Keanu Reeves returns in The Matrix Resurrections, but this time he’s battling neural parasites. It’s a battle that comes too late to stop the Wachowskis from creating the Master’s last dreamworld and devising a way to break free of it, or of virtual reality altogether.
All is lost when the Matrix blacks out just in time for a young woman (Rihanna) to prove her courage as she plays the piano, drives a sports car and learns to strip and pole dance. But then the benevolent Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) commands her to “trigger the matrix,” and her greatest childhood dream comes true — an electrical flash, the audio of a bull fighter, and more flashing lights led her to a perfect illusion world where the real world had gone to hell. When the world’s cyborgs, the rebels known as The Criminals, arrive, they are quickly disrupted and persecuted in the near future.
Given Keanu Reeves’ storied career, it seems slightly strange that the writer-director siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski saw fit to put Reeves back in the Wachowski matrix. The Matrix sequels were revelatory when they were released, and the not-yet-staged movie The Matrix Revolutions (which came out two years before this new one) was an outstanding final entry. But Reeves’ performance was solid but ultimately run-of-the-mill, and it’s a shame they haven’t allowed him to simply co-exist alongside his co-stars and move on to other projects.
Director Lana Wachowski, along with producer sister Andy, has made only a few movies since. The Last Witch Hunter opened in 2015, and the Wachowskis directed Jim Carrey in 2012’s The Extra Man, but this movie is the one in which they seem closest to their former self. This is an effects-intensive and relentless chase story that feels smarter than most Hollywood thrillers, and, while some of the fight scenes feel a little sloppily edited, the clever and pulpy twists and turns are enjoyable.