“Johnny Mnemonic” and “Virtuosity”

In the spirit of science fiction, 1995, “Bill & Ted,” and “Safe House” I developed a hankering for Keanu Reeves’ “Johnny Mnemonic” and Denzel Washington’s “Virtuosity.”  I ended up being able to pick up both for under four dollars at the local Hastings—quite a bargain!

“Johnny Mnemonic” with Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Dina Meyer, and Ice-T (1995)


“Johnny Mnemonic” is a cyberpunk film set in 2021 in a world where corporations rule the world.  Keanu Reeves plays a smuggler by the name of Johnny Mnemonic who uses a brain implant to smuggle information back and forth between the highest bidders.  In his last job he overloads his implant, gets caught up in a resistance movement, is hunted by a cyborg preacher, and eventually cures the human race of a fatale disease dubbed, “The Black Shakes.”

The film is in complete cyberpunk territory and poses some interesting questions considering that at the time of the film’s creation the true dawn of the information age and personal computer was just beginning to sweep through society.  Keanu’s acting is well…Keanu ‘acting,’ but personally I don’t expect much from him and there are times when I just want to see a Keanu Reeves film.  Ice-T plays a great resistance leader and Dolph Lundgren’s character is all but useless in this movie.  There is already a great villain (a Yakuza member with an electric whip!), so why include a cheesy “Street Preacher” played by Lundgren?

Definitely check this out for a slice of guilty pleasure; it’s worth the hour-and-a-half.

“Virtuosity” with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe (1995) 


“Virtuosity” is another throwback to ’95 and also pertains to the emergence of personal computers and virtual reality.  Denzel Washington plays a cop (Parker Barnes) turned convict due to his act of vengeance on the political terrorist who murdered his wife and daughter.  As a convict he is enrolled in a program that places him in a virtual reality where he must hunt a computerized serial killer who is an amalgamation of almost every infamous killer imaginable—even the one that murdered his family!

As the plot unfolds the computerized serial killer, Sid 6.7, escapes the program via nano-machines and begins to terrorize L.A.  Denzel Washington’s character is pardoned from prison one condition: he must stop Sid.

This movie is a great techno-thriller and throws in some nifty science to flesh out the story.  Russell Crow plays Sid 6.7 masterfully.  He is creepy, sadistic, and is incredibly believable as a serial killer.  Crowe’s performance in “Virtuosity” is by far the standout of the film.


“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey”

I don’t recall when I first watched “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” or its sequel, but I do remember laughing hysterically.  It is one of those movies that is so dumb and out there that it is hilarious.  The jokes are timeless and the ridiculous speech is filled with wonderful catchphrases.

The other evening my girlfriend and I were out perusing movies at our local Hastings and we got to talking about comedies.  We wanted something light hearted to watch for the evening, but didn’t know what we specifically wanted.  To my dismay, shock, and horror I discovered that my girlfriend had never even heard of the “Bill & Ted” films much less watched them!  In a mere span of seconds I was clutching copies of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.”

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” with Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, and George Carlin (1989)


“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” follows two stoner high school students who are trying to form a band by the name of the “Wyld Stallyns.” In the beginning of the film Rufus a time traveler from the far future, played by George Carlin, travels back to 1988 to help Bill and Ted pass their history final, because if they don’t the totally excellent, non-heinous utopia of the future will cease exist.  Even though Bill and Ted seem baked out of their minds most of the time and don’t possess a brain cell between the of ’em the two eventually unite the world in peace with their most awesome band the “Wyld Stallyns”; however, if they fail their history final they will be split up for good and the band will never even have a chance to save the world.

The bulk of film follows Bill and Ted as they travel throughout time picking up historical figures to present at their history final.  It is a fun romp that still holds its own after all these years.  I laughed just as hard the other morning watching the goofiness of Bill and Ted as I did all those years ago.

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” with Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin, and William Sadler (1991)


Celeste and I decided to follow-up “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” with “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.”  The two films are fairly short (only running an hour-and-a-half or so) and having a double feature of Bill and Ted seemed like a perfect way to start the morning.

This time Bill and Ted are killed by androids, sent from the future, and they must escape hell, death, and heaven in order to save the day, learn how to rock, and stop the future from being re-written.

Overall, I think that the first film is better, but the inclusion of the character, Death, adds much hilarity to the film.  When Bill and Ted first meet death they Melvin him and take off.  Later on they end up playing several board games with Death in an effort to reclaim their life.  Laughter ensues, due to the fact that Death is a poor loser.

If you get a chance to watch these two films–go for it.  They’re still just as funny as they were twenty-years ago.

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