Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) * 1/2

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Takeshi Kitano, Dina Meyer, Ice-T, Henry Rollins, Udo Kier

Directed by Robert Longo

Keanu Reeves plays a Johnny, a courier who has downloaded the cure to some vaguely defined plague, however the people that downloaded such in Jonny’s brain are all killed by the Yakuza, so when Johnny gets to the states (New Jersey of all places) various bad guys employed by the medical corporation want his head, literally. Dolph Lundgren plays a religious fanatic assassin preacher while Kitano plays the head of the Yakuza who are Johnny’s deadliest adversaries, they are also the film’s only bright spots. Johnny Mnemonic you can tell wasn’t meant to be an action orientated project, as long intervals go without any real fighting. It’s blatantly obvious however that due to the success of Speed, that Johnny Mnemonic has been edited and turned into an action film by committee, and a very bad one at that. The two bright spots are Takeshi Kitano who plays the only sympathetic character while Lundgren provides life in an intentionally hilarious portrayal of a cybernetic street preacher, whenever Kitano or Lundgren are on screen the film picks up some momentum as Reeves’ character is a ridiculously boring and unlikable character, who, basically runs from anonymous Blade Runner-inspired baddies for far too long. While usually charismatic actors like Ice-T, Henry Rollins, Dina Meyer and Udo Kier are left to flounder in the film’s cluttered back drop and repetitive chases that fail to entertain. Indeed the climax is almost crazy enough to make one forget how dull the rest of this is, but by then it’s too little too late. Ultimately you can tell this movie was torn apart by a committee.

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