The year is 1995 and the hot thing(s) on the scene are Keanu Reeves and the newest and wildest frontier yet to be tamed: The Internet. Reeves had been making a name for himself in Hollywood as a kind of bankable maverick. He proved capable of holding his own in smaller teen films (The Night Before), among larger ensemble casts (I Love You to Death), mainstream family fare (Parenthood), gritty dramas (River’s Edge) and zany buddy comedies (the WDWJW favorite Bill & Ted). But it was Point Break that allowed for Reeves to flex his action chops. And while the Bill & Ted movies are technically sci-fi, the futurism and pseudo-technology therein mostly serve to move along the plot and the gags. It wasn’t until 1995 that we first saw Keanu Reeves handle a science fiction film: Johnny Mnemonic.

The year is 2021. Keanu Reeves is the titular character who is a mnemonic courier.  That is to say, he has a hard-drive implanted in his head and is hired to transport very sensitive information from one destination to the next. He must beat the clock, because though he claimed otherwise, he’s overloaded the hard-drive and it’s leaking into his brain, causing disruptions in his memories, and would lead to his death should he not extract the information in just enough time.

Almost anything that can go wrong does for Johnny, as he’s chased by a laser whip wielding assassin charged with bringing the Yakuza Johnny’s head! Of course henchmen abound, and double crosses from perceived allies make for dangerous hurtles to leap. But to assist Johnny is Jane, a tough bodyguard played with wild-eyed urgency by Dina Meyer. They meet a rather casual Ice-T as the leader of the Lo-Teks — a resistance group who abhor humanity’s dependence on technology and are the enemy of Pharmakom (the company that has the cure to a neurological disease that they are hoarding as to exploit the masses afflicted by the ailment). And they run afoul of a manic street preacher-cum-bounty hunter played by the ever-amazing Dolph Lundgren.

The film was directed by artist/sculptor Robert Longo, and is his only film to date. The cast of the film is packed with genre greats including Udo Kier, ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano, and Henry Rollins. There are strange things in this film, from the setting and the camerawork to a hardwired super genius dolphin, and of course, the Internet 2021 as seen through Longo’s 1995 eyes. And here, Jon and I heap praise upon this flick, so listen and enjoy?

 

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