Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Well, I can't believe I haven't written about this movie before, because it's surely one of my all-time favorites. It all started long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, otherwise known as 185 Nassau Hall, Princeton University. It was in that distant place where my rather well-to-do film professor informed the class that Johnny Mnemonic was indeed, the worst Hollywood movie ever made. As he described the futuristic sets, cyberpunk themes, delirious computer graphics, robotic characters (literally) and mix of gratuitous costuming and colored lighting, I knew it was love at first sight. I'm sorry Mr. Sanborn, but this here movie might be one of the most glorious things to ever saunter delicately into my existence. The film is also known as Fugitivo del Futuro, and my imdb friend Miho Ishimine describes the plot quite wonderfully,

"In 2021, the whole world is connected by the gigantic Internet, and almost a half of the population is suffering from the Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS).Johnny with an inplanted memory chip in his brain was ordered to transport the over loaded information from Beijing to Newark. While Pharmakom Industries supported by yakuza tries to capture him to get the informaiton back, the Low-tech group led by J-Bone tries to break the missing code to download the cure of NAS which Johnny carries."
Ah, mi-hijo/mijo Miho, someday the gigantic Internet will eat us all. What my friend didn't mention is that Keanu Reeves, Ice-T and Dolph Lundgren, clearly some of the greatest action actors of the 1990's, all graced this film with their immaculate presences. Keanu plays the wooden cyber-smuggler who just wants "room service," and, "a 10,000 $ a night hooker!" Ice-T is clearly playing J-Bone, a rebel leader with the deadliest of dreadlocks. I can't decide if I hope he named his own character or not....And Dolph, amazingly enough, plays some cyborg, assassin preacher-man with his super awesome crucifix knife that, try as I might, I can't seem to find for purchase on the gigantic Internet. It's okay, time is on my side. Another thing that so preciously needs to be added to any summary of this epic encounter is the fact that the real hero is a flippin' dolphin with a cyber helmet! His sonic laser beams kill bad guys and broadcast truth across the globe simultaneously! And he is probably the ugliest dolphin ever made! We get to enjoy him while gliding through a multi-colored, graphicized version of digital reality that brings back sweet memories of Lawnmower Man while reminding me once again why I love my wacko sci-fi movie collection. Ahhh, VHS. Anywho, this movie will blow your mind.
Final Judgment: "Film professors everywhere beware: El Fugitivo del Futuro is invading mindspace in multiple dimensions and it feels so right!/Robot dolphins with brain powers make everything better!/Clearly Keanu has nothing to be sad about!/Oh, the nineties, won't you come back to me?

Ps. Oh, did I mention that this movie is based on a book by one of my absolute favorite authors, cyberpunk god, William Gibson? He also wrote the very famous and very influential "Neuromancer," as well as a slew of other genius works. Woohoo cyberpunk!

"Listen. You listen to me. You see that city over there? THAT’S where I’m supposed to be. Not down here with the dogs, and the garbage, and the fucking last month’s newspapers blowing *back* and *forth*. I’ve had it with them, I’ve had it with you, I’ve had it with ALL THIS —
I WANT ROOM SERVICE!!! I want the club sandwich, I want the cold Mexican beer,
I want a $10,000-a-night hooker. I want my shirts laundered…like they do…
at the Imperial Hotel…in Tokyo."