Cyberpunk Review » Johnny Mnemonic

January 16, 2006

Johnny Mnemonic

Year: 1995

Directed by: Robert Longo

Written by: William Gibson (short story, screenplay)

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Very High

Key Cast Members:

  • Johnny Mnemonic: Keanu Reeves
  • Jane: Dina Meyer
  • J-Bone: Ice-T
  • Rating: 6 out of 10

    screen capture

    Listen. You listen to me. You see that city over there? THAT’S where I’m supposed to be. Not down here with the dogs, and the garbage, and the fucking last month’s newspapers blowing *back* and *forth*. I’ve had it with them, I’ve had it with you, I’ve had it with ALL THIS —
    I WANT ROOM SERVICE!!! I want the club sandwich, I want the cold Mexican beer,
    I want a $10,000-a-night hooker. I want my shirts laundered…like they do…
    at the Imperial Hotel…in Tokyo.


    screen capture


    Overview: Johnny Mnemonic has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Yes, this movie has problems, not the least of which is having a name that I can never remember how to spell, but overall, this movie is just pure cyberpunk fun! Johnny Mnemonic has a terrific mix of “punk” and “cyber” although it definitely strays to the “punk” side of things. He we have corporate domination, punk rebellion, modified humans (and dolphins!), dystopian societies and all the rest, all wrapped up in some wonderfully inspired William Gibson visuals.

    Johnny (played by cyberpunk zen master, Keanu Reeves) is a data courier who deals in somewhat shady and dangerous clients in need of data getting discretely transferred to another location. He has gotten a large chunk of his long term memory removed in order to have enough space to put a massive hard drive inside his head. Unfortuantely, his space isn’t large enough for his newest high paying customer, but he still takes the assignment even though there’s danger of data seepege into the brain. During the “transfer,” all hell breaks loose, with guns and bullets flying everywhere. Johnny is forced to flee, and eventually hooks up with a damaged bodygaurd played by Dina Meyer. Together they attempt to deliver the data from China to New Jersey, but unfortunately, SERIOUS complications arise when they find out what Johnny is actually holding in his head. Ice Tea and Takeshi Kitano also have notable roles in this flick.

    screen capture


    The Bottom Line: Johnny M., while mostly a scifi thriller, has some terrific lines. For anyone who’s seen this, you will remember the “I want room service” scene. I still love that! While I can’t argue that this is a great movie, I do really enjoy it. Still, it clearly could have been better. But at least this is contrasted with a few really fun scenes.

    ~See movies similar to this one~

    Tags: cyberpunk movie review

    This post has been filed under Memory Modification, Utopia Surrounded by Poverty, Awesome Cyberpunk Themes, Dystopic Future Movies, 6 Star Movies, Man-machine Interface, Cyberpunk movies from 1990 - 1999 by SFAM.


    February 27, 2006

    Neuromancer said:

    Yes, the story has its faults as Gibson mixed seemingly random tidbits from several of his novels and stories.
    But what really makes me like this movie is the complete over the top part Dolph Lundgren did as the preacher.

    SFAM said:

    Apparently they cut a lot of Dolph’s part out. I read an interview with Gibson, where he said that Longo filmed the movie he wrote the script for, but that the studios then mucked with it and completely recut it. It would be great if this ever gets turned into a directors cut, as I would liked to have seen more of Dolph.

    March 21, 2006

    Case said:

    The shame about this film is how well it began. Almost every time I watch it, I think, “Why does everyone hate this film so much?” By the end I’m thinking, “Oh.” It has an intriguing first act, but then completely crash lands in the mid section, only to pick up (VERY mildly) for the conclusion. It doesn’t help that it’s perhaps Keanu’s worst performance…well…ever. It’s certainly not a “good” film by any stretch (it’s probably the worst CP film that I own…well, besides MATRIX REVOLUTIONS), and it definitely strays from the original story, but…it has its moments. And, like you said, it’s 100% cyberpunk. It just oozes with CP atmosphere and it at least retains the spirit of Gibson’s brilliant writings. It’s the very definition of an interesting failure.

