Category Archives: Zero stars

The Hangover Part III (2013)

the-hangover-3-poster3

Zero stars out of 4.

The success of the Hangover pictures is built entirely on the premise of seeing the members of the “Wolfpack” find themselves in the weirdest and deepest of hot water while attempting to find their way back to reality. In the first sequel this involved running through Bangkok in a textbook exercise of mimicking a hit first film to the letter minus any character development. Thankfully for this third installment a new direction was established…or perhaps I’m getting too far ahead of myself.

Hangover 3 resembles not the earlier pictures or a narrative at all. What Hangover 3 is instead of a series of increasingly debaucherous mishaps is merely the beginnings of a narrative first act. This is one of the biggest doses of filler to come out of a studio in some time. What the film resembles is a contractually obligated sequel where those involved were out of ideas and did not want to return. So they decide to shake things up after the criticism over repeating themselves.

The problem is that they had nothing to go on. The story has our protagonists come under the thumb of a cartoonish drug lord (John Goodman) who kidnaps the always kidnapped Doug (Justin Bartha) in exchange for the Wolfpack finding the ever snakelike Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong).  What follows is a long uneventful series of setups with no payoff whatsoever. The entire premise of this franchise that should have never been is the mishaps that occur after one long and beyond rowdy night of partying. That is the reason why the audience shells out the money for admission. And instead of giving them what they want or truly doing something different, Hangover 3 merely does nothing.

This is a dark comedy that forgets to include either the darkness or the comedy. Nor is there any real drama or characterization beyond the names and faces. What is additionally off-putting is that the overall tone is extremely mean without any context.  The first two pictures had their moments of tension but this sequel seems to want to go down a darker path, yet leaves out any reason or meaning for doing so. If one were to remove all of the instances where variations of the most used phrase “What the f***?”  are uttered, this already overlong 100 minute waste would be a far more manageable ten minutes if even that long.

There is only one standout sequence, and a horribly short one at that. The boys have discovered Mr. Chow is hiding in the penthouse suite atop Caesar’s Palace and devise an insanely stupid plan to break in via bedsheet rope from the roof. The sequence is executed with enough thought to actually invoke some participation from one’s mind which has been on bored autopilot up to this point, and give some more than badly needed characterization to people we no longer give a damn about. Once inside there is some energy to the editing which lasts for all of 30 seconds and then we descend back into stupid pointless zone for the rest of this beyond tired exercise. (While managing to waste the usage of what may be the best ever Black Sabbath song. )

You would find it hard for a sequel to be any more tasteless or dumb than Hangover 2, but Hangover 3 manages to accomplish this goal by the simplest means possible. There is no inspiration in any shot of this waste of an hour and forty minutes of one’s life.

As if to make up for this, a small coda is inserted into the credits. This of course is the obligatory scene of the guys waking up hungover in a room full of weird articles, things on or done to themselves and struggling to stand up. And so, Hangover 3 begins and ends in the end credits.  The film essentially is two minutes long with a 95 minute tediously dull setup.

Why bother? Supposedly this is the final film, but the mere franchise name will guarantee enough box office returns for a sequel. Hopefully by that time they may have come up with something, but at that point who will still care?

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A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

This doesn't even "look" like a Die Hard picture.

This doesn’t even “look” like a Die Hard picture.

Zero stars.

When a film inspires an audience to fall asleep, it usually is because of one of two reasons. One: that said audience is very tired and at a late show. Two: Because the film is so mundane that it induces sleep.

The supposed fifth film in the Die Hard franchise follows one of those two principles. It also has no reason for being. Produced a far too long six years after the relatively successful fourth entry that had infused some new blood into a previously thought dead franchise,  A Good Day is so unbelievably stupid that you wouldn’t even select it from amongst direct to video garbage.

The plot is forgettable and the film itself frequently does just this in order to have dozens of overly dense offerings to the holy lord of CGI. The cartoon aspect of John McClane’s continual survival becomes a cartoon in and of itself.

The villain is merely a plot mover, there is a pointless female role that only grates on the nerves due to knowing the exact character arc almost immediately, the pointless and endless forced father-son banter that never quite works, the uninspired locations sitting in for Russia, the horrid constant use of terrible incoherent camerawork amidst a CGI landscape and lastly the fact that you no longer give a damn about John McClane.

