Johnny Mnemonic Movie Review

In 2021, when the world is basically ruled by corporate Japan, humans with microchip brain implants are used to transport the most important of data files. Computer networks are unsafe, because people can "jack in" and neo-physically enter the complex world of cyberspace, where a computer virus won't just knock out your computer, it'll kill you outright.

This is the world of writer William Gibson, and it seems like a pretty interesting place to visit. It's unfortunate that Johnny Mnemonic does very little in this setting and comes off as little more than a remake of Tron, without the lightcycle sequence.

The plot (if you can't guess) is like this: Keanu Reeves is one of these cyber-couriers, his brain so packed with information he doesn't even know his last name. The information? The cure for "NAS," the plague of the next century. Out to get him? Both the corporation he's working for and their rivals, preacher/mercenary Dolph Lundgren (yes, it's true), plus the LoTeks, a gang of antiestablishment types led by Ice-T. On his side is a doctor (Henry Rollins, rounding out the pop culture cast) and newcomer Dina Meyer, as his bodyguard.

Lots of characters here--almost all of them plastic and lifeless, especially Reeves in what could have been a great role. In fact, the whole movie is a "could have been," but it mostly sells out to the young video game crowd the film is destined to attract and never makes a point except for one brief scene with Rollins jumping around and howling about how technology is bad. Whatever.

On the redeeming side are the ultra-cool cyberspace sequences, which are required viewing on the big screen. Also good, but overpowered by the animation, is Meyer as Johnny's bodyguard and eventual love interest. Together, these two aspects of the movie make it largely watchable.

The main problem with Johnny Mnemonic (as if I hadn't listed enough already) is the plot: the bad guys are trying to get Johnny's head in order to extract the information. What's the point of a human courier if you can get the info out just by chopping his head off? Maybe a portable hard drive would be cheaper next time.


Johnny Mnemonic Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 1995


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