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Entertain-dement: May 31, 1995

Johnny Mnemonic 

Starring Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren and Ice-T 

Directed by Robert Longo 

100 min.

John Mnemonic is a sci-fi action thriller based on William Gibson’s short story of the same name. But that’s not the selling point of the movie. The movie uses fantastic computer-generated animation; but that doesn’t matter much either. It even has Ice-T in it, playing (drum-roll please) …a futuristic thug! But you won’t even care about that. What’s remarkable is that this movie’s a Canadian production. Gibson lives here. It was filmed here (Toronto and Montreal). Keanu used to live here. It’s even playing here! At last, a big budget Canadian production!

With all that aside, Johnny Mnemonic is worth the four to eight bucks you might have to shell out to see it. The story is simple; Reeves, fresh off the exploding bus in Speed, plays a “mnemonic courier” by the name of Johnny (“Just Johnny” as he puts it). Exceeding his memory’s storage capacity, John must get the all-important information out of his head in less than 48 hours, or he’ll die. The opposition in the film takes the form of the Yakuza (the Asian mob) and a cyborg assassin named Street Preacher (played to the stupid hilt by Dolph Lundgren). What the movie lacks in plot and witty dialogue (again, stupid Dolph).

With Gibson himself providing the screenplay, this could just be the beginning of a long line of cyber-thrillers cranked out by Hollywood. So, before it gets out of hand and turns into a theme week, courtesy of City TV (a la “Bond Week”), make sure you see this movie. Your head should be able to handle it without exploding. 

– Leslie Seaforth

Don’t Die Before You’re Dead

By Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Key Porter Books, $29.95

It is a story unknown to westerners. The Iron Curtain has lifted sinc e the fall of Communist rule in Russia in August of 1991. But before the rise of democracy and the current turbulent times, there was a last gas for the old Communists. In Don’t Die Before You’re Dead, Yevtusenko chronicles the events of the failed 1991 coup.

From that critical point in Russian history, the ‘legendary poet, novelist and film maker’, Yevgeny Yevtushenko writes passionately about the lives of his people. Yevtushenko stood along side Boris Yeltsin on the balcony of the Russian Parliament throughout the coup attempt.

What makes this story remarkable is that it documents the lives of 12 people, from a KGB agent who rejects his duty for his people to a tank driver who is forced to choose between an ideology and those he is sworn to defend. Yevtushenko transports the reader back and forth in time, telling the stories of these individuals.

This novel is a great read. The characters are given a reality which makes them vividly memorable. The novel gives the reader an unparalleled look at the Russian people. An unbiased glimpse of the Russian culture, which has been screened in the past by its leaders and the world media, is now realized.

Kenny Yum 

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