    SFAM said:

    Yeah, Johnny Mnemonic is not a great movie, although I didn’t have as much problem with Reeves’ performance as I did with the editing. This seems to be the real issue with this movie. And um, Revolutions is terrific. ;)

    March 22, 2006

    Case said:

    Terrifically bad… ;)

    March 23, 2006

    DannyV_El_Acme said:

    Hey, it’s just like a Troma movie: everyone admits it’s crap, but secretly you can’t help watching it :razz:

    SFAM said:

    I think Case is talking about Revolutions regarding the crap part. I certainly don’t admit Revolutions is crap. Then again, I gave up caring about the “Matrix sequels suck/No, they’re great - You just don’t get it” debate sometime back in 2004. Aside for some acting issues by minor characters and a few dialogue moments, most of the issues come down to preference, not quality. When I put up my Reloaded and Revolutions reviews, I’ll post a thread in the meatspace for those still interested, but I probably won’t be all that thrilled with that discussion happening on the reviews themselves though.

    June 23, 2006

    Dixie Flatline said:

    In case you guys didn’t know, there is an extended Japanese cut of Johnny Mnemonic which improves the whole storyline a lot and is definitly worth tracking down.

    William Gibson himself has commented on it: “The version relased in Japan is forteen minutes longer. Forteen minutes that weave much more interesting links between between characters, that say longer about themselves, especially Takahashi.” William Gibson in Mad Movies, n°58, November 1995

    SFAM said:

    Hi Dixie, I wasn’t aware of this version. I’d truly like to get my hands on a copy though - if anyone knows where I can find this, please let me know!

    July 12, 2006

    Illusive Mind said:

    I just watched this again having seen it maynyears ago. Yeah, gotta say, Keanu’s worst performace ever.

    Just Johnny said:

    The R2 Japan DVD of JM doesn’t have English subtitles. Several of the added scenes are in Japanese, so they would be gibberish to most people. Please bear that in mind before ordering the disc.

    Check DVD Compare. The Japan DVD does have some extra stuff worth seeing. The music is different, too. Sony changed the music to their lame bands, instead of the music that Longo wanted.

    Just Johnny said:

    You can’t judge the film based on the current version. Sony re-shot scenes, used alternate takes, changed the music, cut scenes and added scenes, removed the humor and irony, cut out the character development, changed the ending. In short, they ruined the movie completely. The Japan DVD is better, but it’s still not the director’s cut. I’ve always had a soft spot for JM, even though it’s flawed. It’d be great if Sony let Robert Longo release HIS version, after ruining his reputation with their crummy release.

    July 13, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Hi Just Johnny (LOVE the name! - do you modify for each movie or will you be using this across the site?), I really gotta see this version. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    Just Johnny said:

    You should check out William Gibson’s published screenplay, esp if you get the Japanese DVD. It will translate any new dialogue that isn’t translated, and fill in the gaps. The Japanese version isn’t the true Director’s Cut, according to Gibson. But it is very different from the butchered Sony version. I hope Sony eventually publishes the final cut of Robert Longo. It sounds more satisfying and coherent, based on the screenplay.

    July 14, 2006

    Stormtrooper of Death said:

    I still like Johnny Mnenomic very much. I consider it better than the Matrix trilogy because JM is much more realistic than the Matrix trilogy. And the movie is not that bad at all. By the way, the doctor is played by Henry Rollins, a famous singer of the Rollins Band and former singer of Black Flag.

    Just Johnny said:

    Being better than the Matrix trilogy isn’t hard, since the first s only has a few good scenes, the second only has the highway chase, and the third is full of hot air. You can tell watching JM that it was tampered with heavily. It doesn’t flow well. That isn’t the fault of the writer or director. They shot a completely different movie than what most of the world has seen. Longo should have dis-owned JM and taken an “Allen Smithee” credit, rather than take the fall for Sony’s version that’s not what he intended.

    Behind many “bad” movies, you find the studio tampering with a director’s vision. I think JM would be rated much higher, if we had Longo’s version instead of Sony’s. I’ve been hoping for a revised director’s cut, since I first read about the film’s background. Sony ripped out most of the character development, scene transitions, and humor that held the script together.

