Top critical review
on January 23, 2004
Before Keanu Reeves first entered The Matrix in 1999, he got primed to play Neo, in his first techno thriller, Johnny Mnemonic. Given the end product, he must have left this dud off of his resume, (I would have) otherwise, he might not have been hired for that role at all.
I must confess that I have never read author William Gibson's short story, on which the film is based, but I can't believe it's as bad as this movie...or is it? It's amazing to me, that Gibson also wrote the screenplay. Needless to say, I will not be reading that, any time soon. That said--this review must go on. Johnny Mnemonic (Reeves) is a futuristic courier who loads important data straight into his brain for storage and safe keeping. This information is so vital, in fact, that Johnny has given up brainspace that houses cherished childhood memories, in order to save space to do this last job. He's got just 48 hours to transport a large load of data from Beijing to Newark NJ--and some futuristic samurai warriors--for reasons that don't matter--are out to make sure he doesn't make it to his destination alive.
Hollywood conceptual artist Robert Longo decided to step behind the camera and direct--he should have stayed put. While the movie does make a strong case for itself on a visual level, it is just a mess, in every other way. The cast, including Dina Meyer, Ice-T, Takeshi Kitano, and the greatest actor ever, Dolph Lundgren (I'M KIDDING), seem lost here...What a mess!!
Thank goodness the DVD doesn't have any extras (not even the trailer) on it. If it did, that would have been like rubbing salt on the wound, and I couldn't take the pain. If you decide to watch Johnny Mnemonic anyway, despite my warrning, at least you'll be able to see the film in either the full-screen or widescreen formats. Not that those options will make things any better. Watch at your own risk