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The Matrix: More than SciFi, More than Martial Arts

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Recently, AMC asked three martial artists to pick their favorite martial arts flicks. Not one picked The Matrix, which initially was a bit of a disappointment, but it might be simply that the movie isn’t just a genre film. It’s a landmark. Back when The Matrix was released, the Internet was a brave new frontier and vinyl was edgy. A monster mainstream hit, the film seemed poised to be the Star Wars of Generation Y. Nine years later, we’ve survived the dot-com crash and the meltdown of vinyl as a fashion statement. And if you can forget about our actual new world reality, you’ll find that The Matrix is as much of a thrill ride as ever.

Although their signature “bullet time” effect is now old hat, watching Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne suspended in midair mid-fight remains jaw-droppingly cool, as does Carrie-Anne Moss’s mind boggling opening stunt sequence. (You’ll never look at a payphone the same way again. Oh wait…do pay phones even exist anymore?) Sure the fate-versus-free-will mumbo jumbo can get a bit trying at times, but it’s made palatable by the late great stage actress Gloria Foster. Plus, the Wachowskis still had a sense of humor back then. My how times change. Let’s hope they’ve located their funny bone for the upcoming Speed Racer.

The Matrix plays tonight Sunday, January 20 at 7 p.m. | 6C on AMC.

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