Video Views

?The Matrix.? Rated: R. I give it a 4 on a scale of 5.

My recent viewing of the 1999 science fiction thriller ?The Matrix? left me with a number of unanswered questions, not the least of which was why this Warner Bros. film starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne was rated R.

Yes, it contains some fairly strong violence, but nothing I wouldn?t expect to find in a common PG-13 action flick.

Nudity: none.

Sex: none.

Language: occasionally crude, but given the absence of the ?F word,? surprisingly inoffensive.

Is it possible the R rating was a ploy to attract head bangers and mosh-pit dwellers? The soundtrack certainly lends credence to that possibility. But, just how lucrative an audience choice is that?

So, the rating remains a mystery, and, while I enjoyed the visual effects the movie had to offer, some parts of the plot also remained a mystery to me.

Here?s what I know.

The story centers on a mild-mannered software programmer (Reeves) who moonlights as Neo, a successful hacker for hire. He is recruited by a group of revolutionaries, led by Morpheus (Fishburne) and the leather-clad beauty Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), who have discovered that the world as we know it doesn?t actually exist. It is a form of virtual reality that merely emulates what we expect life to be like.

Human existence is a dreamlike connection to the Matrix, which can be thought of as a giant computer network designed by artificial intelligence gone awry. The computer can think for itself and has decided to keep humankind in the dark about its enslavement.

Apparently, writers Larry and Andy Wachowski have likewise decided to keep their audiences in the dark about how or why this system was put into place. I certainly never did get a handle on it.

The rebels want to free mankind by breaking down the framework of the Matrix, and they need Neo?s help. So, he takes a pill, and he?s ?in,? or perhaps more accurately, he?s ?out.?

The group survives by hiding their spaceship-like home in the far reaches of the real world. They occasionally take trips into the Matrix, but there they are pursued relentlessly by the Agents, a group of shape-shifting enforcers and protectors of the computer mainframe who resemble Tommy Lee Jones in FBI attire.

Their leader, Agent Smith, is played by Hugo Weaving.

The plot is complicated enough to take 21/4 hours to unfold, yet simple enough to come down to a tired old formula of good vs. evil in which one good guy battles one bad guy in a winner-take-all martial arts battle for the world.

The plot involves the rise to power of a Christ figure who must save the world by sacrificing himself. In ?The Matrix,? Neo even dies and is resurrected.

The movie includes some sci-fi twists that prove to be the sweetest of eye candy for special effects lovers. We truly live in amazing times for filmmaking.

Should you rent this movie? If you can answer in the affirmative to at least a couple of the following questions, I can safely recommend it to you.

(1.) Do you love action movies with amazing visual effects?

(2.) Can you enjoy a movie with a complicated buildup and a simple ending?

(3.) Are you a big fan of Reeves, Fishburne or Moss?

(4.) Have you always suspected that your home computer is plotting a hostile takeover?

Bob Wade is a local video enthusiast. The videos he reviews come courtesy of Radio Shack/Quick Flick, 110 N. Main.

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