    July 18, 2006

    ETM said:

    I strongly disagree on the Matrix movies, especially on the first (masterpiece) and the third (better than the second), but that’s not the topic here. I saw JM several times on TV, and I barely remember anything other than the basic plot, and Lundgren. :)

    August 11, 2006

    smithy said:

    whats the i want room service song name and can u download it

    September 14, 2006

    Bergo said:

    Don’t forget there is a small role played by Henry Rollins as the cyberdoc (Spider) who checks out Molly’s dodgy cyberware (is she called that in the movie I remember her name from Gibsons short story).

    I too have a guilty soft spot for this film. Mainly because I’m a Gibson fan.

    Been meaning to see it again, I saw it 10 years ago in the cinema.
    Interesting to see if my memories are better than the movie.

    September 16, 2006

    Taifunu said:

    You’re right, there is “something” about JM that makes me return to it quite often, although I’m not a fan of cyberpunk ( actually just starting to get a grip on the term itself ). But I saw it years ago and it somehow caught me. Made me curious about Gibson’s work and so on. And it’s exactly Johnny’s rant on the garbage pile that stuck to my mind from the very beginning. It’s somehow “out” of the movie and yet fitting in…it’s that “thing” about what he thought life was and yet it isn’t… “fabricated reality versus true reality”..ok, I won’t go on. it probably doesn’t make sense anyway…
    thanks for posting the reviews, they are helpful for a “newbie” like me !

    September 19, 2006

    SFAM said:

    Johnny’s rant is definitely the best part of this movie. I love it!

    October 19, 2006

    Room Service said:

    I WANT ROOOOOM SERVICE! :D This film rocks! My favorite scene has to be when he goes onto the Internet :)

    December 1, 2006

    Made in DNA said:

    Real quick, I would like to point out that the Japanese version (which was retitled to just ‘JM’ because of the difficulty in saying the original title in Japanese) of this movie is longer by about seven minutes, expanding upon Beat Takeshi (Takeshi Kitano) role, which in my opinion, clarifies his character a little more. I have seen both version of this film and I like the Japanese version better.

    Also, though Gibson wrote the screenplay, I believe he mentions in an interview that his version was garbled and dramatically changed by Longo and the studio. To be honest, I don’t remember where I read this, but I recall it quite clearly, as I recall that Gibson has not had the best of luck in Hollywood at all–having his versions of Aliens rejected, etc. So it might be prudent to check the writing credits on this again.

    Best regards,
    Made in DNA

    Made in DNA said:

    Meh, looks like ppl already know. Guess I should have read the comments BEFORE posted. =P Sorry for the waste of bandwidth folks. For the record, I can get legal copies of the JM DVD here in Japan (where I live). I am happy to help people get copies.

    December 2, 2006

    Case said:

    Made in DNA, Region 1 or Region 0 copies of JM? I am definitely interested in purchasing one.

    February 14, 2007

    Com Wedge said:

    I hate Hollywood. Again another attempt to thwart what people love about the genre (And by thwart I mean completely F**k up). I was horny for the girl with the whooping cough but Keanu has a real tendancy to stuff up his lines. Not his fault really he just chooses bad directors to work with (eyes roll the other way). Beat Takeshi rocks I’ll have to watch it again for that fact alone. As for Dolph um let’s just leave that guy in the eighties shall we?

    SFAM I agree with you on the “I want room service scene” But I would have been just as happy if another actor said those lines - The writing is Gibson - Gibson whilst not being a god or anything close to a god, is definatly worthy of being called the greatest cyberpunk fiction writer of the 20th century. After all he coined the term “cyberspace”.


    SFAM said:

    Hi Com Wedge, I really liked Keanu on this. The problem was the script - apparently they hosed Gibson’s script in favor of something else entirely. But yeah - I’d bet money that the room service line is Gibson unaltered!

    March 3, 2007

    Urshanabi said:

    For anyone who’s seen this, you will remember the “I want room service” scene. I still love that!

    I just saw this movie for the first time last night. I thought it started off bad,and then the acting got better before the first 16 minutes elapsed. Overall, I quite liked it. And I agree with you; for my money, the “I want room service” bit is the best line in the movie.

