It’s been two decades since the Wachowskis delivered The Matrix (1999) to theaters, astonishing audiences with its visual dynamism with a great futuristic concept that actually almost seemed plausible. One of the more memorable things about the film was the sheer badassery of its fight scenes: With classic martial arts matched with incredible visual effects, and sheer existentialism, all in the same space.
One such fight scene is the lobby shootout and it might be the film’s most broadly influential scene. When a battalion of guards in gear suggestive of SWAT teams floods into the lobby, and trench-coated Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) blow them all away in a climactic vision of an alternative reality where it’s possible to gun down anyone (the victims aren’t real people) everything in slow motion accompanied with beats by the British big beat duo Propellerheads.
Visual artist John Gaeta was impressed with the Wachowskis’ script and joined forces with the effects team at Manex VFX after introducing what would become known as “bullet time,” a revolutionary camera process that allowed a shot to appear as though the camera was moving at normal speed while everything in frame is moving in slow motion.