Johnny Mnemonic (1996)

Movie Title: Johnny Mnemonic

Year Released: 1996

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 36m

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Director: Robert Longo

Writer: William Gibson

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Dina Meyer, Ice-T, Takeshi Kitano, Denis Akiyama, Dolph Lundgren, Henry Rollins, Barbara Sukowa, Udo Kier, Tracy Tweed, Falconer Abraham, Don Francks, Diego Chambers, Sherry Miller,

Review: In the future, Johnny Mnemonic (Keanu Reeves) literally has a hard drive in head, and it contains the most important data the world will even know. This courier must deliver this information before it kills him or he's killed for it by the lethal Yakuza. Get ready for a action-packed cyber-thriller that was way ahead of its time back in 1995. If you need a guy that's got looks and brains then get ready to pick up what Johnny Mnemonic is downloading.

Ah, the mid-1990s... virtual reality, cybernetics, and the world wide web! It's funny that Johnny Mnemonic included the use of cutting edge technology and it may have worked in its favor at the time, but re-watching it it in 2022, this sci-fi-actioner is not only horribly dated, but boring as well.

Keanu Reeves is Johnny Mnemonic. Basically he's Keanu Reeves, but Keanu Reeves is infinitely awesome! And that's not up for debate. Here he fights the Yakuza, deals with pounding headaches, and has to digitally connect his brain to a robotically enhanced dolphin. That's all true, you can look it up!

Besides the dystopian future setting, a deadly virus lurking, the action scenes, the dreadlocked Ice-T, and the Keanu Reeves, Johnny Mnemonic is way more of a miss than a hit. The movie is based on William Gibson's short story, but may not have translated to the big screen like the filmmakers and writers had hoped. It has interesting concepts, but they are explored enough. Maybe it was due to the budget, having a first-time director, or the technology present wasn't too "ahead of its time" like the story calls for - possibly all three. Who knows?

It's funny, the movie that Johnny Mnemonic reminds me of is The Da Vinci Code. No, seriously! Keanu Reeves and his lady friend Jane (Dina Meyer) talk and then run and then talk some more and then run again and then stop to chat and then scamper off once more just like Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) did. It was exhausting! This one just stops and starts and rinses and repeats for the majority of the runtime. I think this one is ripe for a remake, with a much better director and script.

I mainly watched it for the Reeves factor and he doesn't disappoint. He really gives it his all and it's a shame that Johnny Mnemonic was a bit of a technical and human error of sorts. Thankfully, Keanu made up for it with The Matrix, a phenomenal action-sci-fi-thriller that never had any sequels. Oh, and Dolph Lundgren's Street Preacher character feels so out of place, but it's Dolph Lundgren so he gets a pass!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: While the film is based on William Gibson's short story "Johnny Mnemonic", it also draws heavily on his later novel "Virtual Light".


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