    March 30, 2007

    David said:

    Wasn’t a bad in terms of a sci-fi flick… I can’t remember alot of it, but I remember being willing to watch it more than four times, so it must have been good. It’s probably what got Keanu considered for the Matwix.

    May 22, 2007

    Co Attican said:

    I have the Johnny Mnemonic Japanese Cut DVD. DNA is right with only 7 mins longer but there are many alternate versions of scenes used plus some footage and line are cut out. The cuts actually make it a better and this version makes Johnny actually HAVE character development! Plus my version has subtitles for the Japanese speaking parts. :)

    Case said:

    Co Attican, do you have a copy of the Japanese Cut you’d be willing to part with?

    Co Attican said:

    Follow the link to my website and contact me with info from there.

    May 23, 2007

    Case said:

    I tried, but couldn’t find a link to your email or any other contact information.

    May 24, 2007

    Co Attican said:

    At the bottom under the Power Glove section there is a contact me link, follow it and use the e-mail, AIM or Yahoo! IM. Don’t bother with ICQ.

    King Death said:

    How I found out there is this ‘alternate’(basically I would call it a director’s cut, but Gibson would dispute that) version was when William Gibson had written a reply to my questions about JOHNNY as a film & NEUROMANCER’s fate on celluloid. I finally attained a copy, but sadly it is pan & scan video released through Toho, it is also on laserdisc(I have no idea about a dvd release).

    From what I know/can gather first time feature film director Robert Longo(a famous New York artist well-known for directing MegadetH’s ‘Peace Sells’ video) had gained about 30-40 lbs while working on this film because of the stress involved(he & producer B.J. Rack had ‘differences’ with Rack leaving in the process). Longo was in constant contact w/ Gibson @ least 3 x’s a day faxing & whatnot, however during it’s editing process the studio suits supposedly ripped the film from his artist hands. Having said that I’ll get to the “meat” of this particular nippon release…

    I believe THIS version is the one Robert had intended to release & is closer to Gibson’s vision in the short story(found on the short story collection BURNING CHROME which also featured NEW ROSE HOTEL the “other” movie made from a Gibson story).

    Now you WILL notice there are slight differences from the short story, the lovely lass ‘Jane’ is not named ‘Molly’(Molly Millions to be exact) whom is also featured in the novel NEUROMANCER. This is because NEUROMANCER was still held by the original company who bought the cinematic rights. You will also notice(if you read the short story) there is no ‘Killing Floor’ where the LoTeks inhabit, instead this replaced by ‘Heaven’ this is basically melding Gibson’s second trilogy VIRTUAL LIGHT & MNEMONIC’s storylines to broaden it to a feature film length. Now many may make fun of Keanu’s robotic acting in this, but you have to understand that this is actually INTENTIONAL. The character of Johnny is meant to be ‘robotic’ in his introduction, it is not until his bogus cyber journey molds him back into what he once was… I think the Japanese translation highlights this beautifully.

    The differences are many, the opening crawl is altogether different(wording of intro with white lettering & no extra added fx as they roll), more scenes showing the Yakuza, Takeshi, his daughter(in various media form; holo, video, etc.), Street Preacher preaching(one inside his church). But the BIGGEST difference(to my delight) is that ‘Jones’ the code-breaker dolphin, just like in the short story is still a junkie war veteran. There is also much more violence in this version which made the brass cut the film to garner a ‘R’ in the States. Also cut songs & newly added songs from rock bands, plus the major difference which adds to it’s feel is a different composer Mychael Danna(no Brad Fiedel as in the American & International versions which Sony opted for, he is best for known for his TERMINATOR & TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY scores) also a third soundtrack was done by cyberpunk band Black Rain which can be heard in this alternate, which is available on cd if you look hard enough.

    Case said:

    Co Attican, sorry to keep bothering you about this (and maybe it’s just the way my page is loading), but I swear there’s no contact info. There’s a blank space that’s says “Where are we going to?” when I click it and then a counter which is perpetually rolling, then ads for a “Star Wars” website and that Wal Mart documentary. I’ve highlighted the entire page and couldn’t find anything…like I said, maybe it’s just the way it’s loading on my comp, but…

    Again, apologies…I’ve just long been desiring to see the Japanese Cut of this film. I talked to another person on here about getting a copy, but they didn’t come through for me. If you’d like to contact me, my email is It would be much obliged.

