Keanu Reeves wanted Johnny Mnemonic to do for his career what The Matrix finally did. In fact, I'll bet that after the stinker Johnny Mnemonic turned out to be someone had to really, really persuade Reeves to take on Matrix. Mnemonic is a bad, bad movie. And I'll stand firm on that, go ahead, tell me I'm wrong. Did you listen to the dialogue? Did you notice the poorly edited sub-text of a romantic relationship? Did you see that jacked-up dolphin? Oh man is this a bad movie.
That having been said... Johnny Mnemonic is worth watching. Why? Because the effects are cool and the action is impressive. And if the plot is far-fetched, even insanely stupid, at least it moves forward, quickly, and with lots of explosions.
Johnny Mnemonic (which I keep wanting to spell with a "p") is a story about a guy with a problem. He's got a few short hours to figure out how to get a chip out of his brain before it kills him. Johnny put the chip there himself, as a part of his job as an international cyber-courier. His brain has been tampered with in such a way ("I had to give up a substantial chunk of long term memory, like my entire childhood") that he is able to store massive amounts of sensitive data for transfer across borders. This time, however, Johnny got greedy and tried to carry more data than his brain could support. An experience not difficult for Reeves to simulate, one guesses.
So, the clock is ticking and Johnny is not the only person who wants to get his hands on that chip and get it out of his head. Only difference is that Johnny wants to stay alive when it comes out. Everybody else would prefer that he die.
Enter Jane, played by Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers/Dragonheart). Jane is a hi-tech body guard, or at least she wants to be one. Unfortunately for Jane, in the future, people have tampered so much with their biological makeup that a new and horrible disease has developed--and she's got it. The disease prevents her from being a reliable bodyguard, so she's looking for work. She winds up helping Reeves seek alternative medicine only to discover that what he's got in his head could make her life a heck of a lot better. Along the way they encounter help in the form of a lunatic band of fringe techno-street fighters (led by Ice-T) and a dolphin wired to a mega computer. It just gets stranger, but don't shoot the messenger.
Okay, clearly I thought this was a dumb movie but like I said, it's a really good-looking movie and this transfer more than does it justice. Color saturation is good throughout the movie and while I'm not very good at spotting "noise" and some of the more subtle imperfections, this movie kicked butt from a visual stand point. The sound quality was just as good as the picture. Available in both 2.0 surround and digital 5.1 (which I appreciate in the absence of a home theater system), the only thing I can say is that if you're gonna watch a so-so sci-fi movie, it should definitely look and sound this good. If you loved the movie, by all means buy this disc. If you're going to have some friends over to play drinking games and watch things blow-up, this is a great party rental. I know, evey time someone utters a line of profound dialogue that makes no sense in the context of the current scene, take a drink.
Boring and slightly fuzzy interactive menus and 36 Chapter Selections, which is not bad for a 98 minute movie.
Amy Morrison, 11/13/00