The Lawnmower Man (1992) – Review

2 Stars

It’s easy to forget that pre-James Bond, Pierce Brosnan starred in mostly bad movies. Add to the list The Lawnmower Man, a film that most people remember as ‘that virtual reality’ movie. Yes. There is in fact a lot of talk about new frontiers in a digitized dimension, but there is also a lot of contrived scenes that are so obvious in their resolutions that we are left stranded as the characters on-screen try to figure out what we already know.

Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) is a brilliant scientist obsessed with the possibilities of a revolutionary virtual reality program. When his test subject, a high functioning chimp, escapes and is violently killed, he finds the ideal replacement: Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), a mentally slow gardener known in the area as ‘The Lawnmower Man.’

Initially, Dr. Angelo’s plan is to use Jobe as a guinea pig and attempt to increase the slow-witted man’s mental acuity. However, a shadow agency is out to use the emerging technology to create a weapon. Exposure to the experiments causes massive changes in Jobe that eventually make him a superior being, prone to manic outbursts. Angelo must stop Jobe before he enters the digital realm and infects computer networks worldwide.

Brett Leonard, who specializes in good B-movie hokum, has over-extended himself this time. Employing cinematographer Russell Carpenter and attempting to re-create James Cameron’s blue-gray harsh visual style, The Lawnmower Man actually becomes less interesting to look at. It literally and figuratively pales in comparison to T-2 (a movie this film has major envy of). Stephen King completists may be interested, but be warned; the author sued to unsuccessfully have his name removed from the project. Just, saying.

Director: Brett Leonard
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Fahey, Geoffrey Lewis

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