Johnny Mnemonic (1995) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 1h36
Release 9.2.1996
Director Robert Longo
About Johnny is a data courier who literally carries data packages inside his head for a fee. This time he carries a package that is too large to hold for long and he must race against time to deliver it.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

The Good

  • Dina Meyer pretty much carried this dead carcass of a film and it was her first acting role. You can see from this performance why she got her role in Starship Troopers. I also do think that had she been the protagonist, as is the case for the short story it is based on, the narrative would have been a tad smoother.
  • Absolutely loved Henry Rollins as the ‘flesh mechanic’, Spider. There’s a speech he has towards the end of the film that is still relevant today.
  • I loved how the upload scene and the ambush was spliced with anime and I’m actually a little sad that it didn’t utilise it a little more.
  • I think this film needs to be commended for its conviction to the cyberpunk aesthetic. Not only that, but it almost provides that bridge between films like Total Recall, Running Man and later ones like Fifth Element. I think this film would have been up there with all of them had the studio not gotten involved with the editing process.

The Bad

  • Remember that bit in Community when Abed went Full Nic Cage?! Well, it turns out someone beat him to that. Keanu Reeves basically transforms into Cage. While Cage would have been a perfect fit for this film, Reeves does not wear Cage well.
  • Don’t cut off the boy’s sideburns. Just no! What’s worse, it took me two thirds of the movie to figure out why Reeves looked so off.

The Ugly

  • The graphics of ‘the internet’ are so shit. Like, really REALLY bad. Even for the time. Although, I know I shouldn’t be too hard on it; Disclosure uses very similar ones.
  • Did Dolph understand the objective? I’m not sure he did. I’ll agree that perhaps there were ‘better’ people than Reeves for the lead role, however he does okay. Dolph on the other hand, should not have been involved in this project.

Final Thoughts

The Story the film is trying to tell shows promise and has perhaps aged much better than anyone would expect it to have, however I do feel that overall, and largely due to company edits, the message is lost in translation.

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