    May 31, 2007

    Case said:

    I’m beginning to think no one actually has the Japanese Cut…perhaps it’s just an out-of-control rumor or urban myth. Everytime it seems I get close to seeing it, the person who’s my “connection” vanishes from the face of the earth. A conspiracy to keep the JC from ever being actually seen by anyone? Hmmm…

    June 3, 2007

    Co Attican said:

    Well now that it’s coming to you, once you’ve seen it give people your thoughts. :)

    randomrob said:

    With all the data leakage in Johnny’s head, the data doesn’t get corrupted. Outstanding.

    if a movie’s bad, a different cut doesn’t make it good.


    Case said:

    Co Attican…um…huh?

    June 6, 2007

    Co Attican said:

    Case? Wasn’t it you that I send the DVD too?

    June 19, 2007

    Alex said:

    I know some people are wanting the music from the “I WANT ROOM SERVICE” scene
    and if im wright it is Send It Out - Brad Fiedel off of the Soundtarck. If you want it i can try to get it to you.

    June 28, 2007

    trip said:

    I know that a few years ago the lads over at made their own custom version of the japanese cut by adding subtitles and the like, it’s probably available on some torrents.

    July 19, 2007

    jackketch said:

    I just ripped and uploaded a copy (eng no subs dvix) if anyone is interested.

    torrent here :

    August 13, 2007

    jackketch said:

    oooops my bad, just noticed the link above is wrong DUH!

    August 26, 2007

    fisk0 said:

    Have you seen (Johnny Mnemonic Japanese Extended Cut)?
    10 minutes longer than the US/EU cut (though I was pretty sure I had heard of a much longer japanese cut, something like 30 or 40 minutes longer than the US/EU version).

    fisk0 said:

    By the way I think the most interesting piece of dialogue in Johnny Mnemonic was the “You know what’s causing it? This is causing it. THIS IS CAUSING IT! INFORMATION OVERLOAD! […] Poisioning the airwaves - technological F*CKING SOCIETY …” connecting the epidemic to the technological world (perhaps a small note about the electrosensitivity problem that really started to emerge in the 80’s and early 90’s).

    January 15, 2008

    Rydell said:

    “get your VCRs ready” for this commit. Seriously, this movie deserves more than a 6/10!

    SFAM said:

    No, I think 6/10 is just about right. :)

    Mr. No1 said:

    Agree with Rydell only if I compare its rating to another ones I’ve seen on the site…

    May 16, 2008

    73N5H1 said:

    sadly enough… I’ve always liked this film more than Bladerunner and could never see why bladerunner got so much hype…

    May 31, 2008

    Kuromochi said:

    I still have my “Hack Your Own Brain” T-Shirt. :D Srsly.

    A spectacular failure, but a big guilty pleasure nonetheless.

    August 21, 2008

    Feigr said:

    This is one of my favourite movies and the best cyberpunk movie ever made imo. Brilliant aesthetics that just feels more cyberpunk than any other movie really. I guess this is close as we are gonna get to a Shadowrun (The epitome of cyberpunk) movie.

    September 9, 2008

    kelzo said:

    Trying to find the Japanese dvd. Exporters to order require catalog or upc#. If any of you actually own the Japanese version could you post this info. All I have is the the title:”JM” and releasing studio: “Toho Video”. Any other info. would be a great help.

    Mr No1 said:

    At 73N5H1: Why sadly enough? Nothing sad about that. I can see why Blade Runner is a cult movie, but I don’t get hysterical either when it’s on TV or something…

    At Feigr: Shadowrun the epitome of cyberpunk?? I believe the epitome of cyberpunk is Cyberpunk… I never thought orcs with cybernetic limbs and cyborgs casting spells are THAT cyberpunk…

    January 20, 2009

    Paul Jakes said:

    I love the film as well especially the “I want room service speech” I had this clip set as my windows opening clip when I was stuck in some backwater in Florida as an IT Manager. Sad that there is no Molly’

    January 22, 2009

    mnemonic courier said:

    The extended japanese cut can be downloaded here along with info about all the extra footage

    April 22, 2009

    Ionreflex said:

    Another snack for the Hollywood beast… that probably sums it out!

