The Film: Johnny Mnemonic
The Principles and the Premise: Story by steampunk God William Gibson. Directed by Robert Longo.
Starring Keanu Reeves as Johnny, a data trafficker with a staggering 160 gigs of storage space in his brain, filled to the brim with vital data that the Yakuza wants to cut out of him. Also appearing is a sexy Dina Meyer as a technologically enhanced bodyguard, Henry Rollins as a doctor trying to save the people of his community, Udo Kier as a scummy slimeball European-type (what else?), Ice-T as the leader of a group of anti-technology warriors called the Lo-teks, Dolph Lundgren as a “street preacher” who runs around killing people with a shepard’s staff and making bad Jesus puns, and BEAT MOTHERFUCKING TAKESHI as the head of the Yakuza!
I know what you’re thinking- how- HOW could this possibly be as bad of a movie as they all said it was? Look at that cast!
And maybe you’re like me, and you’ll notice it on Netflix Instant, and you’ll make a dumb decision that will haunt the rest of your days (but hopefully allow you to write a biting article).
Is It Good: No.
Just look at the dialogue. There’s a scene where Johnny is sick of running from all the people trying to kill him, sick of trying to do the right thing, and starts bellowing “I WANT ROOM SERVICE!” He launches into a speech about how he wants to sit on his ass in a hotel and live out of the room. This is our hero? Just watch:
Gibson supposedly wrote this script but I can’t believe it. He’s a tremendous writer- there’s not many people who can say they are single-handedly responsible for the popularity of an entire genre, after all. But the film is steeped in the one-liners of shitty action films, slathered in stupidity, dolloped with cliche after cliche. Gibson mentioned in an interview that the studio chopped the film up and turned it from an art flick to a stupid actioner, but the dialogue was all there, buddy.
Perhaps it’s just Reeves’ fault. Everyone has knocked him for wooden performances before but this has got to be the worst performance of his career.
But how any movie can waste Beat Takashi this way is beyond me. The Japanese version of the film includes a few scenes that were deleted for American release that expand his character a bit but when you’ve got the Japanese legend in his first American film, you keep those in!
Is It Worth A Look: No.
Well, that’s a lie. Get drunk and watch this with friends and you’ll have a blast. I saw this sober in the morning- definitely not the ideal situation. Perhaps this would be a good movie to show this summer at Hell Gate Social…
Random Anecdotes: Netflix Instant has this in HD. You don’t need to see this in HD. The one bad thing about Netflix Instant is that stupid movies don’t seem like a waste of time when you pop them on. They are.