Today is my husband’s birthday, and I promised he could post this. Whenever I mention looking for movie ideas, he tells me to do Johnny Mnemonic as a joke and finally I said, “Why don’t YOU do it?!” And that is why you should never blurt things out in the heat of the moment.
The world is run by giant megacorporations, constantly fighting each other for world domination. Johnny is a mnemonic courier, a human with a hard drive in their brain who is hired to smuggle sensitive data. Johnny is played by Keanu Reeves, four years before he found serious commercial success in the cyberpunk genre for his role in The Matrix. Johnny’s in deep crap. He’s forgotten all of his memories, and he wants out of the courier game, but he can’t afford the surgery to get the hard drive taken out. He takes one more big-risk job to try to get out for good. There’s just one problem: his hard drive is overloaded by the data and will kill him if he can’t get it out soon. And then the Yakuza massacre his clients and destroy the key to getting the data out of Johnny’s brain. From there, he’s off to Newark to find out what’s inside his head, and how he can get it out.
This movie’s got Keanu Reeves. It’s got Ice-T, Henry Rollins, and Dolph Lundgren. It’s got Yakuza, low-tech hackers, cyborg street preachers, and cyberspace. None of those things can save this movie. The dialog is bad, and it’s delivered poorly. Some characters are changed from the original short story and they’re not improvements. Jane, in Dina Meyer’s first role, is particularly bad in performance and in poor story adaptation. But it gets so much right, like the set design, and the pace. It’s constantly moving, and it nails the cyberpunk atmosphere.
So what do you eat when you watch Johnny Mnemonic? There are a number of bad options, but at one point Johnny shouts, “I want the club sandwich, I want the cold Mexican beer, I want a $10,000-a-night hooker!” And that made my job dead simple. So here’s a recipe for a vegan club sandwich, featuring chicken-style seitan and tempeh bacon. I’m not a beer person, but according to Barnivore, Grupo Modelo beers are vegan, so grab a Corona and you’re good!