    April 26, 2009

    Cibernadie said:

    Ha, i just noticed that on this movie Keanu reeves already has that expression on his face, like saying “Whoa, dude, what the hell is happening”?
    Good one, gonna have to get my claws on it again to watch it, probably over and over

    January 2, 2010

    Carl said:

    Time to reboot Neuromancer’s Johnny Mnemonic!
    Never under estimate the Underground Resistance artistic or otherwise.
    We have the technology, new actors, new directors, plus producers want their investments to pay off.

    January 5, 2010

    Pef said:

    erm , very interesting community here , ppl bragging they own a certain movie dvd ,
    yet they dont bother to upload it onto torrents and share it with their most close peers ,
    since the ppl here are those who understand you and know what you mean when you argue about a movie.

    btw , all those here who gonna argue intelectual property rights (sic , its a cyberpunk site afterall) , just think how a library is formed and functions …
    plus all the words you and i use were at some point invented by someone , it be dystopian to have to pay to use words, eh?

    February 5, 2010

    chrisnuenes said:

    I was all set to really like JM, but then I saw what this movie did to one of my favorite characters ever: Molly Millions. In this version she is ineffective and flawed. In the books she may or may not be the most grounded person you are likely to meet, but boy howdy can she handle herself! I just couldn’t get over that . . .

    June 12, 2010

    Stormtrooper of Death said:

    I still like this movie, more as the Matrix.

    November 12, 2010

    SSJKamui said:

    To be honest, I think the Cyberspace Scenes had some interesting visuals, but the Conclusive Hacking Scenes were not really good. (In some way, they reminded me on 3D Plattforming games like Mario 64 or Banjo Kazooie, but they looked a little bit too simple.)

    January 29, 2011

    Toxilium said:

    Sorry Gibson, if that’s what you had in your head when you brilliantly wrote your short stories and Sprawl, then what the hell man?! Why is he a data courier? Wouldn’t it be 1000x easier to just email or send over a USB drive? Physically transporting a person carrying it is just stupid.

    I also had qutie a laugh at “INTERNET 2021″. Give me a break, it hurts your wrists to have them float over a pad while you “hack.”

    I don’t know, I like the books for their themes, but if Gibson thinks this is what the world of tomorrow looks like, I have less respect for his “visionary” future.

    zenseeker said:

    USB’s didn’t exist when he wrote the story, and how long do you think the story would last of some guy just sent an email? Thrilling that would be, and over in a single line.

    February 28, 2011

    Al said:

    you can also find the Japanese version on the pirate bay:
    it has hardcoded english subs for the japanese parts.
    Takeshi is great in the added scenes

    June 29, 2011

    Vampyre Mike said:

    One of my favorite films ever, it’s cheesy yet good. Plus who doesn’t love mechanical jesus loving Dolph?

    August 9, 2011

    ISO 3166-2:f-i said:

    just loaded. will view asap.

    April 18, 2012

    General Disaster said:

    Definitely a classic - not quite for the same reasons as Blade Runner, but still worth it as a cyberpunk film, pretty much exemplary in terms of visuals (although the internet is questionable!) - and I think Keanu did his best with a difficult script. Johnny never really developed as a character, which is probably because the scenes were cut with the characters building. Notable is the performance by Ice-T, who in a rare twist actually steals the film, in my opinion.

    Could be better, but really could be much, much worse.

    June 3, 2012

    Papa said:

    cool site, i watched Johnny Mnemonic last night after seeing it on here and i give it 8.5 stars. It is ahead of its time and without this movie i dont think there would have been the matrix. Johnny Mnemonic + equilibrium + genius cinematography… cooked up for 3-5 years = the matrix

    Leave a comment

    ~All Related Entries Related This~


    <<--Back to top

    Made with WordPress and the Semiologic CMS | Design by Mesoconcepts