Whoa. Keanu Reeves still knows kung fu, 22 years after the original “Matrix” movie, and The One has got all the right moves even with a beard.
The first trailer for the anticipated “The Matrix Resurrections” (in theaters and on HBO Max Dec. 22) dropped Thursday, with the fourth installment of the innovative sci-fi action franchise bringing back old favorites and introducing a new crop of characters. Reeves, of course, reprises his role as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss is back as Trinity in the newest film in the Wachowskis series, which also includes “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions” (both came out in 2003).
In the original films, hacker Thomas Anderson (Reeves) learns about the existence of the digital landscape known as The Matrix – and his role as the chosen one, Neo – though he seems to have had some amnesia in the opening moments of the trailer for “Resurrections,” directed by Lana Wachowski. Talking with his psychiatrist (Neil Patrick Harris), he tells him about “dreams that weren’t just dreams” – visions of familiar green code, gunfights and people hooked up to painful-looking gizmos – and asks, “Am I crazy?” (His doc’s response: “We don’t use that word in here.”)
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As Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” plays in the background, Thomas/Neo goes through life in San Francisco, rubber ducky on his head in the bath, knowing something’s off. He sees Trinity in a coffee shop but they don’t know each other (“Have we met?” she asks). But like Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus in the first movie, a mysterious well-dressed figure (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) in familiar shades holds out the red pill that will open up his mind. “Time to fly,” the man says.
“Resurrections” immerses Reeves’ persona and the audience back into all things “Matrix,” including gravity-defying martial arts, “Alice in Wonderland” vibes, shapeshifting villains in sunglasses, Neo and Trinity diving off a building, gunplay, explosions and a high-tech virtual-reality fantasy world.
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Not much is known about the plot or the newcomers yet, though Abdul-Mateen seems to be the Morpheus-like guru with the wise sayings this time around: “The only thing that matters to you is still here. I know it’s why you’re still fighting and why you’ll never give up,” he tells Neo. The coolest rookie is played by Jessica Henwick (“Game of Thrones”), a leather-clad, blue-haired warrior who parkours off buildings and tells our hero, “If you want the truth, Neo, you’re going to have to follow me.”
There are glimpses of cyber-goons similar to Hugo Weaving’s old antagonist Agent Smith, but who’s the big bad this time around? It could be Harris or perhaps Jonathan Groff’s smarmy businessman rolling out the welcome mat for Neo and film fans alike: “After all these years, to be going back to where it all started – back to the Matrix.”