After introducing Tsui Hark to Jean Baudrillard and setting them loose on the computer-gaming generation, The Matrix soon faltered. Like most makers of visionary sci-fi flicks, Andy and Larry Wachowski found it easier to formulate a provocative scenario than a satisfactory conclusion. So it’s hardly a shock that The Matrix Revolutions—the last chapter in a saga that unwisely became a trilogy—is an even bigger disappointment than its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded. The weakest in a diminishing series, the movie consists mostly of two long action sequences. In the first, rendered skillfully but uninvolvingly with models and CGI, the machines that run the universe send robotic cephalopods to attack Zion, the last stronghold of the humans who haven’t become slaves of the virtual-reality Matrix. In the second, which is just as mechanical despite featuring flesh-and-blood actors, enigmatic savior Neo (Keanu Reeves) battles Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving), a rogue computer program that’s gotten so powerful it’s learned how to smirk. (Though Yuen Wo Ping is still staging the fights, the brawls have become so abstract that his fluid choreography is squandered.) The film begins where Reloaded ends, with Neo in a coma, watched over by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), while his virtual self marks time in a limbo that looks like a subway station. But the film soon dispenses with its faux-metaphysical setup, as well as many of the complications introduced by Reloaded: After a quick foray into an S&M/rave club, the Merovingian (Lambert Wilson) and Persephone (Monica Bellucci) are forgotten. And though Neo consults once again with the Oracle (Mary Alice, replacing the late Gloria Foster)—getting a minitutorial on Zen paradoxes, eternal recurrence, and what sounds like the dark side of the Force—the battles, and the yawns, soon begin. The final duel does lead to a sort of resolution, but that doesn’t guarantee closure: Setting a film in a virtual universe means never having to say there won’t be another sequel. —Mark Jenkins

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