“Cyberpunk? NAJICA!?!”

Jack into your virtual reality headset, because Johnny Mnemonic is the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the poster or the movie title above to download our review of the film, featuring Dave and Joel from Fast Karate for the Gentleman.

Review in a Nutshell:  Johnny Mnemonic is a poor adaptation with a surprisingly high number of hilarious things going on it.  It’s proof positive that some authors should not be allowed to adapt their own work.

This movie contains:

The Internet!

Udo Kier, being Udo Kier.

“Send you down to Rikerth, wear an orange jumpthuit!”

Dr. Henry Rollins, Cybersurgeon Extraordinaire.

FINAL THOUGHT:

Johnny Mnemonic, the Highlight Reel.

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36 Responses

  1. Forget Jesus Christ and Muhammad, The Almighty Gooberzilla is the true prophet! He listens to your prayers. All hail, the Almighty Gooberzilla!

  2. I’m glad to see that nobody’s ever going to recover from _Number of the Beast_.

  3. Awesome choice. I love this movie. Henry Rollins rocks.

  4. Time to cash in these twenties in my pocket for singles. Cuz I am about to make it rain in this joint to celebrate Johnny Mnemonic status as the Greatest Movie Ever.

  5. One point worth mentioning about the cg. Johnny Mnemonic gave us scenes to trip to at dance clubs for ten years after the movie came out.

  6. I remember there being an extended scene where Johnny was purchasing the memory doubler and he actually asked for the memory tripler! The doubler being made in China and Tripler US made.

  7. I have not listened to this yet, but because of The Giant Bombcast, whenever we see Ice-T, me and my boyfriend say ‘Put you in an orange jumpthuit, thend you to Rikerth’. When I was scrolling through the descriptions on the blog and saw the caption under his pic, I started choking on my own lols.

  8. It’s weird to know that my imitation of Dave imitating Ice T is actually my imitation of Dave imitating the Giant Bombcast guys imitating Ice T. It’s like a game of telephone in which the Ice T impersonation grows into something more mythical with each additional iteration.

  9. This movie is awesome! I think the best part about it is the fact that not a single aspect of the movie is anywhere close to being good but somehow as a whole it is incredibly fun to watch and completely epicly awesome!

  10. I remember walking out of this movie and over to the arcade next to the theater to play Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo.
    Got my butt kicked, and walked back to the theater to see Dolph Lundgren die.

  11. I agree that there aren’t enough cyberpunk movies, especially in the US, but Strange Days felt like it hit all the genre requisites… or perhaps its postcyberpunk (whatever that means)

    Also I believe Gattaca would be considered Biopunk, cyberpunk’s kid brother

  12. I refuse to acknowledge “biopunk” as a genre. My reading of the wikipedia article, wherein an author tries to coin the term ‘ribofunk’ because biopunk sounds too outdated, only confirms my decision as the correct one. The distinction between ‘bio’ and ‘cyber’ seems pretty useless to me.

  13. I’ve always debated seeing this. Although, Henry Rollins spoofing his JM speech in episodes of Batman Beyond does provide for an interesting incentive

  14. Biopunk was always useful to me because I really like AI and the man/machine interface but gene splicing I could take or leave

    also declaring subgenres of SF as useless is an extremely slippery slope…

  15. This podcast was awesome! My wife and I watched it on Netflix and we lol’ed constantly. Especially the part with the dolphin. Thanks guys!

  16. My only objection to classifications like “biopunk” and “steampunk” is that they don’t really tell us much about the tone of the story, just what kind of fantastical elements we can expect to encounter therein. In cyberpunk, the PUNK was as important as the CYBER, it wasn’t just a phoneme appended to the end of another phoneme to make a new word.

  17. There’s also an obvious parallel in the philosophy and body modification of ‘cyber’ and the philosophy and modification of ‘punk’ where a like, an RNA virus in “biopunk” doesn’t really carry the same shock value.

    I think I am well within my rights to dismiss a genre that, by everything I’ve found on the internet, seems to be made up by people who wanted to be different, not because it happened for natural reasons.

  18. You know I think in all this time I haven’t really considered the ‘punk’ half of cyberpunk… When I think of the genre the first thing that pops into my mind is Ghost in the Shell, and then maybe The Matrix. I think those movies lacked the punk that I would encounter later with Neuromancer

  19. It seemed that alot of the cyberpunk films on wikipedia should really be cybernoir. As they do not have punk and are more focused on noirish mystery. Matrix would be cyberpunk for sure.