Bruce Willis made his career with the original film and his portrayal of the burned out reluctant cop has matured through the years to become an action legend. He can be at once brutish and charming as McClane but always in a believable way as to always maintain that sense of being an off-duty NYC cop. Not here. In A Good Day, McClane is ineffectual, unfocused, uncharming and generally uninteresting. Even the one liners are terrible.

What can you expect from a team most notably responsible for the insipid Omen remake and the absolute filth of Swordfish? The original Die Hard wasn’t the biggest production, but what it had was both quality and originality. This is what made the film stand out and become such an unexpected hit with audiences. It acknowledged reality while still being innovative as an action film by refusing to bow down to what the limited production indicated. And the crew made a remarkably assured film that only served to better support the action narrative. The sequel maintained this and the necessary gritty element of danger that is completely gone from the later films. The first two films occupy their own world, exactly as is the case with Lethal Weapon  1 and 2, and the sequels are always going to have that sense of being several generations removed from their original source.

But this is something else entirely. This is a film by numbers, by studio marketing, where any script can be manhandled into production and slapped with a coat of enticement to draw in audiences. They just so happened to choose the Die Hard moniker this time around, and people on both sides fell for it.

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Stoker (2013)

The coldness of the poster is overwhelming in this stunningly empty waste of time.

The coldness of the poster is overwhelming in this stunningly empty waste of time.

Zero stars. Arguably the worst film of the year.

 

Many know Korean director Park Chan-Wook from his “Vengeance Trilogy” from which sprung his most famous film, Oldboy (2003). Wook is extremely oriented towards the visual world, and attempts to visually integrate an audience into wherever the story leads often at the expense of that said story.

So now we come to his English language debut, in an unsurprisingly visual film. Yay, pretty things to look at!

It has been a very long time since I have seen a narrative feature be so completely devoid of any and all point.

In Stoker, we are introduced to a recently broken family, where the husband has just died and the mother and daughter are supposedly grieving for their loss. I say supposedly because if there is anything close to a sense of emotion present in any of the main characters it’s invisible. India (Mia Wasikowska) is an odd girl who likes to run around the woods barefoot, arrange shoes, practice piano all while constantly staring a giant hole through absolutely everything. Her mother (Nicole Kidman) is a vain woman who does the opposite, nearly tripping over herself in order to play at the facade of being a grand figure.

Into to this loving home comes the dead husband’s brother, Charlie (Mathew Goode), who is overly charming and nearly perfect in every sort of way. Save for the fact that some treat him with fear and his penchant for following people around while trying not to seem creepy.

It is damn near impossible to ignore the continual parallels to Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). This occurs so frequently and so vividly that you spend the majority of the film wishing that you were watching that brilliantly executed classic drama.

The transitions are a real bone of contention. They become a constant annoyance bridging every scene and shot with the most obvious of parallels to cut between whether they are visual or auditory. The entire point of a cut is to be seamless and invisible so the mere idea of calling attention to the seam of a film is to reveal the artifice behind the illusion. When this is done on a continual basis it both disorients and disconnects the viewer from the narrative. However, in this case since there was no integration or narrative to begin with it only adds to the agonizingly overlong experience of sitting through this supreme emptiness.

It is only at the final act of the film that an idea of true plot comes into play, and as with Oldboy, there is a flurry of reveals with each seemingly undoing the previous one. Finally we believe a conclusion is in sight only to have that yanked back from us as well to let the film carry on stringing the audience along for another ten minutes. To add the final touch, Stoker’s denouement is so completely unresolved and poorly executed that the audience exits wondering just exactly what they spent their thirteen bucks on.

There is nothing to discuss. Nothing to question, nothing to think about, nothing to consider. No points are made, themes are merely shallow pastiches of the word, and the short 95 minute runtime feels like twice that.  It has been a very, very, very long time since I have sat through such a big waste of time.

Instead of going to your nearest arthouse or independent theater (where this film is mostly playing nationwide) and wasting the admission or even the rental price, revisit Shadow of a Doubt and marvel at its intricacies. Because there are none to be found in Stoker. Anywhere.

