Johnny Mnemonic (1995) Short Review

 

A mid 90s attempt at a William Gibson cyber-punk short story that feels like its from the 1980s. This might have worked had it not been dumbed down for a mass audience. It’s just not a smart movie. The movie depends on outlandish ideas and images that I’m sure they thought would go over well with young techie anarchist wannabes. Ther are several moents in this where it seems everythings stops in the film as if the director is asking the audience directly “This is cool isn’t it?” My answer would be no.

The film serves as a primer for Reeves later role in The Matrix films. There are a few similarities such as the implanted internet connection in Keanu’s head. In this he plays a cyber-courier, where important data is uploaded directly into his cyborg brain for transport. It’s funny how the advent of the internet has changed things. You would think in this near future that they could just email the encrypted information and it would be a lot faster/safer, but the filmmakers didn’t even see DVDs (or BlueRay) taking the place of VHS tapes.

Reeves is challenged along the way by Yakuza killers and a portrayal of  a Jesus freak that reaches near offensive levels (and not just for the terrible Christian bumper sticker-like one liners that Lundgren is only capable of uttering in this). Who he is aided by is where the film waterskis right into the gills of the shark. I might can buy muscleheaded singer Rollins as a scientific type. In some circles he’s viewed as an intelligent guy because he sometimes wears glasses and performs ‘spoken word’. But I can NOT buy both he AND rapper Ice T as cyber-geniuses in this. There is some truly mechanical acting in this with the collection of Reeves, Lundgren, Rollins, T, Tweed and the undisputed King of Cheeseball acting: Udo Kier.

As far as the action goes, the Matrix this is not. None of the fight scenes are anything beyond adequate, especially when the warrior/bodyguard women of the film are involved. This is one of those films before they started giving the actors actual training and it shows.

“Come to Jesus”.

There are many things that distance the viewer from any emotional involvement in the movie, the biggest being that a good deal of the big moments of the film hinge on ‘imaginary’ moments. When an actor hits himself in the thumb with a hammer, people can relate to that. When Keanu puts on a helmet with multiple emanating wires and yells “YAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH”… Well that’s not very cinematic. You’re having to rely on how well Reeves yells “Yargh” to gauge the significance of it. Eveery time they did that, the other actors just stood around blankly waiting for the next scene…. And the dolphin… Geez. They have a fake cyborg dolphin in a tank just large enough for it to fit in and the dolphin ‘saving the day’ is one of the crucial moments of the film.

This movie is a mediocre time waster, but it’s not quite bad enough to go on my List of the Worst Films of 1995. It was close, though. This only succeeds in being extremely forgettable.

Wasn’t Dina Meyer in that Friday The 13th TV show?

1.5 of 5

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