The epic sequel to the classic action movie, The Matrix Reloaded, is best known for its insane highway chase scene. To make such an incredible highway scene possible, the Wachowski Sisters built a fake highway for the shoot. In case that wasn’t awesome enough, General Motors also donated over 300 cars to be used and eventually destroyed for the sake of creating art. Let’s take a look at this memorable cinematic highway chase and the GM models involved in its historic creation.
‘The Matrix Reloaded’ highway was constructed and then destroyed
Unless you are a huge fan of The Matrix Trilogy, you may not easily remember details from The Matrix Reloaded. According to Medium, it just isn’t a very memorable movie as a whole. However, there is one scene that does cause this movie to pop up in viewers’ memories: the highway chase scene. This scene puts The Matrix Reloaded into the action film hall of fame.
This scene presents Morpheus wielding a katana on the top of a moving truck and Trinity showing some serious motorcycle driving skills. All this happens, of course, while being chased by those pesky Agents and the dreadlock twins Programs who happen to be able to phase through objects at will. Needless to say, none of the actors came away from this scene without some kind of injury. There were broken legs and arms, damaged feet, and damaged discs. All of the actors were indeed dedicated to their performance.
Still, it wasn’t just the actors insanely committed to this chase scene. The directors, the Wachowski Sisters, were invested as well. After all, they were so dedicated that they built an entire highway for one movie scene. Dangerous Roads reports that this scene was filmed on an old airplane runway at the Naval Air Station Alameda in California. The freeway was 1.25 miles long and cost $2.5 million to construct. It was fenced by a 19-foot wall designed to look concrete but created with timber and plywood. The road was paved, complete with three lanes in each direction. What happened when the movie was done filming? The road was destroyed.
General Motors got a piece of the action in the Wachowski blockbuster
There is a lot to be seen in the freeway chase scene in The Matrix Reloaded. You can see bullets bouncing off windshields, an in-car fistfight, and cars being crushed and somersaulting through the air. It’s a combination of real-life stunt driving and CGI effects. According to InTrans, over 300 vehicles were ruined, destroyed, and demolished during the filmmaking process. Where did these cars come from? “General Motors donated an impressive 300 cars to create one of the most intense car chase scenes in cinematic history!” Yet, not one of these cars survived production.
Other vehicles featured in ‘The Matrix Reloaded’
According to AdWeek, not only did General Motors donate all those vehicles, but it also made sure to debut its most extensive movie product placement. The Cadillac CTS sedan and Escalade EXT SUV were two major stars of the freeway chase scene. GM provided 24 of these vehicles for the moviemakers. Interestingly, these vehicles were not yet in production at the time of the shooting, so Cadillac created prototypes. “Cadillac also gave filmmakers technical information about the CTS and Escalade EXT, including engineering specifications, math data, and dimensional information about sheet-metal components so stunt coordinators could choreograph the technical elements of the shoot.”
As for non-GM vehicles, there was also plenty of motorcycle play. Trinity, played by Carrie-Ann Moss, is pivotal to the freeway scene. One of her more exciting accomplishments is climbing on top of a transport truck, stealing a superbike, jumping off the truck, and riding away. She also makes a 180-degree turn and rides against traffic. She does these stunts on the dark green Ducati 996. The good news for fans of the movie is that this superbike is surprisingly affordable, capping out at about $10-12K in the U.S. Market.