S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Johnny Mnemonic [Blu-ray]
(Robert Longo, 1995)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Sony Picture Entertainment
Video: Sony Picture Entertainment / Image Entertainment
Region: FREE! /Region 'A'
Runtime: 1:36:40.294 /1:36:42.213
Disc Size: 37,694,522,839 bytes /21,687,568,506 bytes
Feature Size: 27,639,257,088 bytes /20,989,249,536 bytes
Average Bitrate: 38.12 Mbps /24.83 Mbps
Chapters: 12 /16
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 19th, 2008 /June 14th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 /1.85
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1584 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1584 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2553 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2553 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English, Japanese, none
English, Japanese, none
•JM Japan edition version (1:43:03 SD)
• Making-of footage
• Behind-the-scene footage (7:16)
• Music video for "Nothing (I Don't Want IT)"
• Original trailer
• Original trailer (2:19 in 1080P)
Description: Johnny Mnemonic is a 1995 cyberpunk
film, loosely based on the short story of the same name by
William Gibson, in which Keanu Reeves plays the title
character, a man with a cybernetic brain implant designed to
store information. It portrays Gibson's standard dystopian
view of the future with the world dominated by large
corporations and with strong East Asian influences.
Keanu Reeves' road to The Matrix was paved with several subpar techno-thrillers, none so dire as this disappointing collaboration between visual artist Robert Longo and cyberpunk auteur William Gibson. Given that Gibson's fiction basically transformed Blade Runner imagery into razor-sharp prose, it seems like the transformation would work in reverse. But Gibson and Longo get it all wrong, littering their film with clumsy exposition and stale action scenes that are miles away from the taut precision of the original short story. Molly, the knife-fingered enigma with the built-in sunglasses who made Johnny Mnemonic and the novel Neuromancer so cool and compelling, is replaced by Jane, an all-too-conventional girlfriend character with a thin veneer of tough-girl bravado. Newcomer Dina Meyer fails to invest the part with much wit or style, but she's no worse than Reeves, who proves incapable of enlivening the stale lost-childhood clichés with which Gibson saddles his character. In fact, the actor's most inspired line reading ("I want room service! I want a club sandwich! I want the cold Mexican beer! I want a 10,000-dollar-a-night hooker!") was reportedly an ad lib, which doesn't say much for the screenplay. Throw in Dolph Lungren and Henry Rollins in a pair of pseudo-intellectual, testosterone-soaked supporting roles and you've got an action film whose supposed smarts and heart make it far more excruciating than any straightforward genre exercise. Then there are the visual effects, which reduce Gibson's vision of Internet-based virtual reality to something that looks like an old MTV promo. Only the presence of ice-cold Beat Takeshi Kitano, the amusingly creepy Udo Kier, and the blustery Ice-T (playing virtually the identical character he essayed in Tank Girl the same year) provide any measure of incidental viewing pleasure. In all other respects, this one's a total dud.
~ Brian J. Dillard, All Movie Guide
The Japanese Blu-ray of Johnny Mnemonic actually looks pretty good. It has some visible grain - colors are well-balanced, and detail is tight. This is probably as good as it will get for Johnny with some minor depth on this dual-layered high-definition disc. There is some dirt and speckles here and there but nothing untoward. A lot of the film is dark and the effects look all the more powerful when they 'light up'. This Blu-ray transfer seems very competent - probably far better than the film deserves.
There are differences in the image quality. The Sony is more technically strong and the US disc seems brighter. I suspect the disparity is unnoticeable for most. The Image Entertainment has a bit more noise but considering value the Sony doesn't seem worthy of its more exorbitant price tag.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio offers a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at a limiting 1584 kbps. The film has some unbound aggression in the mix but it doesn't separate as deftly as you might hope and isn't as crisp either. This is probably akin to the 5.1 offered on the widescreen DVDedition. There are optional English and Japanese subtitles - and some of Kitano's dialogue (the Japanese) has burned in English subs). This Blu-ray is advertised as region-free and I have no reason to doubt it.
The audio I'll give to the US disc - it's a more robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2553 kbps. It shows some subtle depth for the effects. The separation mix is about on par with the Sony. Nothing to rave about. The Image has the option of English or Spanish subtitles and they are non-removable for the brief Japanese dialogue. This is region 'A'-locked.
The big thing is - you get 'JM' - the longer Japanese edition with more Kitano - but it is only in SD. It takes up over 7 Gig so it is dual-layered DVD-quality for those who dare venture to more 'Johnny Mnemonic'. Menus are in Japanese and I didn't surf around too much but there are some Behind the Scenes stuff - narrated in English with non-removable Japanese subtitles.
Nothing but an HD trailer on the single-layered Image Ent. Blu-ray - the Japanese disc obviously wins with the longer version as a supplement.
Simply based on price we can recommend the reasonable US disc (1/4 the price!) to those keen enough to see Johnny Mnemonic in 1080P. It still comes across as pretty goofy - but sometimes I am in the mood for that. Unintended humor can elicit more smiles than intended. The effects are still fairly appealing - if now dated.
April 3rd, 2009
June 3rd, 2011
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Gary W. Tooze