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THE MATRIX RELOADED

Impossible Stunts and Combat
Like the film's groundbreaking virtual effects, the daring and innovative stunt work in The Matrix Reloaded transcends the extraordinary feats performed in the first film.  One of the most astonishing sequences in Reloaded is the fourteen-minute breakneck Freeway Chase involving spectacular car crashes, a life-and-death struggle in a speeding Cadillac, a Kung Fu battle atop a barreling big rig, and Trinity flying against traffic on a Ducati motorcycle with the imperiled Key Maker on the back.  It took seven weeks to film the chase on a mile-and-a-half-long freeway loop constructed specifically for the film at the Alameda Naval Base.

"It's relentless,” says Fishburne of the chase.  "The cars start going on the freeway, the cops are following us, there's the communication with Link on the phone, there's the Twins, they're firing, they're morphing, the Agents show up, Trinity gets on a bike, she goes the wrong way, then you look up and Morpheus is riding on the truck like he's surfing.  After I saw what happens on the freeway, I realized how crazy Morpheus truly is.”

The freeway sequence demanded a massive amount of planning from supervising stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell.  "I would sit down with the brothers for an hour and just talk about speed; let's start with something generic, 55 miles an hour for a traffic pattern.  The chase vehicles are doing 80, so they're overtaking the cars by 20 miles an hour.  How fast does that look when it's going by?  I would literally take out my little toy cars and we'd position them to see how the vehicles could be placed.” 

Computer generated "pre-visualization” was an indispensable tool employed by the filmmakers to map out the complex shots they needed to achieve, taking into account the logistics of the stunts going on amidst the barrage of flying vehicles.  Pre-visualization is the process of blocking out a sequence on computer, applying camera moves to it, then animating the scene for a detailed preview of what the final product could look like. 

"In the Freeway Chase, the camera is in places where it hasn't been before in car chases,” says director of photography Bill Pope.  "The brothers made up their dream shots and put them into a computer and spit out a synthetic version of what they could look like onscreen.  Then we had to figure out how to come up with those same shots in the real world.”

The high-tech pre-planning then merged with a more tangible, hands-on approach.  "We literally walked the freeway with a little rolling measuring stick,” Rondell explains, "and precisely marked the pattern that Trinity's motorcycle and the motorcycle-mounted camera would be following, with specific marks were they would make their passes and swerves.  We calculated how long it takes this vehicle to travel, how long it takes to stop.  Then we'd arrange the cars accordingly in the pr

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