Cult-Trash-Badass-Cinema -and more…

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)

Directed by Robert Longo, screenplay William Gibson (also short story)

A data courier, carrying a data package literally inside his head too large to hold for long, must deliver it before he dies from it.

This is one of my all-time faves. It has actors I like, its a cyberpunk story, great visuals and it lost nothing of its power(despite the now silly -looking CGI parts), maybe even more relevant now  than back then, as we see, that it isn`t all too far-fetched, maybe. To the contrary…seems like humankind realizes almost every idea that seemed fiction at one point. Data storage in big numbers is an everyday reality these days, computer technology evolves faster than ever, Julian Assange does stuff you could link to the medical data this film is about etc, etc.

The director Robert Longo planned this as a small art film, with a 1, 5 mio budget.

Nobody wanted to give that money, until Sony paid attention and gave way to a  30 million dollar budget. Sadly, that also meant less control over the film in the end, as his directors cut wasn`t released. I still like the theatrical and the japanese cut. A directors cut is well and good, but it doesn`t make the film better in every case. For instance- I like the Donnie Darko theatrical version over the DC, the DC of that movie felt like the version for dumb people, who didn`t get it. Hell, I didn´t get it for some time, and I didn`t care..the overall atmosphere of the film was more important to me, it is a film that simply put me in a trance. Just as Virgin Suicides did. That, to me , is more important than

giving more of an explanation whats going on there. But the editing of the film alone makes it pretty obvious that they butchered the movie quite a bit.

Anyway….I felt and feel that JM is a truly entertaining, bizzare, visually striking movie, it features some of the coolest guys on the planet-and I don`t care if you don`t count in  Keanu Reeves-I like him. Dolph Lundgren, Takeshi -motherfuckin-Kitano, Ice-T, Henry Rollins and Udo Kier? That´s a cast I jump at when I see it. I have a thing for the darker side of science fiction, Star Trek for instance is garbage in my book. I am happy when I see dark, violent, dirty science fiction. This movies has it all, action, fun, visuals, crazy characters..a great mix.

The story should be known to most of you, so I won`t bother.

There is a japanese cut, that runs about 7 minutes longer. It features more  of Kitano( thats understandable, cuz he is big in japan), more of Dolph`s character and some other angles and so on.. I just read that the Japanese Blue-Ray release features this cut just as an extra, not in HD resolution…that is weird. Again, money issues, I guess. But at least its on there. Keanu Reeves, to me, was pitch-perfect for his role, I really enjoyed him in this. It is a great B-movie with a budget, and somehow I feel it would`ve made a good tv series, but thats just me.

Here the comparison of both versions:


2 responses

  1. I need to see this again. I remember when it first came out that I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like the first time director and didn’t like the look of the film. But hell, that was almost 20 years ago and my tastes have definitely changed since then. The only thing I really remember from it was that Dolph Lundgren was such a wacko in this. lol. And I thought that was cool, to see him in something totally different. I don’t even think he uses a gun in this, does he? Would that make it the only film he’s never used a gun in ? Oh wait, I forgot about Rocky IV.

    But anyway, you’ve inspired me to give it another try. 🙂

    January 5, 2012 at 9:05 PM

  2. Yeah, this is pretty hit and miss. I remember loving it as a kid and it really got me into reading William Gibson. Looking back now it’s kind of a mess, but a fun mess nonetheless. There were a lot of gaudy futuristic films like Tank Girl and Barb Wire that came out at the same time.

    One weird bit of trivia – they made an interactive movie video game of this. But rather than re-use clips or whatever they reshot pretty much all of it with a low budget cast. Christopher Gartin (from Tremors 2) plays Johnny. Look it up on youtube!

    January 5, 2012 at 9:20 PM

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