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Batman & Robin (1997)

Look at this mess. Do you really have any desire to sit through this?

Zero stars out of 4. A complete trashy waste of everyone’s time. Infuriatingly bad on every level.

“Rubber lips are immune to your charms.”

You think to yourself: “Oh, it’s not really that bad. It’s merely an overdone update of the 60’s TV series.” But you would be agonizingly wrong. Despite years of derision, the 1966 TV series has a sense of dignity that makes it Shakespearean tragedy when compared to this garbage.

And garbage is exactly what this is. There is no single redeeming feature to the madness. Pushed to create a sequel immediately after Forever’s unexpected success, Joel Schumacher & Co. really got in over their heads with the imposed marketing and time constraints. This easily becomes apparent when looking at the production. The first meeting about the film was held with the toy company who demanded all story and plot elements to be handed in then so that their products would be ready in time for the launch.

This enormous pressure seems to have put everyone in the mindset of “Who cares what it is! Let’s just get the thing done and it doesn’t matter how weird or campy it gets!” What this notion did however is take a bad film with no point and bury it under multiple layers of camp compost.

This becomes almost unbearable to slog through and I remember just how many walkouts occurred in 1997. In the opening week. On the second day of release. Nothing has changed, except the damn thing has become even worse over time and looks terrible on video. This goes without mentioning the fact that nearly everything is ripped off or based on the exact same elements from Forever.

Guess we have to get on with the story…do we really have to? Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) are called into stop Mr. Freeze (AHNULD) from stealing diamonds from a museum. Terrible fight choreography, bad lighting, repeated music cues, bad line delivery, and atrocious dialogue ensues. By the by, none of these ever let up for the entire film. They have a fight with Freeze’s hockey playing goons and of course, the Dynamic Duo magically sprout ice skates form their boots. Freeze uses a rocket seemingly to escape, but freeze and kill Batman, and then plummet back to Earth killing more people. Of course the Dynamic Duo escapes by surfing down from the atmosphere on the rocket’s doors!

Freeze escapes again by freezing Robin and forcing Batman to stop and free his partner. Then we are treated to the 2nd villain’s creation because we are following in the same formula as the previous films in the franchise. Dr. Pamela Isley (Uma Therman) is a botanist in some remote South American laboratory working under another scientist who lost his Waynetech funding. He has been diverting all the money and plant research into creating a super-soldier and performs this mad experiment in front of a whole spattering of various world leaders who begin to bid on the weakling turned stupid hulking brute. His name is Bane of course. Isley witnesses this and is discovered by the mad doctor who, in one of the only slightly interesting bits in the film proclaims: “I’m afraid you’ll have to die!”, (but even this is just lifted from Batman Returns) kills her by throwing her into her plants and chemicals. Like that would work…oh but it did!

In the Batcave we are treated to Freeze’s backstory, appropriately ripped off badly from Batman: The Animated Series. This Freeze was a bit clumsy and fell into the freezing solution he had made to preserve his dying wife. Ooooo how sad…in TAS, the laughable villain form the comics was made over into a tragic figure with a definite reason for hating all humanity. Instead he’s now a cartoon.  So now can we move on? Oh yes, let’s get back to the Bruce/Dick Grayson dynamic that has grown from their distrust in Forever into a growing partnership between two friends…and that’s another movie of course, because Batman & Robin simply repeats the exact same thematic issue between the characters that was resolved at the climax of the last movie!!! And this time Robin is constantly whining about his sad situation and complaining to no one in particular that Bruce will never trust him. Bruce himself says the same lines about recklessness etc. for some reason. Maybe it was just to give the two characters some kind of interaction. It sure as hell doesn’t work.

The dead Isley then rises from the ground as Poison Ivy, supposedly Mother Nature’s one-woman machine for natural causes. She quickly kills everyone and recruits the hulking idiot to be her compatriot. If only Bane had just killed her then and there. Oh wait, he would have done that if he was in any way shape or form like his comic book counterpart, the brilliant inmate who brought Batman to a weakened state before deducing his secret identity and breaking his back. But no, he just says his name in agreement and follows Ivy to Gotham City where she has set her sights on the man behind the funding of the laboratory, Bruce Wayne. Now that’s convenient isn’t it! Now the villain’s scripts are all tied into the main story nicely!

