CAIRO - The Hollywhood science fiction hit movie Matrix Reloaded has been banned in Egypt for threatening to offend traditional religious views on the creation of humankind, the chief censor said Wednesday.
The director of artistic censorship, Madkur Thabet, said that "despite its excellent technical level, the film was banned because it deals with subjects like human existence and creation.
"And these are questions linked to the three monotheistic religions that we respect and which we believe in," Thabet added. "These questions have in the past provoked crises and tension."
He said the decision was taken by a "committee of university professors and cinema experts."
In addition, he said, "the film has too many scenes of violence at a time when we are trying to fight this phenomenon."
The distributors of the movie have the right to appeal the ruling to a committee within the culture ministry.
Egyptian censors banned the original Matrix in 1999, but the distribution company had obtained permission to show it after appealing it to the ministry commission.
The sequel, starring Keanu Reeves, took 91.7 million dollars at the US and Canadian boxoffice - the second-best weekend opening ever, box office trackers Exhibitor Relations said May 18.
"The Matrix Reloaded," the second in a planned trilogy - had the best opening of all time for an R-rated film, the label given to movies not recommended for children under 17.
The film is a dark fantasy, which retains the mix of pseudo eastern philosophy and Western mythology, spectacular fight scenes and lavish special effects that made the 1999 original such a hit.
Reeves, who plays the series' Kung fu kicking, shades-wearing hero, Neo, is back as part of the band of rebels who battle intelligent machines in a future in which humans are enslaved within the Matrix - a virtual reality that looks very much like Los Angeles today.
It was released by the US studio Warner Bros.