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Johnny Mnemonic

"Johnny Mnemonic" on DVD

Mind Games on the Road

Keanu Reeves is a "cyber courier" in Johnny Mnemonic, the movie based on William Gibson's "cyberpunk" short story.

Johnny (Reeves) has had a good chunk of his brain removed in order to free up space for an implant that lets him haul gigabytes of data with him around the world. He's kind of the Federal Express of data, promising accurate (though not necessarily overnight) delivery of corporations' important and/or secret files.

He embarks on one last mission before he burns out, a big one that sees him seriously overloading his cranial cache - and opening up a real can of worms when it appears that everyone and his or her brother is out to get him and separate his "inner hard drive" from the rest of his body.

The information in his brain is so important it could change the world, so those with a vested interest in the status quo want the info, as do those with a vested interest in seeing the status quo overthrown. Johnny is caught in the middle, his brain a ticking time bomb and his life in constant danger.

Sounds like the makings of a decent techno-thriller, doesn't it? And it is. While the film has its predictable moments and relies a bit much on gunfire and explosions to advance a pretty nifty storyline, on the whole it comes off as advertised.

Reeves is fine as Johnny, and he's ably backed up by Dina Meyer as a bodyguard wannabe with problems of her own. Dolph Lundgren gets co-star billing for what's really a supporting role as a so-called preacher who's really a ruthless hit man. Ice-T turns in a credible performance as one of the cyberpunk leaders.

The DVD suffers from not being in widescreen, which is a shame. We aren't sure if it's Pan&Scan or the original 4x3 aspect ratio as shot, but the box refers to it as "full screen." We received the Canadian version, which appears to have been produced on the cheap, and so we don't want to comment on any other versions that may be out there, but the one we auditioned was definitely not one to showcase widescreen TV's. Other than that, the audio and video quality (the audio is in Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo) is okay, though the film would have benefitted from the digital remastering treatment given so many other movies these days.

Extras on this Canadian edition are scarce. You get some cast bios and filmographies and trailers and that's about it.

Johnny Mnemonic, from Alliance Atlantic Home Video
97 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1), Dolby Digital stereo
Starring Keanu Reeves, Dina Meyer, Dolph Lundgren, Ice-T
Produced by Don Carmody
Written by William Gibson, Directed by Robert Longo


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Updated May 13, 2006