In the mid-1990s. famed science fiction writer William Gibson teamed up with photographer and artist Robert Longo for a project intended to bring cyberpunk to the masses. With the internet in its early days and the world full of speculation about what the new millennium would bring. it seemed right for a look ahead into what the future might well hold. All of that was wrapped up in surefire hit Johnny Mnemonic — and now it’s coming to Netflix!
The fact that most of you won’t have heard of this movie is a hint that this didn’t work out. Despite featuring Keanu Reeves at the peak of his early stardom, and a fun cast including Dolph Lundgren, Ice-T, Takeshi Kitano, and Henry Rollins the film was a colossal flop.
It picked up a bunch of Golden Raspberry awards, grossed a measly $50m internationally, and is currently described by Rotten Tomatoes thusly: “As narratively misguided as it is woefully miscast, Johnny Mnemonic brings the ’90s cyberpunk thriller to inane new whoas — er, lows.”
While nobody can really argue that Johnny Mnemonic is a success I have a soft spot for it. It’s a deeply strange movie, with its wealth of off-beat supporting characters adding up to a unique world that doesn’t feel like much else. Similarly, Reeves is actually pretty fun in this and his passionate “I want room service!” monologue is at least memorable.
The movie was also mentioned a lot last year in relation to CD Projekt Red’s game Cyberpunk 2077, as both feature Keanu in a grubby science-fiction dystopia dealing with chips in people’s heads. So, if you’re curious and have a decent appetite for cheese, check out Johnny Mnemonic when it arrives on Netflix on Nov. 1.
By the way, the super committed should track down the superior Japanese region director’s cut which features more Takeshi Kitano (always a good thing).