Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


One of my all-time favorite movie trilogies is The Matrix. As a movie, I think only the first one stands out as a complete film. The second and third installments feel like one big sequel that builds on the first movie. Taken in totality, the story and the telling of Neo versus the machines suffer from too much smarts and the weight of its own importance. But the three films contain numerous *Scenes I Can Watch Over And Over Again Without Getting Tired Of Them. These are kick-ass fight sequences that are so well staged that I get a visceral kick even after having seen them so many times.

Of course who could forget Bullet Time? When it was first shown in the climactic battle in The Matrix, people’s jaws dropped. Before that scene, Neo and Trinity had a kinetic battle at the building lobby; the non-stop action, the slowing down of the action, and the intricate fight choreography were already brilliantly executed in that heart-pounding sequence. But they were just a front-act to the gasp-inducing surprise that Larry and Andy Wachowski had in store in the rooftop scene.

That shot was so groundbreaking that many copied or parodied it after the movie opened. And that’s why when I watch it now, there is no more of the surprise and shock value that it had when I first saw it.

But there is one particular fight scene in The Matrix Reloaded that gets more and more impressive the more I watch it. It’s the Chateau Fight scene with Neo versus the goons of the Merovingian. It is the perfect blend of action and art. (The still on the left is my most favorite shot in the whole sequence. It still takes my breath away every time I see it.) I particularly love how the pulse pounding music fits the classy surroundings while pushing the action forward. (And the irony isn’t lost on me too—it’s funny how an art-filled location gets trashed by violence that’s almost artful.) The action is relentless, and unlike other fight scenes (most particularly the one with Neo versus a hundred Smiths), this one doesn’t make use of a CGI Keanu.

My most favorite fight choreography in the whole sequence? The one pictured on the left shows Neo twirling weapons with two opponents on both his sides. This particular move made the brawl look more like a graceful dance.

As I’ve said, I find The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions a bit too tedious to watch from beginning to end. But the action sequences especially on Reloaded are definitely repeat-worthy. Whoa.


Martin said...

I know exactly what you mean haha, I can't tell you how much of an impact Trinity's opening scene made on my younger self HAHAHA. #AlamNa

rudeboy said...

Happy to see someone else likes Reloaded, Joel - or at least parts of it.

The graceful action set pieces aside, my own SICWOAOAWGTOT would be the satisfyingly long and cleverly-staged chase/combat scenes on the freeway - one of the most memorable car chase sequences in Hollywood history, IMHO.

Kiks said...

Matrix it is.

And wondrous to have that the asterisked title has its note right in the middle of the text. I immediately went towards the post's end to know what it meant when all I needed was a bit of Keanu slo-mo time on the text to see where it is.

joelmcvie said...

@RUDEBOY: Actually the long and exquisitely executed freeway sequences (all the way until Neo pulls Morpheus and the Keymaster from the exploding trucks) is my second fave from Revolutions. The Chateau battle segues to the Freeway chase, so those two alone are worth the price of admission. Or getting the BluRay. :-)

joelmcvie said...

"There is no spoon. Whoa." ;-)

Follow the white rabbit.