The Lawnmower Man series

The Lawnmower Man

While Stephen King's name is attributed to this one, I don't believe he wants any of the credit. It is a good movie, however, about virtual reality and what happens when a scientist carries his experiments too far. It is an interesting idea to see whether drugs can influence how VR is perceived. In this case, a dumb lawnmower man, Jobe, is treated with drugs and exposed to VR. Due to government interference (so what's new), Jobe ends up having drugs in his system that he is not supposed to have. This gives him great mental abilities such as telepathy and telekineses. He also gets a bit psychotic and ends up wanting to take over all the computer networks to save humanity from itself. The movie provides an interesting interface between the VR world and cyberspace, which is essentially the hardware realm.

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace

Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace picks right up where its predecessor left off. The building is engulfed in flames, as the virtual reality creation from the first movie attempts to escape. Enter firemen, who find a survivor: the double amputated, facially reconstructed, Jobe, aka the Lawnmower Man (Matt Frewer).

After a little rehabilitation, Jobe is asked to construct a new computer chip, that will bridge the gap between the real world and virtual reality (VR) by a manipulative industrialist (Kevin Conway), the villain in this story. The chip, designed by pioneer VR scientist (Patrick Bergin), who lost the patent to the industrialist in a court battle, has a safeguard on it to prevent it from being used to its full potential. To overcome this safeguard, Jobe recruits his old friend Peter (Austin O'Brien), who has become a homeless stray. With the good doctor's help, they learn of Jobe's real intent (which is infiltrate and take over every computer system in the world) and rush to save the chaotic world that Jobe creates.

This is not the kind of a movie that will leave you the edge of your seat. The plot is predictable and the acting leaves a bit to be desired. Like the original, the graphics are the best part of the movie. Also interesting is the depiction of cyberspace (fortunately, the movie appears to have a better idea of what that is than TIME magazine) and the future, where monorail trains run next to hand pulled rickshaws. I won't say anything about the use of the words "information superhighway". Definitely worth the matinee fare for the graphics alone.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||