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  • Anvilicious: Drug companies are evil! "Treating the disease is more profitable than curing it!"
  • Ass Pull: After leaving the nightclub through a back alleyway once Jane saves Johnny from being decapitated, Jane stops briefly to search through a pile of garbage bags for a duffel bag, telling Johnny that she is looking for her "gear". Only problem is that there is no reason given why such a bag was left there, as it was never established beforehand that she hides her equipment here, anyway; given that she had no foreknowledge of Johnny or what would be happening to him later at the nightclub, it seems unlikely that she would have been planning on coming by that alleyway again later and needing any equipment left there. Given that she had already been shown receiving some of her equipment from the nightclub's bartender, it makes less sense for Jane to have not let the bartender hold onto all of her equipment. Or, better yet, she could have just been carrying all her things in the small duffel bag all along from the start.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Johnny's "wet-wired" Neuro Vault. He has an I/O port in his head, and he "dump(ed) a chunk of long term memory"(his childhood) to make space for a few dozen gigabytes of squishy RAM. Johnny's implant is a completely undetectable hiding place, as it's plugged into the Broca region of his brain and indistinguishable from a perfectly legal dyslexia prosthetic. The difference is that he has a file folder in his mind, which can only be identified, let alone accessed, with a download code; there's nothing for even the most Overreacting Airport Security to find.
    • Awesome Yet Impractical: A portion of his brain was removed or otherwise toyed with to make room for the implant that left Johnny without his childhood memories and, possibly, with stunted emotions and personality. But while, essentially, having lost part of his humanity seems pretty trivial (especially compared to the significantly greater risks that would present themselves had this been a Real Life procedure), even Johnny is so unhappy with this tradeoff that he explicitly makes it clear to his work contact (Ralfi) that he wants to have the implant removed for these reasons. More importantly, uploading anything onto the implant puts such a torturous strain on Johnny that he has to wear a mouth guard, presumably to avoid him biting off his own tongue. Finally, the implant lacks a safeguard to prevent the user from exceeding storage capacity, which is implied to be lethal.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Johnny's interactions with the twin girls by the gigantic fish bowl in the hotel lobby.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: PharmaKom hides the cure for NAS because "treating the disease is more profitable than curing it," despite the fact that the cure would still be immensely profitable in a world where half of the global population suffers from the disease. It would certainly net larger profits if it's cheaper for everyone to afford a one-time dose than it would if all the poor and downtrodden have to shell out "2 Grand" for lesser treatments on a continual, never-ending basis. If they went through all the trouble to research and develop it in the first place, they may as well have tried to sell it to somebody, anyway.
  • Designated Hero: Throughout the entire movie, Johnny is completely self-absorbed and unsympathetic, as well as totally unheroic, and yet he's supposed to be viewed as a hero protagonist. He constantly whines to other people that they’re not doing enough to solve his problems. He informs the Yakuza of the location of LoTek Headquarters. He prepares to abandon Jane when she gets sick (after she’s saved his life more than once). And, most of all, Johnny never places a higher value on the information in his head (which could save the lives of millions) than on his own life.
    • One could argue him as a Jerkass Woobie. Johnny never asked for all this. All he ever wanted was to get out of the game and get his memories back, only to get shafted by his agent and money-grubbing surgeons. Then he gets thrust into this "save the world" situation through no fault of his own, and everyone defaults to "that data is worth more than you are." Johnny is a Jerkass, no doubt, but he has reason to be.
      • Even this doesn't change the fact that none of Johnny's decisions or actions are morally good choices, or to put it another way, nothing Johnny does is ever done in the best interests of other people. Even if one wants to find a reason to pity Johnny, it's not going to change the fact that none of this supposed hero's actions throughout the story could be rightfully called "heroic". He's so self-absorbed that he has to be persuaded by Jane while she[1] is suffering a seizure related to a disease Johnny knows is deadly and requires treatment to help her only because it would help his interests, too.
  • Dude, Not Funny: We meet the biggest idiot in The LoTeks' faction in the middle of telling an odd story about trying to have sex with someone who has an unspecified "disability." It's intended to be amusing, but it mostly comes off as incredibly awkward for a number of reasons.
