The Matrix (1999) – Keanu Reeves

9/10 – This quality of movie simply cannot exist without high budget, great lead actors and a lot of love & dedication by the writers, producers and some supporting cast.

The Matrix isn’t totally a ‘martial arts movie’ but is an action-packed, convincing sci-fi thriller with a significant element of martial arts. From instant (computer-assisted) learning of kung fu and other martial arts which are exhibited with great camerawork, to the eccentric use of guns and stunts – this movie is a great example of what can happen when people make a real effort and don’t cut corners in producing a movie that was cutting edge for its time.

A cool plot involving hacking and conspiracies make this sci-fi both believable and doubly entertaining for fans of martial arts movies. This is a classic performance by Keanu Reeves, who has made many great action movies.

Due to the overall quality of acting and production we give this movie a 9/10 – to get a perfect 10 it would probably need a more genuine representation of great martial arts training exercises, and it would need a deeper, broader or generally more significant base of philosophical teaching behind the movie.

Still, it’s an excellent movie as it is, from start to finish, and the only real disappointment is how its inevitable sequels don’t manage to maintain the standard set by the original although they are still well worth watching sequentially, but sometimes you might still want to enjoy the original by itself.

It’s not so easy to rewatch every year like Bloodsport is, but what it lacks in sustained comfortable vibe, it makes up for in frequently cutting-edge features. The Matrix has more of an intermittently chilling vibe – it’s not the same genre as Bloodsport and doesn’t try to be – they are both masterpieces in their own way.

Martial arts wise, there’s a bit of fighting, a bit of running, a lot of shooting, and a strange kind of war going on. Action wise, it’s packed with action in all its forms, with a few drama-ish scenes between. Plot wise, it’s almost confusing, but it kind of works and has become a massive cult classic. Cast wise, there were several strong performances and a few less strong.