10 Best Action Scenes from The Matrix Quadrilogy

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Credit: Warner Brothers

The Matrix came out of nowhere in 1999 and stunned audiences worldwide becoming a massive hit and one of the most influential films of all time. The groundbreaking special effects, beautiful cinematography, philosophical themes, and engaging plot created a devoted fanbase. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions would come out a few years later completing The Matrix Trilogy. Yet this time the response was way more divided. Some hailed the story and deep philosophical discussions while others felt it was just trying to be deeper and smarter than it really was. One thing everything everyone agreed on however was that the action was consistently great combining artistic gunfights, spectacular stunts, special effects, and good old-fashioned wire-fu. With The Matrix Resurrections having just recently been released to an equally divided reaction now is a good time to plug back into the Matrix franchise. Here are the ten best action scenes from The Matrix Quadrilogy.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

  1. Motorcycle Chase - The Matrix Resurrections

    The analyst activates swarm mode turning every citizen in the city into mindless drones. They leap from buildings like suicide bombers exploding into code upon collision. It throws everything at the screen including neo using the force to deflect helicopter missiles and Trinity speeding through a road of deadly bodies. It is a fun sequence with some nice callbacks to previous action scenes and reminds us a bit of that old Matrix magic.

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  2. Neo vs Morpheus - The Matrix

    Who hasn’t watched an old kung fu movie as a kid and dreamed of learning kung fu? Neo has just downloaded multiple forms of martial arts into his brain and proudly claims he knows Kung Fu. When Morpheus challenges him to show what he has learned we are treated to a really entertaining one-on-one fight with the two shifting between various styles and utilizing superhuman leaping ability that is possible in the matrix. Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne also trained in real life which adds a strong sense of authenticity to the scene as we see that it is really them doing all these cool moves. It was a tribute to old kung fu movies and a taste of the types of fight scenes we were in for whetting our appetites for more.

  3. Chateau Showdown Neo vs Merovingian’s Men - The Matrix Reloaded

    Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity have finally found the elusive Keymaker. The Merovingian won’t just let them waltz out though and orders his men to take the Keymaker back. Neo has Morpheus and Trinity escape with the Keymaker while he holds them back in a decadent room adorned with weapons. It is a battle filled with leaps up and down and utilizes a variety of weapons including a javelin, ball, and chain, spear, trident, and swords all of which give the scene its own unique feel.

  4. Neo’s Foot Chase Against Agents - The Matrix

    Neo is on the run desperate to reach a phone while the agents keep possessing person after person really highlighting the sense of danger. This action scene has a more visceral feel eschewing the style and utilizing more handheld shots to convey the intensity of the chase. Neo has to be extremely on guard as each citizen of the city can turn into an agent at any moment and you really feel that Neo is running for his life with one small misstep resulting in capture and death. The scene is filled with lots of smart touches like camera movements that engage and make us worried that an agent could be just around the corner. There will be a quick shot of an ordinary citizen and then a pan back revealing that he is now an agent. Add to that the fact that sentinels are closing in on the Nebuchadnezzar and you have a chase that will leave you breathless.

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  5. Neo vs Agents Smiths - The Matrix Reloaded

    Age has not been kind as the moments when it switches to CGI are painfully obvious. The rubbery movements are a glitch in the Matrix and a tad distracting. Despite that, it remains a visceral thrill. What really multiplies its power is the sense of escalation throughout as what starts as Neo vs a couple of Smiths keeps expanding as more and more Agent Smiths join the battle. The Smiths don’t just wait around for their turn but keep charging simultaneously. The choreography is creative throughout and frenetic without being hard to follow. It is a relentless assault that even The One has to strategically flee from to survive.

  6. Rooftop fight and Helicopter Rescue - The Matrix

    Neo dodging bullets became an iconic moment endlessly parodied and copied. But the original is still the most memorable cool to behold even to this day. But the sequence is more than just that and is in fact filled with numerous exemplary moments. Neo and Trinity commandeer a helicopter they unleash a hail of bullets on the unsuspecting agents. Neo jumps meeting and catching Morpheus midair. The helicopter crashes into the building unleashing a glass wave that shatters and explodes as Trinity swings away. All of these vivid moments were enough to strengthen our faith that The Matrix really was the one.

  7. Neo vs Smith Final Fight - The Matrix Revolutions

    Two rain-drenched black-clad figures face each other in a street. The downpour looks like the code of The Matrix falling down all over them. Thousands of Smith’s perfectly lined up to witness the spectacle as Neo and Agent Smith face off for their final battle (or so we thought at the time). This titanic confrontation is overflowing with spectacle as Neo and Smith are now at the height of their powers. They take their fight to the air throwing each other at buildings. They smash into each other with such force they create sound waves temporarily stopping the rain. Add to that the fact that this scene also has one of the best music tracks in the franchise Neodammerung to raise the stakes. Hugo Weaving was also excellent really nailing the different facial expressions and making every line sound memorable. All in all, this truly felt like a clash of titans.

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  8. Hallway Gunfight - The Matrix

    Still one of the most stylish action scenes of The Matrix, everything about it just oozes cool. Neo and Trinity casually enter the hallway brimming with confidence and as the guards inspect their jackets we see they are carrying guns, lots of guns. They then proceed to effortlessly lay waste to the guards sent to stop them. It is beautiful to watch with cement rubble flying all over, memorable shots, and Neo and Trinity using multiple cool moves. As a bonus, the rock score rocks, and the shades never comes off. It’s basically a massacre but man it's entertainingly done.

  9. Freeway Chase - The Matrix Reloaded

    With Neo stuck in the mountains, it falls to Morpheus and Trinity to keep the Keymaker safe. What follows is 15 minutes of pure action porn as the wonderfully over-the-top car chase remains one of the most entertaining action spectacles ever made. You have car-fu against the twins, agents jumping from car to car, Trinity rushing full speed against traffic, multiple slow-mo car crashes and carnage, and Morpheus fighting an agent on top of a moving truck. What’s admirable is how each action beat flows smoothly to the next one ensuring the entire action sequence is never boring. This combination of multiple chase and fight scenes all coalesce into one grand action diorama.

  10. Neo vs Smith Subway Fight - The Matrix

    Faced between running or staying to fight, Neo chooses to stand his ground and faces Agent Smith in western showdown style. It’s a rousing moment that the film has been building up to and our excitement is piqued as Neo now believes he is the One. What follows has everything fans love in a Matrix action scene, a bullet-time aerial gunfight, crisp well shot choreography, loads of cool poster-worthy moments, and best of all a growing sense of suspense as we realize that Agent Smith is still ever slightly a level above Neo. This tension is what elevates this to the best action scene of the series culminating in Thomas Anderson fully claiming his identity when he declares, “My name is Neo!”

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