Freeze hides out in an abandoned ice cream factory (not at all obvious) and spends his time attempting to lead his hockey Eskimo minions in song. In this awful setting he explains both his plans to extort and freeze Gotham, and visits his frozen wife. All while smoking a cigar. (Which for a character who cannot stand any source of heat is absolutely unbelievably STUPID!)

Meanwhile back at Wayne Manor, a strange girl arrives and is revealed to Barbara, Alfred’s niece. She has come all the way from England (with the worst non-attempt at an accent possible) to visit and spend time with her favorite uncle. Don’t you just love these characters who get invented by screenwriters just to fill a story need or pad time, who were never referenced in any way before that point? She is truly stunned to see that a butler serves people.

Barbara later sneaks out and steals a motorcycle. Gasp! Could all not be what it seems? the next day, like Edward Nygma before her, Ivy appeals to Bruce in her civilian guise to back her plans to save the rainforest at the cost of human suffering. Bruce of course refuses, and we quickly drop the whole eco-warrior bit. Batman & Robin setup a trap for Freeze by holding a charity ball featuring diamonds on display. We go through an agonizing scene where rich old farts bid on “nights” with young women for “charity” then Poison Ivy appears in a bear suit (Just what was it with these? Therman appears in The Avengers in one too!), strips and blows pheromone dust to enrapture all men’s minds to do her bidding. This causes a bidding war for her company, with Batman and Robin getting into a putrid shouting match about who is worthier, culminating in Batman pulling a credit card with the expiration date “forever”. Thank god at that time Arnold breaks into steal the diamonds.

Ivy is fascinated with him, especially because her charms do not work on the cold heart of Freeze. Batman & Robin leap into pursuit, with Batman capturing Freeze and sending him to Arkham Asylum.We now switch back to plot no. 12, with Dick catching Barbara sneaking out to go and participate in an underground motorcycle race populated by all sorts of nice folks. (right down to a gang dressed as Alex DeLarge & friends. Yes, I am not making this up. What exactly is kiddie about this?) They race and people try to kill them…oooh…wow, no one cares.  Dick saves Barbara from a fall towards a terrible blue screen matte and they wind up back at home where Barbara reveals how she’s been doing this to deal with the pain from her parent’s death. She wants to use her winnings to take Alfred away from his servitude. How nice…if we cared at all.

We’re now at the halfway mark…let the BS continue.

All are shocked to find that Alfred is sick. This is a fact that both Bruce and the audience have been aware of the entire film so far, as at nearly every opportunity Alfred has been shown to be in a weakened state in all possible stereotypical ways. He is dying of a rare disease, only to provide a reason to care about anything in this damn movie. Yes, this plotline about Alfred is the only damn thing you will pay any attention to in this glitzy shambles. It also gives Clooney a moment or two to act and even he cannot bring himself to care.

Freeze is in Arkham for all of a few minutes before Ivy and Bane appear to break him out. She proposes a partnership and of course Freeze accepts. They attempt to retrieve both diamonds and Freeze’s wife but run into both the police and the Dynamic Duo. A fight ensues with no result and the evildoers escape after wasting more screentime. Ivy departs, pulling the plug on the frozen bride as she exits to have Freeze all to herself.

He learns of her death, quickly attributed to Batman, and vows vengeance on “Gotham and then the world!”. He plans to freeze the city with an ice ray and the two begin setting up this nefarious plot. Dick and Bruce have continued fighting over Ivy, and Bane is dispatched to replace the Batsignal with a Robin one. Barbara discovers the Batcave where Alfred has made her a Batsuit…wait, what? That’s caring for your nieces according to this script.

Robin is lured to Ivy’s lair where she finally plants that kiss on him. He then imparts the wonderful line I began with, and the Dynamic Duo’s trap is sprung. By trap I mean they both immediately get captured by plants like idiots, leaving the new girl to save the day. Batgirl of course crashes through a skylight, and she and Ivy fight whilst exchanging terrible one-liners. Ivy is incapacitated and Batman quickly disregards the fact that this idiot is now running around with them.

