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Matrix: Critics hate it, fans love it

New York, Nov. 7 (AFP): The Matrix: Revolutions, the third and final film in the sci-fi series starring Keanu Reeves, made history on Wednesday with a simultaneously debut in 80 countries around the world.

US critics panned the $200 million-plus epic, but fans ignored them and lined up outside cinemas from Moscow to Beijing to Los Angeles, often crawling out of bed early or staying up late at night.

Under an unprecedented distribution system, the film was launched at 1400 GMT around the world, so Los Angeles fans of the saga had to be at the movie theatre at 6 am, while those in Tokyo saw it at 11pm and those in the Peruvian capital were served breakfast for a 9 am showing.

The film — in which Reeves plays Neo, a hero on a mission to save mankind and fight against machines dominating a world of virtual reality — was shown in 3,500 cinemas across the US alone, according to the industry review Variety.

Reeves and co-star Jada Pinkett Smith were in Tokyo, where they watched a countdown event at the the Shinjuku Milano-za movie theatre, illuminated by green flood lights — the movie’s theme colour.

Yoshihisa Fujieda, 27, came to the theatre with three dozen fans dressed as characters from the movie. They met through an Internet site for Japanese Matrix fans.

“I like the movie’s extraordinary action scenes. I am dying to know how it will end," said Fujieda, a farmer who travelled more than two hours on trains from his home town of Narita.

He wore the costume of characters The Twins, with his face painted white, wearing white dreadlocks, in a white suit.

Other fans dressed as the villain Agent Smith in dark suits and tie.

In Moscow, Russian communists staged a “flash mob” at the movie screening, seizing the opportunity to heighten their appeal to young people ahead of a December poll.

Two rows of young militants lined the staircase descending from Moscow’s largest cinema into Pushkin square, each wearing a red T-shirt with a florescent letter to read out “We are the NEO-communists” and “Destroy the Matrix.”

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