  20. I think the “punk” half of whatever genre nomenclature out there is often tacked on without much thought; is “steampunk” really “punk”?

  21. That’s the point that Dave and I are arguing. Most of the “steampunk” stuff I’ve encountered has not portrayed any of the dissaffection and nihilism of punk; a lot of it is pretty upbeat, “hey what a magical world this would be” stuff. Just slapping -punk at the end of something to describe a new genre is eroding the meaning of the word.

  22. Interesting… So what the hell does postcyberpunk refer to? Eh I’ll just research it on wikipedia… But how can I ever trust it again?

  23. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0751126/combined

    I don’t see any asian woman listed, just Krista Allen.

  24. Cyborg 2 is totally cyberpunk! Kungfu Angelina Jolie cyborg? Dystopia controlled by mega-corporation? Gratuitous Japanese people? ALL-SEEING JACK PALANCE????

  25. Hey, guess what? The Neuromancer movie is back on!

    http://www.slashfilm.com/neuromancer-preproduction/

  26. I hereby dub Vichus Smith king of the nitpick.

    LONG LIVE THE KING.

  27. Vichus keeps us honest.

    As for the Neuromancer film, for a property that has already spent 20+ years in development hell, I think I will retain the position of skepticism until such a time as it is actually playing at my local metroplex.

  28. To be honest, I think one of Udo Kier’s bodyguards is transgendered. Tracy Tweed, the sister of Shannon Tweed, played the blonde.

    Also, it’s interesting that Dave picked up on the fat hitman’s gun. I don’t actually think that it was an actual gun. Instead, I think it was an air gun. In fact, this movie has a remarkably lack of guns for a cyberpunk movie. If I recall, even Johnny in the short story is packing two shotguns with the triggers wired together in a duffel bag.

    What you should do as a follow-up is Abel Ferrera’s adaptation of Gibson’s “New Rose Hotel”. If you thought JM was bad, you haven’t seen that. Wilhelm DeFoe and Christopher Walken can’t save that film, and, for some reason, that movie has Yoshitaka Amano, character designer for the first few Final Fantasy games and Vampire Hunter D, in it.

    Also, I had owned the video game. I think the only thing remarkable of it was that Julie Strain played the bodyguard and the Craig T. Nelson’s daughter from Coach played Jane.

  29. I’ve seen New Rose Hotel, part of my old roommate’s initiative to introduce me to the worst movies ever (all of which he owned). I mostly just remember it being terrible and incomprehensible. His selling point was, as with most of these movies, “It has Christopher Walken!” and maybe Asia Argento?

  30. I agree that the “-punk” in such terms as “steampunk,” “dieselpunk,” and “rocketpunk,” seems to have no particular connection to the “-punk” in “cyberpunk” (it’s worth recalling that the hero of Neuromancer is established as a thief, a murderer and a drug dealer before he even gets drawn into the novel’s main plot). I would assume the reason such terms as “steampunk” arose is similar to the reason the generation after “Generation X” is called “Generation Y;” from a lack of effort to articulate some more distinctive name, and a desire to ride off the trade value of “cyberpunk,” the last movement in literary SF to enter the public consciousness.

  31. I think it’s sort of funny that the two plot premises you found the least believable are the two I don’t have much problem with. First, the idea that big pharma would let people die in the name of profit, which is basically what happens every day. Sure, they can’t give away medicine because they have to recoup the sunk costs of researching cures, but they also have to pay shareholders– they aren’t nonprofits or charities. An argument is that the profit-driven model gets results better than a publicly funded model, but a real consequence is that lots of people die because of medicine they can’t afford, either in the third world, or in the first world, due to pricing disparities.

    Second, the “Black Shakes” being caused by excessive exposure to EMF is indeed sort of silly and a product of the naive fears of its time, perhaps (my parents for a long time, weren’t sure about microwave ovens). But the premise itself is fine: humans have a very poor track record for being able to predict how ubiquitous a technology will become, or the side effects of having a society saturated with it. If I had to rewrite it today, it’d be about the various articles on how people’s attention spans have been shattered by content availability, how the average person spends 7 seconds on a webpage, about how I got a text on my phone before switching off the audiobook on my iPod in my car to change it to your podcast, while wondering what tweets I’d missed over the weekend. Reddit causes it! And 4chan causes it! And RSS causes it! Information overload, man! Maybe in 10 years it will also seem silly to future viewers, but maybe they’ll be able to manage the constant stream of GMail notifications and livestream content in their ocular implant’s HUD.