Freeze has taken control of the observatory for his ice ray and begins to freeze the city. This means that we are treated to “hilarious” moments of everyday life being frozen in ice! Not so. The Dynamic trio (?) speed towards Freeze in three ridiculous winterized ice vehicles and an abrupt costume change to stupid looking silver lined outfits.

They begin an overlong battle atop the icy tower culminating in the defeat of Freeze and the unfreezing of the city via government satellites reflecting the sun’s rays. Oh joy, they won, what a big surprise. They then convince Freeze to show them the means to cure the early stages of his wife’s disease, because wouldn’t you know it-that what Alfred is dying of. Freeze is put in Arkham to cure his wife and torture Ivy, Alfred is restored and we’re left wondering just who would be doing the expansion work on the Batcave.

To say this film is uninspired is an understatement. The sets, costumes, cinematography, score, lighting, design, pacing, editing, performances and writing are all uninspired. This is what lies under all those coats of unnecessary glitter, a terribly weak and uninteresting film. When taken in all at once your senses are so quickly overloaded that the scenes become at first ridiculous, then tedious, tiresome and finally a chore to sit through.  If you really pay attention it also becomes readily apparent just how much of the film is simply lifted or copied directly from Forever. Bits of the plotting, themes, design, Batman’s end costume cowl and music score cues. In fact, this is so blatant that there are numerous moments in the film where they literally re-use the exact same music cue from the previous film in a scene that is totally unrelated!

The performances are as wooden as the dialogue, most notably that of Clooney, who gives us a Bruce/Batman so bland that he in fact becomes a non-entity in his own film. The attempts at Batman doing humor are so terribly bad that you end up wanting to punch Clooney in the face after a certain amount of time. (And I really like his performances. There’s a reason why he always apologizes for this.) Therman so grossly overplays Poison Ivy that you have no desire to even think of the character again, and wish for someone to shut her up much earlier. Then to add to those, three characters in the Batman universe are ruined: Mr. Freeze, Batgirl and Bane. They bear little to no resemblance to their original counterparts and should be quickly disregarded.  One of the bigger criticisms of the film has always been that Robin does nothing but whine and complain about Bruce’s lack of trust and is annoying because of this. To be perfectly frank, in a film so overloaded and badly written as this, Robin almost becomes a welcome distraction from the others in that he has an actual defined problem that we know of and is still somewhat grounded in reality.

For a Mr. Freeze story, look at the TAS episode which relaunched him as a Batman villain, “Heart of Ice”. In 23 minutes, the Animated Series sets up and executes a perfect story arc with defined tragedy that gives us everything we need and want from a Batman story, which is something that none of the films are really ever able to do fully. Batman & Robin fails on every level at this for 101 more minutes.

We’ve all blamed Joel Schumacher and the film’s production team for years because of this movie. It took eight long years of many development hells and scripts before another Batman appeared onscreen. (Including Schumacher’s attempts to do a true Batman film with a hard rating or his pet project of Batman: Year One) But I’m not so sure anymore. I think it was a rushed film, designed by the studio to capitalize on Forever’s unexpected success in every way possible. This forced production was then implemented on a very rushed schedule that further restricted everyone so that seemingly anything went before camera. Simply listen to the first 20 minutes of Schumacher’s commentary on the DVD and he gets into this in detail. He really was a director-for-hire here.

Batman & Robin never knows just what it is and never has a clear goal in mind. It falls apart for 124 minutes, all the while showing its many seams and attempting a knowing wink at the audience. Many have decried it as a big screen adaptation of the 60’s TV series, but the issue in that idea is that while campy the TV series played most of everything straight-faced. In fact, it wasn’t a comedy so much as it was a satire of Batman and comic books in general. It operates on far more levels than people give it credit for, and something which this film can never hope to achieve.

The final film in the first Batman franchise comes across as an over-budgeted, overstuffed, overinflated, mindless, marketing ruled mess of bats***. Which is something I have worked with and is quite unpleasant in any form.

