Sci-fi, anime, kung fu and Hong Kong action movies all inform the classic trilogy. This winter, "The Matrix 4" continues the legacy of the legendary AAPI franchise, starring Keanu Reeves once more as Neo, or the One.
*Note – all images from previous "Matrix" films*
Details of the plot are scarce. Here's what we know. Keanu Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity both return. Reeves hints that the movie will focus on their relationship. Jada Pinkett Smith as Niobe and Lambert Wilson as The Merovingian also return.
Lana Wachowski returns as director, producer, and co-writer. However, her sister Lilly will not be a part of the new stand-alone "Matrix" movie. Because of work on Showtime's "Work in Progress," Lilly could not take part in the new film but has given her blessing.
Principal photography on the new "Matrix" began in February 2020 in San Francisco but shut down due to COVID. Filming resumed in the Fall. The production wrapped on November 11, 2020. The movie was originally scheduled to open against "John Wick: Chapter 4" on May 21, 2021. Because of the pandemic, it was moved to April 1, 2022. It eventually moved back up to December 22, 2021, when it will debut in theaters and simultaneously on HBOMax.
The AAPI Connection
Keanu Reeves, who is part Chinese and part Hawaiian, is one of the industry's top AAPI movie stars. His international appeal has always been a key to the franchise's success. As well, "The Matrix 4" pays AAPI and Asian films tribute via its influences from sci-fi anime like "Akira" to John Woo gun fu like "Hard Boiled" to all the Bruce Lee classics.
Why You Should See It
More than 20 years after the debut of "The Matrix," it's going to be a lot of fun to find out what happens next in this one-of-a-kind universe. In short, the world-building of "John Wick" and its imitators would never exist without "The Matrix." Keanu Reeves and "Wick" director Chad Stahelski met on the first "Matrix" and used the experience as inspiration. Now, the new "Matrix" has the potential to further expand the genre.
Did You Know
Normally, a sci-fi action epic like "The Matrix 4" would need a second unit to shoot stunt sequences. Not this time. Filmmaker Lana Wachowski directed all the footage herself, from start to finish. That start, by the way, took place under the code name "Project Ice Cream."
Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.