Does not YET know kung-fu
Jason | Backwater, Alabama | 09/30/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The problem with Keanu, as always, is if the delivery method isn't close to an archetype role (e.g. slightly high student, moronic cop/bus-rider, submoronic cop/surfer), then the acting requires charisma or leadership, not "Whoa" and "I know kung-fu." The result is atrocious acting (e.g. lawyer, Buddha, quarterback). In this cyberpunk adaptation that serves as a warm up to his performances in the Matrix series, Keanu Reeves plays Johnny, not only one of humanity's last chances, but also - a more egregious concept - that he has the mental capacity to act as a high-tech mnemonic courier, a rare breed who has the memory space to download top secret, encrypted data and transport it without corruption or degradation (i.e. synaptic seepage). All this while avoiding a cybernetic incognito Dolph Lundgren, the Yakuza, Ice-T, and the acting black hole they create collectively along with Henry Rollins, who all want the contents of Johnny's brain.
Essentially this movie, with its Lawnmower Man special effects and its remedial script, is one of the worst ever acted, and believe it or not, a plastic dolphin (i.e. the brains behind the action) probably steals the show. The dolphin's character, however, is some genius level entity controlling the entire Matri...er...world, like an aquatic architect. It's funny because the thing looks generic, and if the world were actually controlled by a semi-omnipotent Flipper Hawking, I'm sure there would be fewer digital couriers and more cod fishermen. "Bring me Mr. Gorton's head on a stick!"
In the end there is a reason this movie is utterly forgettable. The concept is good, but the choices of timing and lead role - there is a reason why most call it Johnny Moronic - were both as horrendous as a playground overlooking the Grand Canyon. Pass on this sci-fi misfire unless you're a masochist with disposable income.