  32. My only point is that in the real world, companies aren’t actively trying to murder the general public by deliberately withholding life-saving treatments. That’s cartoon supervillain levels of evil. Yes, there are evils committed in the pursuit of profit, that’s undeniable. But we’re not talking about a company holding onto a patent when a generic version of a drug could save lives; we’re talking about a company that knowingly and voluntarily is capable of treating a disease (and profiting from the treatment) but is refusing to do so and taking elaborate, expensive steps to cover it up in favor making more money. Nevermind what it would inevitably cost the company when their monolithic conspiracy is uncovered. Nevermind that independent research would eventually find the cure anyway.

    Even in the short term, the risk / reward of the scenario doesn’t add up. It’s the same problem I had with Moon. There’s evil-for-profit, and then there’s just senselessly evil, and I think in both cases we have the latter. It takes me out of the film.

  33. deliberately withholding life-saving treatments. That’s cartoon supervillain levels of evil

    Well, yes. That and what insurance companies do.

    but is refusing to do so and taking elaborate, expensive steps to cover it up in favor making more money. Nevermind what it would inevitably cost the company when their monolithic conspiracy is uncovered.

    You mean like what actually happened with tobacco companies knowing their product was addictive and dangerous, and concealing it? Or Enron/mortgage derivatives/any large-scale white-collar corporate crime that people thought only hurt faceless consumers and that they could get away with? I still think this basically happens already, the only thing cyberpunk adds is scale; since the world only has like three corporations, the effects of their corruption reaches more people.

    As far as risk/reward goes, I guess the tobacco companies had decades of profits before that stuff came to light. The mortgage bubble fraudulent securities probably had at least 5 years. Let’s say the Black Shakes is poor at only a few years. But by far the worst is the evil moisturizer corporation from Catwoman with the poisonous beauty cream: record profits Q1, then filefor bankruptcy Q2 when everyone’s face has melted.

  34. There was an evil moisturizer corportation in Batman Returns? Hmm, didn’t know that. Michelle Pfeifer is great, isn’t she?

  35. Wait, is it too late to make a comment about the actual film? ^_^

    Okay, here’s the set-up: in 1999, I went to William Gibson’s book reading for All Tomorrow’s Parties in San Francisco. In those days, Viz was located across the street from the second-to-last onramp to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge; i.e., The Bridge. The bike messenger company Chevette works for in Virtual Light seemed, based on the description, to be less than a block away from Viz’s office–WIRED magazine, by the way, was in the same general neighborhood as well. Gibson, in fact, made gentle complaint (his personal manner is very polite) that the publisher put not the Bay Bridge, but the presumably more photogenic Golden Gate Bridge on the cover of All Tomorrow’s Parties instead.

    There is probably a Situationist word to describe how the event was planned, but Gibson’s reading was wonderfully placed not in a bookstore, nor in any kind of “cyberpunk” venue, but in an elementary school classroom in the Haight–as in Haight-Ashbury, of 1960s hippie fame. Furthermore, while you might be picturing this classroom as one of Tibetan prayer flags and free-to-be-you-and-me, it was almost satirically trad–I’m talking blackboards, the alphabet in upper-and-lower case cursive running around the room, and yes, the famous unfinished portrait of George Washington–they had one of those, too. William Gibson sat on the teacher’s desk (I don’t recall if there was an apple) and the audience, naturally enough, all sat in the students’ seats–those kid-sized desks with only enough room for one sheet of paper.

    There were questions afterword, and naturally, one was what was up with the JOHNNY MNEMONIC film. Gibson smiled and said that he and Robert Longo hadn’t intended to make a big release out of it, but something more fun and low-budget–what used to be called a B-movie (I believe that’s the term he used). What happened, Gibson said, was that during the film’s planning, SPEED made Keanu Reeves into a big star, so suddenly Sony decided that JOHNNY MNEMONIC had to be a big film as well, and it got blown up beyond its design capacities, as it were.

    Speculating on a NEUROMANCER film, Gibson said (prudently, as it turned out) that he wasn’t sure if it would happen, but to speculation on a possible director related this anecdote: he said that Michel Gondry, director of the video for Bjork’s “Human Behaviour” (and later, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND) told Gibson that the Bjork video was his way of letting him know he wanted to direct NEUROMANCER. Gibson said he could dig it.

    Years later, it occurs to me that Bjork is the live-action Osaka.

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