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9.0 26 10
FanMix October 19, 2013 8867
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Remember 'The Matrix'? Reality is just an illusion... and only The One, aka Neo, can save us - via some envelope-pushing special effects and a pounding soundtrack courtesy of the likes of The Propellerheads, The Prodigy and Rage Against The Machine.

Well, chuck your memories in the bin. Because everything you think you know about The Matrix is a load of crap and Neo is going to ram it up your back-side, all-the-while accompanied by a mildly weird 80's electronic 'rhythm'. Unless you pay him not to. Then he's your best friend.

If this sounds like your kind of re-edit, then you are going to love this. 'Robots vs Kung Fu' is very left-of-centre which for those of the more cynical disposition (like yours truly) means it is highly enjoyable. Characters are completely mixed up and messed around, often with hilarious results. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Neo tell people to 'fuck off' at every opportunity, his shady morals making him a far more sympathetic anti-hero than the wide-eyed innocent original. And don't get me started on the enigmatic and downright-weird Morpheous.

Then there are The Agents, particularly Agent Smith. Where to start? Well, when he's not buggering his victims off-screen for information, he's having them held-down in an interview room for his own sexual gratification. If you thought the original was bad, wait until you've been treated to this editor's version. Brilliant.

How matrixgrindhouse pulls this off is by delving in to an enviable knowledge of pulp video fare. The list of sources is awe-inspiring and a large hint at just how much work and research went in to this project.

The best compliment I can pay this edit? I'll be back very soon to watch it again. Or was that deja-vu?

I want to end on the high this gargantuan effort deserves, so we'll start with criticisms. The main one is that this film seems confused about whether it is an homage to early-80's VHS straight-to-video exploitation (there was a time when there was very little content to rent on VHS, so shit films were rushed out to fill the vacuum - believe me, I remember by grandad renting a sci-film he thought from the cover must be like Star Wars only for us to watch open-mouthed as people had their skulls melted with lasers) or if it's a dodgy 16mm release of a low-budget sci-fi, which would make it late 1970's. The music and low grade video for me firmly places it in the former, which makes the film-degradation effects occasionally confusing. I'd have loved to see tape drop-out and wear to accompany the rest of the edit, rather than the usual film scratches.

'Grindhouse' stylistically can also be taken so far that the audience isn't sure at times whether a degrading effect is intentional or not. For example, in this edit one of the main characters (Trinity) speaks about 4 long lines of dialogue that are at quite a profound moment in the film (as profound as an excellent piss-take as this can get) and they are virtually inaudiable. Is this a clever device to cover up lines that wouldn't make sense? Or is the sound badly handled? At times it's hard to tell.

As I said in my review, there is an absolute well of footage that the editor has sifted through to make this film - but at times the music sounds a little limited. It fits most of the time, but there are tracks that sound self-indulgent and don't fit in with the others. Listening to the soundtrack to the original 'The Matrix' is a masterclass is putting disparate music together that fits seamlessly, and a project this large deserves as much attention.

All that being said, this is indeed a huge project. Almost every shot has been toyed with in some way or another, and when the trailer says 'three years in the making' you believe it. A massive undertaking that must have taken months of dedication - which is what it takes to make a great FanEdit. Excellent work.

(One last point - the film can be watched on an online video service, making it instantly accessible and user-friendly. FanEditors aspiring to the seriousness and calibre of this project that want their work to reach a large audience should take note.)

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