  • Ending Fatigue: After the climatic battle at Heaven, the story suddenly slows to a crawl and just can't finish fast enough. Owing to a large part of the problem is that after the fighting is over, Johnny still has to retrieve the final image of the download code in yet another extended sequence, but with all of the major threats Johnny and his friends had to deal with having already been defeated, the entire sequence is nowhere near as suspenseful or exciting as the one which preceded it. Even when the filmmakers try to build up a sense of risk (Johnny has to be careful of computer viruses, he can die from just attempting this, anyway, etc.), by this point, with all of the more serious threats to Johnny already out of the picture, we as an audience no longer willingly believe that Johnny is in any legitimate danger, and the entire hacking sequence becomes entirely drawn out, as we can already figure out what the outcome is going to be, and we don't want to have to keep waiting to get to that eventual outcome. By this point, even the subversion of Finger-Twitching Revival feels more like drawn-out Padding at a point when a story is completely over and the credits can start rolling than it does feel like a "clever" joke.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans of William Gibson rebel against the film due to being In Name Only.
  • Ham and Cheese / Large Ham: Dolph Lundgren and Henry Rollins chew up the scenery big time. Arguably the best parts of the movie despite the mere minutes of screen time between them.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: goes without saying.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The main character is never referred to as Johnny Mnemonic--he's just Johnny. Or "Just Johnny."
  • Idiot Plot: The bad guys looking to suppress the the data stored in Johnny's head[2] are, for some reason, bent on specifically cutting off Johnny's head and cryogenically freezing it so they can "extract" the data later. But if they have no intention of using the data and are specifically willing to let the head honcho's daughter die, rather than share it, why do they even bother to seek to keep it? Just shoot Johnny in the head and be done with it. Johnny also gets the bright idea that the data in his head is "worth a lot of money," despite the fact that both factions that want the data have no intention of making money off it in any way; nobody is in any position to get any money or make any money from the data. The only excuse would be if Johnny tried to sell it to a third party, like another drug company, but he just keeps going back to the bad guys expecting cooperation.
  • Narm:
  • Plot Hole:
    • In the movie's opening scenes, it's quickly understood that Johnny must undergo a very expensive and risky "procedure" in Chiba City to remove his brain implant if he were to regain the lost memories of his childhood[3]; in fact, it's Johnny's deep desire to get this procedure done that leads to him taking the courier gig in Beijing and setting the whole film's plot in motion. However, the story inexplicably concludes with Johnny's lost memories returning to him by simply completing the download code to access the information that was stored in his Neuro Vault. There is nothing done to explain how the download code for the data in Johnny's implant could access the lost memories when it was already established that Johnny needed to seek a completely different route to retrieve them.
    • A point about Johnny having told the Yakuza the location of the LoTek headquarters is not adequately dealt with in the narrative. It's foreshadowed that Johnny should face some repercussions for this action; as Jane says, "Now if they don't kill you, J-Bone will." However, this issue is abandoned immediately following this line. J-Bone and the LoTeks wind up giving full, unconditional assistance to the very person responsible for their hideout being raided and don't even bother to reprimand Johnny (not even after the Yakuza finally do show up to take siege of their "stronghold") for what he had done to them for no rational reason.
    • In Jane's first scene, where she tries to get work as a bodyguard for Ralfi, she never tells anyone her name (and no one else refers to her by her name). Later, when the audience does finally learn her name, it's revealed by Ralfi, who, previously, never learned her name.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Released at a time when FMV games were at an all time low, we can all agree that Spoony's review of the Johnny Mnemonic FMV game truly speaks volumes.
  • Shocking Swerve: Johnny's childhood memories reveal his mother to be the person who became the Electronic Ghost Woman. One critic wrote of this, "...[I]t wouldn’t surprise me. It seems like the sort of ridiculous thing they’d throw in here to ‘tie’ the movie together. Despite that fact that it would make no sense whatsoever."
    • The identity of Jones is kept a big secret for much of the second half of the movie, and it keeps getting built up as if it's going to be a big reveal, only for it to turn out that Jones is A cyborg dolphin.
  • Special Effects Failure: The "Street Preacher" being run over by Spider's van is clearly a mannequin dummy dressed up as the character.
    • Similarly, the prop bodies that fall from LoTeks' base into the body of water below float as soon as they hit it. A falling shipping crate digitally added over a shot of Shinji's decapitated body falling into the water is supposed to hide this, but it doesn't cover his severed head, which can be seen inconspicuously and inexplicably[4] staying afloat.

Wanna know what causes NAS? This causes it!

Notes

  1. Someone who has saved his life multiple times already, no less.
  2. That they have no intention of using in any way themselves
  3. If not, to restore the literal chunk of his brain which housed those memories and was removed to make room for his Neuro Vault.
  4. Apart from the obvious, cynical excuse about it being a stage prop.
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