Monday, March 20, 2023

Johnny Mnemonic

Probably one of Keanu's least recognized films but may have played some part in him getting The Matrix role.

Set in the far distant future of 2021 the world has kinda gone to shit, with the advancements of technology and augmentation a virus has spread across the world to an epidemic state with no cure or real discernable origin, as we meet Johnny a courier of data and information for hire using his brain as a hard drive when he gets a data package a bit too much for him in more ways than one, leading to it being a race to extract the data before his head completely blows a fuse. For a movie made in 1995 it called a few things right and crafts an interesting world that arguably could be said has further stories set in it, cause it's not too futuristic and cyberpunk. The cityscape is normal, nothing is presented as far out and highly futuristic, people just so happen to have cybernetic body parts. It truthfully really reminded me of Ghost In The Shell in terms of setting and tech, they even flat out have a line about the ghost in the machine, so the movie wears it's influence on it's sleeve and tells a competent story. Clocking in just over 90 minutes, it moves at a very good pace and doesn't overstimulate you with technobabble and a complex story but neither does it hold your hand throughout, sure some aspects of the plot are forced if not at warp factor 1 like the romance but it's a decent flick. Keanu is okay, I think this was still him trying to find his groove and honestly the best part is when he goes on this completely uncalled for and hilarious tirade near the end, but hey I'm not expecting groundbreaking acting in a 90s sci-fi film. Dina Meyer plays Jane, a lady who takes on the position of bodyguard for Johnny for a hefty sum, and I will say she is the better of our two leads but some deliveries are kinda off. I attribute that partly due to script, tone, and direction in equal parts. Dolph Lundgren looks like he's having some fun as this religious nutcase hitman, so that was fun! Ice-T I'm kinda wondering why he's in this but he ain't terrible, just oddly casted. The only thing the director had under his belt beforehand was one episode of Tales Of The Crypt, but in terms of cinematography, editing, and effects (though the effects are gloriously 90s when it comes to cyberspace) it looks pretty good. There's some atmosphere, dingy lived in sets, neat props, gnarly practical gore effects, and a few explosions. It's not bad! To be completely on the level though the only reason I knew of this movie to begin with was Spoony's review of the PC game, the premise sounded interesting so I figured why not spotlight a lesser known film of Keanu's career. It's not a great film but far from terrible, I think I could only solely recommend it for people who just want to see the futuristic tech bits, seeing Keanu in a movie before The Matrix but after Bill & Ted, and wonder why in the hell aren't we surfing the world wide web in the most overcomplicated yet bitchin' way possible? 2.5 stars, 6/10, and we're hitting the mainstream next time.

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