EDITIONS: Same video history as the other three: VHS and LD, 1998 DVD, 2005 Special Edition, Blu-ray from the same master. The Special Edition looks fine on the surface, but like the other three films the HD master for the SE DVD and Blu-ray leaves much to be desired. Detail is lacking, giving an inherent softness which makes the film all the more unbearable. Colors seem a bit desaturated as well. The film has also been cropped form 1.85:1 to 1.78:1.

Audio is clear enough on the SE DVD’s Dolby and DTS 5.1 mixes with the DTS as always being the clear winner. (When has there ever been a DVD with a better Dolby track?) The Blu-ray’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is exactly the same just at a higher bitrate.

Do what I did, only get the film in the Batman boxset when it goes on sale, to save on the others and not be seen buying a copy of the travesty.

NOTE: At least there is one positive: The last great Smashing Pumpkins song came out of this movie. The alternate version was used in the trailer for Watchmen, a film that learned so much from this movie so that it could simply make the exact same mistakes in the opposite way.

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The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

 

Do we really have to do this?
-Contractual obligation.
Oh. I guess there is no severance pay.

Zero stars out of 4. Abysmal garbage.
It’s like a huge budget video game cinematic. Overlong, overcomplicated, overproduced and boring as hell.

After all of the hype, Reloaded failed to deliver on most every level. It confused, angered, and generally wore out everyone in the theater and we all left thinking: “just what are they going to do to end this thing?”

Essentially, this third Matrix film is nothing more than a feeble attempt to tie up some loose ends. The two major questions asked by the audience are: “Why?” and “What?” quickly followed by a defeated “Who even cares?”.   In a Return of the Jedi style conclusion, Revolutions gives us both the final battle and final confrontation between the hero and villain. Except ROTJ is both well made and pretty well plotted. This isn’t.

Filming back to back with Reloaded didn’t help matters. We pick up after the beyond cheesy cliffhanger from the previous film. Neo finds himself stuck in some abandoned train station inside the Matrix with some programs looking to get out. How he got there is unexplained, and we quickly realize that we couldn’t have cared less if they did. he is not allowed to leave because the controller is an agent of the Merovingian. Thus Morpheus and Trinity go in to convince the Frenchman to release Neo. This is basically a repeat of the same scene in Reloaded, but with a different goal.  After a brief dialogue, he gives in and Neo is rescued. Woo.

Neo then visits the Oracle (now played by a different actress due to the untimely death of Gloria Foster) who engages in yet another overlong conversation of sheer mumbo jumbo. Essentially Neo and Smith are a yin and yang, and the war will soon end. After Neo leaves, Smith appears and takes over both the Oracle and her protector.

Back in the real world, Neo requests he be given a ship to travel to the Machine City. He takes Niobe’s ship and goes off to his unknown destiny with Trinity. Niobe, Morpheus and the other crew members attempt to make it back to Zion despite the machine attack. They quickly realize that the other crew member who had been unconscious had killed a crew member and must be stowing aboard Neo’s  ship. He attacks and disarms Trinity. It takes Neo ages to realize this is actually Smith despite the man using all of Smith’s dialogue and mannerisms for several minutes. Finally he is killed after blinding Neo with a power cable. But don’t worry, he can still see. Magic! So they continue on with trinity at the helm. Wait, can’t Neo still see? Oh well.

The defense is being mounted inside Zion to ward off the oncoming hordes of machines. This consists of lots of guns, and giant cumbersome human-operated walkers to also shoot machines. This begins a stupidly contrived “battle” that consists of little more than CGI fakery. The first film showed that the human’s only weapon was an EMP to destroy all circuitry. Where did all the guns come from then? And if they already have beam and energy weaponry, why are they using projectile weapons?!?! This strategy of this effort is even more stupid as the humans are hopelessly outnumbered. But for some reason the machines never pour in more infantry and these idiots in suits are able to last far longer than they actually should. This mindless conflict goes on for far too long, eventually culminating in the arrival of the sip containing Morpheus and Niobe. They make it inside the gates and trigger an EMP to render the army useless. WHY DIDN’T THEY DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE??? In fact, why not ATTACK THE MACHINES BEFORE THEY ATTACK YOU WITH A GIANT EMP??? Then again we are talking about the people who face impending doom with techno raves…

