss ("Dark Justice" TV series) who plays computer hacker-turned rebel Trinity.

While "The Matrix" does have a murky, illogical plot, it is an ambitious film that questions the very nature of reality. It reminds us that we can be deceived if we rely on only our five senses. At the same time it challenges our vision with stunning images. If this film had ideas to match its images it might be the greatest film of all time. Unfortunately, the plot does not hold up. It is a heck of a visual thrill ride, however. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]