We all know "The Matrix". A movie that pushed the limits of imagination aided by superior computer graphics and wire trapeze tricks; that was followed by two crappy sequels that felt forced written. "The Matrix" could be considered one of the most ground breaking movies in cinema history. I feel though that a movie that should be given equal credit if not more credit, was a movie called "Equilibrium".
Now, both are what I like to call Alternate History Timeline Fictions. I'm a huge sucker for Alternate History Fictions. (That's why I wrote the series "War in the Backyard") The fact that if a series of events in human history had been different, or changed; what would/could happen. The "Terminator" saga would be another prime example of this.
If you're unfamiliar with either movie, here are their synopses':
Thomas A. Anderson is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus, a legendary computer hacker branded a terrorist by the government. Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines that live off of the humans' body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix. As a rebel against the machines, Neo must return to the Matrix and confront the agents: super-powerful computer programs devoted to snuffing out Neo and the entire human rebellion. (IMDB)
At the end of World War III, the world fell under the control of Father and the Tetragrammaton: a government that outlaws all forms of art and emotion. Citizens are forced to take drugs that eliminate emotions. However, "Sense Offenders": citizens who resist the laws and operate underground are continually at war with the Tetragrammaton. John Preston is a Cleric, an elite super-soldier who's mission is to hunt down and eliminate Sense Offenders with the help of a ruthless police force. One day, Preston accidentally breaks his morning dose of emotion suppressant drug and begins to feel. Soon, he begins sympathizing with the Sense Offenders and begins to understand the beauty of feeling... A beauty that the government, in which Preston spent his life serving, would like to see destroyed. (IMDB)
I want to do a comparison between the two movies using 3 scenes from each and let you be the judge. Below are the very first fight scenes from each movie. Each one in their own right is amazing and jaw dropping. The Matrix scene shows "Trinity" evading capture from police and agents, and was one of the first scenes I ever saw using a blend of CG, Wire fighting and new camera techniques.
The scene from Equilibrium, is also jaw dropping and is the first time we get to see "The Gun Kata". (I'll explain what that is in a minute). It was one of those scenes where, I was so mesmerized that I was on the edge of my seat.
The Gun Kata is a fictional gun-wielding martial art discipline. "Kata (型,かた,カタ)" is a Japanese word for Karate, Jujutsu, Aikido, and many other traditional Bujutsu. Gun Kata is based on the premise that, given the positions of the participants in a gun battle, all trajectories of fire are statistically predictable. By memorizing the positions, one can fire at the most likely location of an enemy without aiming at him in the traditional sense. By the same token, the trajectories of incoming fire are also statistically predictable, so by assuming the appropriate stance, one can keep clear of the most likely path of enemy bullets.
The Gun Kata shown in Equilibrium is a hybrid mix of the film's writer and director Kurt Wimmer's own style of Gun Kata (invented in his backyard) and the martial arts style of the fight choreographer Jim Vickers, with elements of the Chinese Wing Chun martial art style. Wimmer and Vickers disagreed on the appropriate form of Gun Kata, with Wimmer advocating a smoother, flowing style and the choreographer supporting a more rigid style. Much of the Gun Kata seen in the film is based on the choreographer's style. Kurt Wimmer's Gun Kata style is dispersed sparsely throughout the movie, most notably in the introductory scene with the silhouetted man, played by Wimmer himself, practicing with dual pistols.
To quote the movie:
"Through analysis of thousands of recorded gunfights, the Cleric has determined that the geometric distribution of antagonists in any gun battle is a statistically-predictable element. The Gun Kata treats the gun as a total weapon, each fluid position representing a maximum kill zone, inflicting maximum damage on the maximum number of opponents, while keeping the defender clear of the statistically-traditional trajectories of return fire. By the rote mastery of this art, your firing efficiency will rise by no less than 120%. The difference of a 63% increased lethal proficiency makes the master of the Gun Katas an adversary not to be taken lightly."
The next 2 scenes are some of the most EPIC shootouts from each movie.
Finally, some of the last battles from each movie. Neo takes on Agent Smith as he begins to believe that he is capable of defeating an "invincible" agent of the Matrix.
Cleric John Preston (Christian Bale), makes way to take out the leader of the Tetragrammaton facing impossible odds.
I love both movies. "The Matrix" allowed us to open the possibility in our minds that anything is achievable. That we are only limited by ourselves. With a great plot line and writing, it was only ruined at the very end by "Neo" flying off like a super hero.
However, I truly feel that "Equilibrium" had better storytelling and achieved so without the aid of computer software. I think it's only downfall was that it was a little long winded for most people. Sadly I feel that the plight of modern society is to blame for this. People today want instant gratification, and don't take the time to enjoy character development and plot building.
So, WHO IS THE WINNER? Or are Both movies PHENOMENAL in their own rights? I feel the later is more true.
Follow us on Instagram @irregular_mischief
and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/irregularmischief
We're proudly Sponsored by the following:
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
Grunt Geeks PODCAST!!!!
Friends of Ours!