Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
"Johnny Mnemonic" is one of the great goofy gestures of recent cinema, a movie that doesn't deserve one nanosecond of serious analysis but has a kind of idiotic grandeur that makes you almost forgive it. Based on a story by William Gibson, the father of cyberpunk fiction, it has the nerve to pose as a futuristic fable when in fact all of its parts were bought off the shelf at the Used Movie Store.
The movie takes place a few decades in the future, when the world is in the grip of a high-tech virus caused indirectly by the high-speed cyber lifestyle. It stars Keanu Reeves as a data courier who has a "wet-wired brain" (no wisecracks, please) into which vast amounts of priceless computer data can be uploaded. Then he travels incognito to his destination, where the data is downloaded. If he doesn't get his brain emptied out fast enough, it melts down and he dies.
As a method of data transfer, this stinks. Even today, it would be faster, easier and safer to encrypt the data and send it by modem, and by Johnny Mnemonic's time, the world will be wired with fiber optic cables allowing enormous files to be squirted around the world in seconds.
So why would you pump everything into Keanu Reeves' brain and then have a bunch of bad guys from the Yakuza and other crime organizations chase him from China to Newark? Because it's a movie, stupid. And because, in a concept recycled from hundreds of other movies, he wants to make "one more final run" in order to "pay for getting my memory back." (As Johnny explains in dialogue that I think is supposed to be poignant, "I had to dump a chunk of long-term memory - my childhood.") The plot of this movie is breathtakingly derivative. In essence: The hero is entrusted with a valuable cargo, which he must get from A to B without being killed by the bad guys or stepping in anything. There is a pretty girl, evil villains, a weird prophet and of course a violent final shootout in an Abandoned Flame Factory.