Notice how in almost every action movie there will be a slo-mo fight sequence where the protagonist is dodging bullets left and right? You can thank 1999’s The Matrix for that. Though, admittedly, later films may not exactly do the technique (known more familiarly as “bullet time”) justice. The fact remains that it was made most famous by The Matrix, though variations of the idea predate the film.
Moving past those iconic visual effects, this movie is a wild ride that defined the action genre for years to come. Its sophisticated fight scenes heavily featured a martial arts fighting style coming from its Hong Kong cinema influence, along with incredibly complex and unique worldbuilding. These elements helped The Matrix firmly secure its spot in pop culture legend.
What’s more, Keanu Reeves shines as hacker-turned-rebel against the machines, adding sci-fi badass to his already notable film career. At the start of his journey as Neo, you can sympathize with the character’s 9 to 5 struggles (a good juxtaposition, as the side gig as a career cyber-criminal was probably less relatable) and see a part of yourself in how he goes through the gray-tinged motions of a salaryman. As his true potential is unlocked, however, you suddenly find yourself wanting to be him.
Who wouldn’t want an alluring, mysterious stranger to plunge you into the realities of a dystopia, introducing you to a cyberpunk cult who gives you the choice to change your perception of the world forever? It seems much more appealing in The Matrix, I promise.
The Wachowskis most famous achievement, this is a film much better viewed than dissected, particularly at the risk of revealing an amazing semi-plot twist. It’s more than just a pop culture phenomenon, though. The Matrix proves it is still able to stand tall in 2018 as the perfect combination of action film technique and sci-fi storytelling prowess.
While the gothic, cyberpunk look of the costumes and character style may admittedly date itself, the core and general appeal of the movie hold strong. Where else can you find Keanu Reeves entering a technological-underworld, filled with the expected futuristic elements coupled with a grungy exterior? Battling cryptic agents through the art of kung-fu is a life path I think we all wouldn’t mind taking, at least for a short while.