August 21, 2020
I actually liked this film when I was younger. It was one of the first times I saw Kitano (though didn't really "know" him back then), and I remembered it as a pretty interesting cyberpunk flick with some surprising anime influences. One thing is certain: Johnny Mnemonic didn't preserve very well, watching it back now, it's an extremely cheap and dated affair.
It's not a big surprise that the director didn't make any more films after this one. The effects are absolutely ridiculous, the performances are beyond camp and the sets look like Longo himself made them in his backyard (or in MS Paint, for the digital ones). Add a wooden Reeves, a faltering Lundgren and Kitano who tries to mutter English dialogue and you have a recipe for disaster.
The film's only saving grace is that it goes all in. Longo clearly believed in this film and introduces some pretty far out ideas, including a cybernetic dolphin and a killer monk. It's a big mess and it's really not a good film, but it's so stupendously cheesy that I still had a bit of fun watching Johnny Mnemonic unfold.