The series features a cyberpunk story of the technological fall of man, in which the creation of artificial intelligence led way to a race of self-aware machines that imprisoned mankind in a virtual reality system—the Matrix—to be farmed as a power source. Every now and then, some of the prisoners manage to break free from the system and, considered a threat, become pursued by the artificial intelligence both inside and outside of it. The films focus on the plight of Neo (played by Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) trying to free humanity from the system while pursued by its guardians, such as Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving). The story incorporates references to numerous philosophical, religious, or spiritual ideas, among others the dilemma of choice vs. control, the brain in a vat thought experiment, messianism, and the concepts of inter-dependency and love. Influences include the principles of mythology, anime, and Hong Kong action films (particularly "heroic bloodshed" and martial arts movies). The film series is notable for its use of heavily choreographed action sequences and "bullet time" slow motion effects, which revolutionized action films to come.