Monday, April 22, 2013

Johnny Mnemonic

It’s time we plug in our LAN lines and take a trip all the way back to the mid-90s—a time that was dominated by O.J. Simpson and his love of “the perfect crime;” A time when Americans needed a hero to look up to, and Val Kilmer’s bulge just wasn’t enough to satisfy the nation’s unquenchable thirst for manliness. Today, we evaluate a different class of hero: a cyberpunk data courier who’s being hunted down for the data that he is carrying…in his mind. No, it’s not The Matrix (sorry), but it is the most action-packed, hardest-to-pronounce, science fiction extravaganza that 1995 was able to pull out of its ass and throw up on the silver-screen (and Keanu Reeves is in it). Today, we score Johnny Mnemonic.
  • The movie starts and we are literally inside the internet-- “The Internet 2021” to be exact. We wonder who colonized this land first? In any case, it really is a series of tubes! = +5pts. 
  • Johnny makes a video-call from the television in his hotel room. The future is now! (or then, whatever.) = +5pts. 
  • Johnny’s hotel is in Newark, New Jersey in 2021, dispelling all hope that New Jersey will someday sink into the eternal abyss, much like an unwanted, overly tanned Atlantis. = -5pts. 
  • We don’t hate Keanu Reeves, we just hate when he doesn’t act with his whole face. = +3pts. 
  • Johnny can only fit 160 Gigabytes in his brain, and that’s with a “doubler.” No matter how exponential technological growth is, you will never convince us that Keanu Reeves could fit more than a floppy-disk worth of data in his head. = -10pts. 
  • Johnny enters a room full of scientists and thugs, holds up his briefcase like he’s delivering a pizza and says, “Who ordered the double-cheese with anchovies.” = +3pts. (For Keanu’s ninja-turtle style performance.) 
  • The data the scientists put in Johnny’s brain is 320 Gigabytes in size, even though this will kill him within 24 hours for being over his capacity. Johnny could have avoided this, buts he’s a risk taker and a go-getter = +4pts. (For knowing what it takes to succeed living life in the fast lane.) 
  • The creators of this film hit a few of the technological predictions about the internet on the head, but our question is, “Where are the cats?” = -6pts. 
  • We also get severe nosebleeds after spending too much time online. = +7pts. (For identifying with the audience.) 
  • The Japanese assassin using some heavy-duty, lightsaber-esque piano wire to cut people into pieces reminds us that we need to buy a better cheese slicer. = +11pts. 
  • A meeting between the Pharmacological Company boss Takahashi and Yakuza leader Shinji is spoken in full Japanese for 30 seconds until Takahashi says, “You can speak to me in English now.” Which is English for, “OK, that’s enough, the Americans are tired of reading subtitles.” = -3pts. 
  • The decision to have Henry Rollins’ character, Spider, wear hipster glasses is a testimony to the filmmakers’ commitment to ensure that this movie would stay so far underground, nobody would ever see it…ever. = -15pts. 
  • Johnny loves to use motion sensors. TriStar should sue Nintendo for stealing their technology for the Wii. = -3pts to the Scorecard, for suggesting that Johnny Mnemonic had any influence whatsoever on technology in the real world. 
  • Jane, the cyber-enhanced female bodyguard/Johnny’s sidekick, could have been a progressive character, breaking down barriers and showing that women don’t need to be present in action films strictly to be objectified... could have been. = -10pts. 
  • Ice-T finally makes an appearance, looking less like a leader of a futuristic anarchist group, and more like the captain of a paintball team.= -10pts. 
  • We didn’t believe that Takahashi was a powerful Asian man until the completely unnecessary shot of him getting dressed revealed a hard-ass dragon tattoo covering his entire back. = +5pts 
  • Johnny reveals that he made room in his brain to house vast amounts of data by erasing his childhood memories, which also clearly included his ability to show basic human emotion. = -8pts. 
  • Johnny uses Nintendo Power gloves to navigate the internet. = +5pts 
  • Apparently, in 2021 you get shocked by the computer for guessing the wrong password. This must have been an attempt by computer engineers to punish the neckbeards. = +2pts. 
  • There is a noticeable lack of pop-up ads on this highly interactive version of the internet, thereby decreasing authenticity. = -13pts. 
  • Dolph Lundgren makes an appearance as the Street Preacher/Assassin Karl. He has a crucifix-shaped dagger, which makes us wonder about the crucifix he has hidden in the bedroom. = +3pts
  • Johnny navigates the internet with his power gloves like Edward Scissorhands cuts hair: with grace and attention to detail. Now that we think about it, Johnny Digitalfingers may have been a better title for this movie. = +4pts. 
  • Spider is as believable as a doctor as Henry Rollins is as an actor. = -5pts 
  • Spider has a decked-out, armored Winnebago. All is forgiven. = +10pts. 
  • Spider runs over the Street Preacher/Jesus look-a-like with the armored Winnebago. = +10pts (For quickly becoming our favorite character.) 
  • Dr. Spider: “I fucking hate technology and how much we rely on it…Okay, now I’m just going to use this awesome technology to pull images from your head so we can save your life.” = -5pts. 
  • In order to fool Johnny into giving up the cure during a video-call, Takahashi uses his hand (with a projector behind it) like a sock puppet to make Johnny believe he is talking to an actual human. Your guess is as good as ours. = -25pts. (Señor Wences would have been a master villain, had he lived to 2021.) 
  • While approaching the LoTek hideout of “Heaven”, a car falls from to top of the tower and explodes on the ground, which is followed by Johnny yelling, “What the fuck is going on?!” We’re wondering the same thing, Johnny. = +10pts 
  • For Johnny’s self-righteous speech about how much pressure he’s under to be the savior of the “entire fucking world,” when all he wants is room service. = +11pts 
  • A cyborg dolphin that is being housed by the LoTeks is the key to the salvation for Johnny and all mankind. It even has cyborg eyes, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it could shoot lasers out of them. = +15pts. 
  • A tender scene in which the dolphin squeaks and squeals in dolphin language, pleading with Johnny to let him microwave his brain for the last code of the key. = +3pts. 
  • There goes another car from the top of the tower, and *BOOM*-- Heaven is rocked by another explosion so intense it could make Michael Bay climax. = +5pts. 
  • Karl (the Street Preacher/Jesus lover) nailing Jane to the wall works on so many levels. = +4pts. 
  • “The dolphin can take you into the data” may be the strangest combination of words ever strung together. = +2pts. 
  • Karl is killed and falls off the top of the tower like the cars that preceded him. WHERE THE FUCK IS THE EXPLOSION?! = -25 pts. 
  • “Initiate final boss sequence,” is what we imagine Shinji uttered right before starting the epic final fight scene. = +5pts. 
  • Cyber dolphin reappears and helps get the data out of Johnny’s head, thus assisting him with saving all of mankind. If only Jesus had a cyber-dolphin. = +10pts. 

Total Score = -1pts
Available On: DVD, Blu-Ray, or the dumpster behind the Blockbuster that’s going out of business.

We were truly hoping that Johnny Mnemonic would be a “so bad it’s good” experience. Unfortunately, after the first 20 minutes had passed, we knew that this was not the case. Terrible acting, poor special effects, and a shitty soundtrack culminate into a brain-fart of an experience. If you must watch , please do so with scorecard in hand.

Score Technician: Ryan VenHuizen

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