Figure Flashback

FIGURE FLASHBACK: N2 Toys The Matrix (1999-2000)


Have you heard the news that we’re getting a fourth Matrix movie? Yeah, I don’t get it either, but I’m not surprised. The Matrix trilogy was red hot back in the day (1999-2003), despite the films progessively declining in story quality as the series dragged on (though I LOVE that Sentinel battle in Revolutions). With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for Hollywood to revisit the brand.


Plus, you have a Keanu Reeves in his prime. While I think he’s far from the greatest actor alive, his one-note portrayal of Neo worked. With his current role as hitman extreme John Wick, Keanu Reeves has perfected his less-said-is-more acting approach. Of course it helps when you have two kickass, fan-favorite franchises to back up that so-so acting, but you get my point: Keanu can still sell movies. That said, I AM very curious to what The Matrix 4 brings to the table.



Regardless of the mediocre follow-ups and questionable future of the franchise, 1999’s original THE MATRIX was a mind-blowing movie. The Matrix is one of those rare films that totally floored me with its crazy sci-fi premise. The “real world” is a computer programmed illusion?! I left the theater that day dazed, confused and very, very excited.



Capitalizing on the success of The Matrix, a new toy company named N2 Toys entered the scene. Having recently discovered the joy of collecting action figures again, my urge to own Matrix movie toys was strong in 1999. That year also happened to be my first New York Toy Fair, so the combination of wanting – and actually meeting the company making these action figures – was intoxicating. 


N2 Toys launched their Matrix series with action figures of a trench coat wearing Neo dual wielding MP-5s; a shotgun, Uzi-packing Morpheus; bare armed, leather clad Trinity; computerized villain Agent Smith, along with deep-dive Nebuchadnezzar crew members such as short-lived Switch and betrayer Cypher. I bought the first three figures and held off on the secondary characters as I eagerily awaited the release of Series 2’s Sentinel squid.



Joining the Sentinel in 2000 was an eccletic assortment of memorable Matrix moments, including “Mr. Anderson” where Neo hacks up a squirming tracking machine; a Neo vs. Agent Smith 2-packTank with his lightning rifleand Trinity doing her iconic “air leap”. Several Matrix figure exclusives rounded out the assortment, including a “coded” Agent Smith and Trinity with trench coat.  DSCN4176


Looking back on the toy line today, N2 Toys’ The Matrix action figures weren’t the worse thing ever made, but they certainly weren’t groundbreaking either. Instead, N2 Toys’ strength rested solely on The Matrix toy license itself. When you have nothing else to compare to, you take what you can get. It wouldn’t be until 2003 when McFarlane Toys would significantly amp up The Matrix license with their mostly static, but superior-sculpted Matrix diorama figure series.


The sculpts on N2 Toys’ Matrix figures are soft, but adequate. And while articulation on these figures is rather stiff and limited, some poses, such as Neo unloading with his twin submachine guns, still holds some charm on display. I also absolutely adore my simple N2 Toys Sentinel squid (a joke compared to McFarlane’s later beast of a figure), if for nothing else its awesome mechanical movie design.


N2 Toys’ run with The Matrix was short, but sweet. The license succeeded in placing N2 Toys on the toy collecting map. Even as interest in the Matrix line wound down in 2000, N2 Toys was already preparing the launch of a totally unexpected, fan-requested toy license: Mad Max! Ah, but that’s a Figure Flashback for another day…

For those wanting to track down N2 Toys’ Matrix figures, many can easily be found reasonably priced via Amazon (check out all our hyper links above). Figures like Neo and the Sentinel, however, are extremely hard to find these days (hey, they are the coolest characters!), so your best bet there is the secondary market, such as eBay. Happy hunting!

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  1. Steven

    Great article, Jeff. I very fondly remember when these figures released. I first learned of them through TFAW catalog (does anyone remember that?) and anticipating getting them at my local comic shop the second they released.

    N2 Toys was a pretty exciting company to watch and, to this day, I still long for their “Red Planet” movie figures. But, their line for “The Matrix” was exciting. If I remember correctly, I believe these toys came out around the VHS/DVD release. I still proudly own the whole set.

    McFarlane offered some pretty solid figures too, but as you said, they were static and the fixed poses didn’t do it for me like the N2 Toys did. Great to see this Flashback Figure article. Makes me wonder who will get the license for “The Matrix 4” and if that license will see any figures produced off of the original trilogy.

    • Jeff Saylor

      Thanks man, glad you enjoyed. Red Planet! Had totally forgotten about THAT license. While I’m down for astronaut figures, it’s kind of a blessing that those were never made. I don’t recall that movie being a mega hit (back when all those Mars movies came out, Mission to Mars, et al. Now a figure from The Martian and Matt Damon’s cool spacesuit is another matter).

      N2 Toys WAS an exciting company to watch, especially for all their licensing plans. I remember they showed off a bunch of eccentric licenses towards the end that sadly never materialized, like Taxi Driver. There was also some original sci-fi line they had in the works. I can’t for the life of me recall the name, but I remember the figures looking cool.

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