With a fourth Matrix on the horizon, people are eager to once again debate the merits of the two early ‘00s sequels, Reloaded and Revolutions. Between arguments about apocalyptic dance orgies, Biblical metaphors, and robot battles, we should all remember one aspect of these films that ought to unite everybody in mutual appreciation: That really long, really great chase sequence from Reloaded.
Thankfully, unfortunately named YouTube channel Nerdstalgic has decided to help refresh our memories of just how good this exercise in cinematic car murder really was by taking a look at how it was created.
The video makes a lot of bold claims that Reloaded’s chase sequence is “one of the most underrated action sequences of the early 2000s” and “one of the most underrated car chase sequences of all time,” but it doesn’t overstate how impressive the amount of work that went into pulling off the whole thing really was. Probably the most ridiculous example is the production’s building of a $2.5 million, 1.25 mile-long highway set on California’s Alameda Island, which was necessary since shooting on actual roads would require too much time spent resetting the vehicles for each take by driving them to existing off ramps.
With the bespoke freeway constructed, the Wachowskis’ crew began playing around with different camera techniques that might allow them to discover a technical innovation in chase scene cinematography on par with the first movie’s “bullet time.” To accomplish this, they held auditions for camera vendors, trying out different stuff like “RC-controlled drones” and new, smaller cameras. At the same time, Carrie-Anne Moss was learning how to stunt drive cars and motorcycles to film Trinity’s chase parts alongside her stunt double, Debbie Evans. The scene was then shot and put together with clever editing and, crucially, with CGI vehicles added to certain shots in order to allow the motorcycles and cars to zoom along at higher speeds.
All of that work combined to create one of Reloaded’s best scenes and, as we’ll see when the new Matrix is out, maybe one of the best from the entire series. We’re willing to be surprised by whatever The Matrix Resurrections ends up offering, after all, but, barring any wild surprises, it will not have Laurence Fishburne slicing up trucks with a samurai sword during a high-speed car chase with dreadlocked ghost assassins.
That’s a tough one to beat.
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