This has knocked out all of Zion’s equipment and the humans retreat to further levels and wait for the final assault. Neo and Trinity reach the Machine City are are eventually attacked by numerous defenses. Neo is unable to hold all of them off and has Trinity fly upwards and through the clouds into the atmosphere. And here is perhaps the only genuinely emotional moment in the entire film, where Trinity sees actual sunlight for the first and only time. Here in a Matrix sequel is a genuine moment of humanity against the philosophical whimsy and badly overdone action gimmickry. And then it is suddenly over, with the ship crashing and Trinity dying.  This scene is glossed over, so that any shred of empathy we might have remaining for these increasingly inhuman characters doesn’t even have the chance to surface.

Neo makes his way inside the city until confronted by a floating thing that we are meant to take as the Machine leader. For some reason it forms a face and talks to Neo. In exchange for “peace”, Neo will go inside the Matrix and defeat Smith in one final battle. If he loses, he will be killed. So he enters once more, and finds Smith everywhere.

The final battle is on a rainy city street, with thousands of Smith copies just looking on. The battle itself is overdone and completely a non-entity. Both are equally matched and is becomes readily apparent that there will be no clear winner. Neo cannot defeat the odds against him, and it would take Smith a very long time to kill Neo. SO THEY KEEP ON FIGHTING. You could easily go to the bathrooom at this moment, check the phone, do the dishes, or simply fast forward because this entire end conflict has no tension or impact in any conceivable way. Finally, Neo realizes he cannot defeat Smith. He allows himself to die, and thus the Machine leader kills him. But because Neo is now Smith, Smith dies too. This makes sense, but yet doesn’t. Why would this actually work? Was Neo still present in some shape or form? Why would this kill all the Smiths? Why didn’t the leader kill Smith in the first place?

The machines pull back and stop attacking Zion. Peace has been made due to Neo’s sacrifice. The Oracle and Architect meet and agree to free all humans who want to be freed. Peace is declared to “last as long as it can”. The Oracle admits that they might see Neo again and that she didn’t know this would happen but that she believed.

And at this point no one really gives a damn. If you really look at it closely, none of this outcome makes any sense. Why would the Machine leader agree to any of this preposterous conclusion? Machines don’t want peace! They’re machines for Pete’s sake! How do humans already plugged into the Matrix decide if they want to be freed? They’re inside a fake world already! And is this ending supposed to mean that there will be an eventual breach of the peace and that war will break out again anew? Weren’t the machines ready to eliminate the human race if necessary? Why declare peace and give up their power supply of jacked-in humans? It. Doesn’t. Make. Any. Sense.

By the time you’ve made it through this second sequel, you almost deserve a medal. There is no reason for any of this to exist, as the story is mindless. The action is thrown at you and your sense s are so overwhelmed by CGI that it becomes cartoonish in every sense. Never is Revolutions engaging to any part of the audience, and you spend the entire two hours and nine minutes wishing for the big lumbering giant to end it’s reign of monotony.

There is supposedly a sequel in the works, with Keanu Reeves attached. I don’t know how it would work with the ending of this film, but revisiting this piece of junk makes it obvious that they left it open for a sequel. (Even though the character is supposedly dead) In all actuality, after the total abomination that is the Wachowski’s Speed Racer, I really don’t want to know.

There is no reason for this film to have been made, and it takes a supreme effort of will to even have a positive thought about The Matrix afterwards. I stayed away from the entire franchise for many years afterwards, trying to block the whole thing out of my mind. Reloaded was bad, but this was just mindlessly bad. The theater where Revolutions was screened was dead quiet. By the end credits the entire auditorium was in stunned silence. Or maybe they were just all asleep.

EDITIONS: Revolutions was released just like Reloaded. Great DVD with 2.35:1 16:9 anamorphic image, Dolby 5.1 and a second disc of extras. The Blu-ray is ported from the inferior HD-DVD format, with a Dolby True-HD 5.1 mix. Other than getting a great deal on one of the trilogy boxsets, there is no reason to own this garbage.

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